At this year’s Tech Summit, an annual event conducted by SapientRazorfish, several handpicked presenters from industry, technology, and our own professional services organization highlighted how five emerging trends will shape and direct how marketers will attract, acquire, and retain customers in the 21st century.
Five Trends That Will Shape the Marketing Organization of 2024
Imagine a scenario where websites go from static to conversational. Instead of asking our customers to guess at a taxonomy, Global Co-Chief Technology Officer Ray Velez says they will use full-sentence questions. Search goes from keywords to conversations. Such interactions, where natural conversation replaces keyboards and mice, are further enhanced with augmented and virtual reality to immerse buyers into even more productive experiences. VR and AR naturally require we build our experiences with smart conversational knowledge engines. We are clearly on the cusp of a new era in technology where decisions and problem solving will be aided by smart machines that sense, learn, infer, and even think on behalf of humans.
SapientRazorfish chief intelligence officer Samih Fadli led a session highlighting COSMOS, SapientRazorfish’s Cognitive Marketing Intelligence Platform, which provides deep customer engagement, audience-graph intelligence, and data-driven activation across all buyer touch points. Leveraging the best capabilities from Microsoft Azure, Yahoo, and Domo, COSMOS facilitates deep learning, fueling the marketer’s ability to predict the needs of consumers along their path to purchase. This exciting session (from the team that built COSMOS™) taught conference attendees how to best deploy the platform to achieve loyalty and retention through a single view of the customer — something that has been elusive for decades, until now.
In this session, SapientRazorfish "Retail Geek" Jason Goldberg highlighted how digital technologies have changed retail shopping forever. Paths to purchase are now such a seamless blend of digital and physical touch points that McKinsey estimates the combination will add $11 trillion to the global, connected economy by 2025. This has led to a pronounced effect on how we design and implement for commerce transactions, enabled by cloud-based micro-services to offer frictionless customer experiences across more touch points than ever before. Advances in natural language processing ushers in a new discipline we call conversational commerce, where natural conversation replaces keyboards and mice.
Rob High Jr., IBM fellow and CTO, highlighted the new world of cognitive computing and artificial intelligence, illustrating how new technologies will forever change everything we know about human-machine relationships. Emerging trends are bringing machines into our world in a way that has never been achieved before, changing the utility of computing. Today, huge amounts of data, much of it digitally visible for the first time in human history through connectivity, are enabling access to a deeper understanding of information and how it can be applied to our everyday lives, for the express purpose of making us better at what we do. Many modern applications are already characterized by gestures and speech. In many cases, the technology is so intuitive it’s invisible.
In this session, Josh Sutton and Dennis Clark (Global Head, Data & Artificial Intelligence, SapientRazorfish, and Co-Founder, Luminoso) highlighted how we have arrived at the beginning of the most transformative revolution in human history. To illustrate, the presenters provided a brief economic history. For example, Industry 1.0 was largely agricultural; Industry 2.0 introduced the industrial age; Industry 3.0 marked the information age; and Industry 4.0 delivers an exciting era of connected intelligence, underscored by three pillars of cognitive transformation for businesses: insight generation, business acceleration, and customer engagement. The amount of conversation online is staggering, not something humanly possible for us to understand. With technologies like Luminoso we can search out and find entities or intents, questions and answers we never thought of previously. Artificial intelligence doesn’t just allow us to do the same thing faster — it lets us do things we never imagined through smarter products participating in a smarter, highly efficient digital ecosystem.
Organizations overwhelmingly prefer to wait for an emerging technique to reach mainstream adoption before acting upon it. But as the economy becomes more connected by the day, such a strategy could lead to huge share losses. The new ecosystem developing from a connected economy is very different from the one we’ve come from. Work with real customers to get a sense of how you’ll compete in a connected economy (and who your new partners and suppliers might be). Use agile techniques to experiment, fail fast, and learn faster.
American artist and philosopher Elbert Hubbard once said, “While one machine can do the work of 50 ordinary men, no machine can do the work of one extraordinary man.” As extraordinary as smart machines are, like any technology, they offer business leaders an extra set of capabilities and tools to make better, more informed decisions. In some cases, smart machines will supplant an entire role, but even then, it does not indicate the death of that role’s associated occupation. In many of the industry examples provided in this highlight, smart machines perform certain activities of an occupation, freeing the individual to deliver work of higher value.
Start Thinking about Building Intelligence into Your Own Products
As difficult as this might sound, force your team to think out of the box to imagine how intelligence could be built into your own product portfolio. One way to make this more natural is to review your existing human-based path to purchase, then imagine where intelligent things (from you or others in the ecosystem) could contribute to the decision-making process along the path to purchase. Think about ways things, through their 24/7 vigilance of monitoring their surroundings, could reduce risk or send alerts to their human owners.