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6 Latest Trends In Marketing Technology

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6 Latest Trends In Marketing Technology

The 6 latest trends in marketing technology

By   Tom Edwards, VP of Digital Strategy & Innovation

The last 13 years of my digital marketing career have consisted of a few startups, hundreds of campaigns, countless technology partners, and  the ability to serve as an advisor for a hand ful of tech startups. This experience has provided me with a unique perspective when it comes to building, evaluating, and  partnering with various technology-led products and  services.

When it comes to cutting through the hype of the latest innovation trend or the next great marketing technology, I look for products that have the potential to create experiences that move people. The key is to align with partners that understand  it is not just about features and  functions, it’s about relevant use cases that can be combined with the right brand  to create a compelling user experience and  ultimately provide value to the consumer.

I recently attended the   iMedia Breakthrough Summit and  had the pleasure of hearing Adam Broitman, VP global digital marketing for MasterCard, speak about innovation. Broitman asked the crowd to define innovation, and  you could hear a pin drop. We throw the word around on a daily basis and  are constantly looking for the next big thing. Broitman defined it as creativity with a job to do — not just innovation equals technology.

When we apply this to marketing technology, we can begin to build stories into the products from the beginning. Think about why Apple has been so successful since 2007. Its product stories are carefully crafted with emphasis on simplicity and  utility.

With this in mind, I have outlined key industry trends and  technology partners that I have partnered with this year. My goal is to share some of the best of breed partners and  technologies that can further enable campaigns that are designed around the following trends.

Collaborative commerce

One of the new technologies I am very excited about is collaborative purchasing through brand ed crowdfunding. I was recently briefed by the   Crowdtilt team and  was incredibly impressed. Crowdtilt is a San Francisco-based startup with its roots coming out of Y Combinator. It has taken the model made famous by Kickstarter and  focused on further enabling brand s with its technology.

Collaborative purchasing is the next wave of digital opportunities for brand s. Audiences put their money where their mouths are, as a form of communication beyond a “like.” Demand  for new products is quantified by real dollars. Brand ed crowdfunding can also create stronger signals from intent to actual purchase.

For brand s, a white label solution with a fully customizable experience is available. Brand s maintain ownership of customer data, and  there is also an   API that allows an organization to build on top of the Crowdtilt technology.

Here is an example: a   Microsoft program that was built on top of Crowdtilt’s API allowing friends and  families to fund a Surface tablet.

In terms of use cases, a brand  can leverage the technology to launch limited editions of products or validate the revenue potential of “vintage items.” It is also possible to test customer demand  through both pre-tail and  crowdfunded prototypes. Brand s or non-profits can also support cause-based fundraisers.

Curation

Curation has become a key element for strategies that I have defined in 2013. Digital curation is the preservation and  maintenance of digital assets and  is an incredibly important function when executing user-generated content and  co-creation programs.

One of my go-to curation technology partners has been   Mass Relevance. One of our large and  currently in-market programs AT&T’s   #BeTheFan program leverages the   Mass Relevance API to pull in hashtagged #BeTheFan cross channel entries for the program.

What I like about its technology is I have the option to only leverage the API and  get exactly what I need or have the option to work with its team to creatively visualize the data.

Another curation technology that I use is Flipboard. Flipboard is a content curation and  discovery social magazine app that over 85 million people are using. The application visualizes your social feeds such as Facebook and  Twitter as well as providing access to curated topical magazines all while allowing users flexibility in how they consume their content of choice.

Over the past few months, more than 60 recognizable brand s have launched curated magazines. This includes Callaway Golf, Levi’s, and  more. With such a large user base combined with users’ appetite for both curated and  original content, Flipboard is becoming an ideal destination to aggregate and  present information in a unique and  compelling way.

Here is an example from the   Callaway Golf Team. The team created a brand  magazine to support the launch of its new Apex Irons.

Flipboard launched an   online editor earlier this year. The editor allows anyone the ability to create customized titles, and  more than 3.5 million customized titles have been created. There is also a paid aspect of Flipboard. For more details please see my previous   iMedia post on Flipboard.

