Note to readers: Storyboard18’s new Month In Focus initiative spotlights themes and topics that are pushing marketers to reshape and rethink how brands interact with today’s customers. Our theme for this month is Stacks & Strategies, a martech and adtech spotlight on how decision makers and marketers are advancing the adoption of new technologies and tech-driven strategies in the brand marketing ecosystem. From the defining trends and preparing for a cookiepocalypse to how progressive martech strategies help fast track business and brand growth. Catch this special on Storyboard18.
As India's digital economy strengthens, the merging of marketing and technology better known as martech is expected to witness significant growth too. This trend has further been accelerated by the shift in consumer behaviour due to the global pandemic. Digital has become a key channel not only for customer acquisition and engagement but also for conversion, and retention.
Today, martech plays a pivotal role in automating processes and making marketing easier for businesses. The global martech spending in 2021 was around $344.8 billion, which is not surprising given that martech is used in almost every organisation.
Storyboard18 spoke to digital experts to understand and identify key martech trends that will define the India market in 2022 and beyond.
Focus on first-party data
With Google announcing the phase-out of third-party cookies, advertisers have been pushing brands towards an "owned-data-first" strategy in marketing. Gone are the days when one can simply rely on a code embedded on computers by websites in order to track consumer behaviour, thanks to growing awareness around online privacy. Marketers will now have to create their own digital assets, devise content to drive traffic to their websites and retain users.
“Using first-party cookies, marketers can identify the visitor's behaviour as long as they are on their website, including the user journey, the number of website visits, and other fundamental metrics. However, marketers can't access data related to their visitor's behaviour on other websites that aren't affiliated with their domain,” says Himani Agrawal, vice president - media & analytics at OML Entertainment.
Proliferation of walled gardens
In the absence of third-party trackers, without robust first party data, publishers stand to lose nearly 50% of the advertising revenues due to poor targeting, says Gowthaman Ragothaman, CEO, Aqilliz.
“Local publishers will need to make heavy investments in building a functional CDP (customer data platforms). This will be at least a 3 to 5-year capital expenditure. I am not sure how many of them will have the appetite to invest in this,” he adds.
Ragothaman also points out that there will be rampant proliferation of many more walled gardens with large publishers attempting to behave like the Big 5 in creating a closed loop ecosystem where they can create a safe environment for data sharing that will help them provide better targeting.
“This will logically lead to the emergence of clean rooms. This to my mind is the second most important tech trend in 2022,” he notes.
AI- and Machine learning-based marketing
Artificial Intelligence (AI) has the capability to analyze huge amounts of data for behavioural patterns of consumers and predict future trends. Using machine learning and deep learning algorithms, marketers can seamlessly gather, analyze, and integrate key data into their strategies and craft personalised messages to customers at every stage of the marketing funnel.
Machine learning-based marketing models are set to transform the marketing industry with risk prediction, better return on investment (RoI) and better targeting and personalisation.
“AI-based marketing is set to utilise detailed information on the buying pattern of customers. It is crucial to predict user requests and increase sales. Consumers have already managed to get used to personification on the Internet, with platforms like YouTube, Netflix, Amazon, etc., developing robust algorithms for deep personalisation. This trend is only going to strengthen going forward,” says Amit Wadhwa, CEO, Dentsu Creative group India.
As people like communicating through speech, marketers rely on voice channels to build immersive consumer experiences.
OML Entertainment’s Agarwal points out that brands like Estée Lauder and Johnnie Walker have already started building relationships with consumers through interactive voice experiences.
“Another facet of voice technology in marketing is that voice searches now impact SEO. Content marketers will have to evolve and adapt to this new technology and incorporate it into their marketing strategies,” she adds.
Building micro-moments and hyper-personalisation
Micro-moments are selling opportunities that may last just a few seconds. They can now be identified by brands, owing to the increasingly sophisticated tools available for measuring and predicting customer behaviour.
“Developing the ability to spot and respond to these moments with personalised marketing approaches, will be a key priority for many marketers in 2022,” says Dentsu’s Wadhwa.
Today, consumers expect brands to understand and respond to their needs as individuals, offering them something unique and at the time and location that they need it.
“Technology, including AI and machine learning, can be used to identify these moments at scale and make personalised approaches, directing consumers towards goods or services,” he concludes.