Marketers will use CES as a springboard this year to monitor how disruptive innovations like blockchain, voice assistants, artificial intelligence, virtual and augmented reality, among others, are going to shape consumers and industries alike.
The new technology and products that brands plan on introducing—CES will light up Las Vegas with over 3,900 exhibiting companies this year—will feed into the disruptive marketing innovations shaping trends that executives are monitoring as the year kicks off.
Steve Koenig, senior director of market research of the Consumer Technology Association—which owns and produces CES for the over 170,000 attendees that attend each year— identified five trends that marketers should watch for during the weeklong, across-the-strip show in Sin City:
- Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning will aid marketers and brands to better understand, and even predict, the wants and needs for their customers.
- Mobile and in-store augmented reality (AR) will continue to redefine the shopping experience.
- Virtual reality (VR) will become increasingly more important to marketers who are selling experiences, especially with the rise of 5G.
- Voice will become a preferred human-machine interface.
- As stadiums and other sports venues become smarter and more connected, innovation in the world of athletics will lead to next-gen sponsorships and marketing opportunities, lending to a host of new advertising prospects, particularly via mobile.
“I believe these trends will disrupt and refine marketing for brands,” said Koenig. “As technology for marketers continues to evolve, brands will be able to connect with their customer more quickly and better than ever.”
Michelle Peluso, senior vice president and CMO for IBM, told AListDaily that she’ll be using CES to continue monitoring the emergence of advanced technologies like blockchain, AI and IoT to see how it can meet the individual needs and preferences for consumers.
“Each of these technologies offer a giant leap in using data to better understand and better serve customers as individuals,” said Peluso. “They offer tremendous opportunity for marketers to help their companies advance customer-centricity and develop new differentiating products, services and experiences.”
Emerging martech will eventually give marketers the data and insights that matter so they can create better brand experiences for consumers that are tailored to tastes, needs, timelines and preferred channels.
“Customers want marketers to give them something of value—something that makes them eager to engage with your brand,” said Peluso. “I believe emerging martech—particularly martech that applies AI to provide personalized experiences for customers—will enable us to do that.”
“Customers want marketers to give them something of value—something that makes them eager to engage with your brand.”—Michelle Peluso, SVP and CMO for IBM
Alice Chang, founder and CEO of Perfect Corp., makers of the popular app YouCam Makeup, told AListDaily that she and her team will also be using CES to debut and monitor new AI and AR tech innovation and gain valuable first-hand feedback from their target consumers to better serve the needs of their core audience.
“This glimpse into technology’s influence on consumer behavior is invaluable to the marketer to stay competitive, and the underlying trends that emerge at CES will transform businesses in the coming years”
As for the marketing trends to monitor at CES, Chang said that AI and deep learning are here to stay; AR will continue to drive sales; reliability for mobile tech in purchase decisions will grow, seamless online-to-offline customer experiences will drive retailer and brand loyalties, and she’ll be looking to leverage micro influencers for engaging and interactive live content.
“All five of these AI and AR trends relate to the evolving customer-purchase experience,” Chang said. “Continued advancements in AI and AR technologies are arming customers with the tools to make reliable and informed purchase decisions. Their growing confidence in technology continues to create a convenient and seamless online-to-offline experience.”
Peluso wants to use AI to enable consumers to do more in their professional endeavors than they have been able to before. In turn, marketers will understand much more about the customer on an individual level to create more personalized journeys that give greater value.
“At some point, search will move to voice-and-chat-powered by AI, and when that happens, there will be a new treasure trove of data for marketers to better understand and act on what customers want and need,” Peluso said.
Just as 2018 seems to be the year voice will turn into the fourth purchase channel, along with in-store, online and mobile, blockchain is also the proverbial train chugging along.
As visibility and control over media spend becomes more challenging, there currently is a lack of transparency in ad players in who they are, what they do and where the money is going in the cycle, Peluso said.
“Many marketers are hesitant to use some of their most valuable first-line data because of privacy concerns. Blockchain allows them to use it securely,” said Peluso.
At CES, Peluso will be looking toward garnering more intel into the process of creating a blockchain where she can effectively track media buys and see who the players are, where there is duplication and who they can eliminate.
“This is an incredibly interesting and exciting time to be a marketer,” said Peluso. “The leading-edge technologies that are advancing every industry also have tremendous potential for our profession. All of these technologies open up a world of innovation and opportunities for the creation of entirely new business models.”