Second screen and  social TV

The rise of second screen technology, whether it is an app or a device, has been a key development. As a social marketer, I am very interested in the subset of second screen solutions that comprise Social TV. Whether watching television or TV-related content, our ability to share our social reactions and  extend the experience of our favorite shows is at the heart of the social TV movement.

Here is an example of the user interface for   Intonow.

The Social TV ecosystem consists of a number of different subsets, from automatic content recognition providers such as Shazam and  Intonow to social electronic programming guides and  rewards platforms such as GetGlue, Miso, and  Tunerfish, to social TV analytics firms like TrendrrTV and  Netbase.

I am very interested in the ad serving platforms that connect all aspects of video and  audio fingerprints of connected TVs, second screen apps, and  devices that allow for association of various types of ads be it mobile, digital, or social. I recently met with the   Samba TV team (Formerly Flingo) and  was impressed by its offering.

I have also been working closely with Twitter as this platform continues to develop analytics and  partnerships such as its recent initiatives with Nielsen and  Comcast, as well as its ability to associate conversations and  targeted media with recently aired content. One of the areas of opportunity to be mindful of is the increase in connected televisions and  the ability to associated device IDs for connected devices (29 percent of U.S. households will own a connected TV in 2013 according to eMarketer), as well as mobile IDs, to increase the impact of targeting programming and  activating socially.

Rich social media

Facebook has stated that 88 percent of engagement happens in the news feed. Having the ability to create compelling in-stream experiences beyond driving to an app-based destination in Facebook has been a key strategic point of emphasis in 2013. A number of campaigns that I have worked on recently have shifted the model from app-based solutions to rich and  responsive in-stream solutions that are also trackable and  oCPM-optimized for Facebook media and  Twitter card rich media solutions.

My key partner for rich social media has been   Shop Igniter. Its solution allows our campaigns to reach social and  mobile fans in-stream. I initially met the team via an intro from Facebook and  it has been a great partner. The technology is highly mobile-friendly and  designed to drive mobile engagement at a significantly higher rate than stand ard units. Also note that you can leverage Shop Igniter’s technology to create a rich responsive domain experience.

Here is a detailed   white paper outlining the new promotional engagement models of Facebook, including a section on in-stream.

Crowdsourcing

Jeff Howe of Wired Magazine coined the phrase crowdsourcing, and  he defined it as the process by which the power of the many can be leveraged to accomplish feats that were once the province of a specialized few. My agency has an adage that ideas can come from anywhere, and  we back it up by leveraging a highly effective crowdsourcing platform that I architected called   Flockstar.

Flockstar takes on traditional concepting or asset creation and  offers the ability for agencies and  brand s alike to activate beyond their team or engage their existing brand  fans.

The technology allows for public or private video briefs to be posted, and  it facilitates the process of submission, edits, and  moderation all through a highly engaging user interface that can support disparate teams. Brand s have the option to create a brief to access the existing Flockstar creative community or have the option to   white-label the technology to support crowdsourcing campaigns.

Social and  CRM

A key area of discussion over the past year has been big data. I almost cringe when I hear the term, but big may not even describe the amount of data that we are creating. I recently heard a stat that we produce as much data every 48 hours as we did from the beginning of time to 2003. The scary part is that two-thirds of the world is not yet online.

With massive amounts of data comes the need for insights, analysis, re-targeting, and  the need for greater promotional effectiveness. Combine all of this with social conversations and  the task of mapping data, and  it can be a significant challenge.

I work closely with brand s to optimize promotional effectiveness and  how to drive consistency of data collected and  how that can add value to their existing CRM strategy. Another technology that I developed is called   Crowdsworth. For any socially executed Facebook promotion, it is possible to embed the   Crowdsworth SDK into any execution that leverages Facebook authentication.

The platform then pulls in the user’s social graph data as well as offers the ability to drive real-time insights directly from the experience. The data collected can then be fed into the organization’s existing CRM program, driving greater efficiency.

Hopefully the trends and  solutions outlined above can spark a test or proof of concept to support your agency or brand . There are other technologies that we are actively reviewing such as wearables, social loyalty, social and  search, and  retail activation products.

The key is to find partners that are willing to ideate and  innovate with the goal of creating experiences that move people rather than simply push the technology.

Follow Tom on Twitter   @BlackFin360 or for more information on Flockstar or Crowdsworth please DM via Twitter.

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