THE FUTURE IS NOW

Abu Dhabi 2020 | MEDIA & COMMUNICATIONS | VIP INTERVIEW

Abu Dhabi will look to marketing technologies to provide more streamlined, integrated, and all-encompassing solutions and adopt the most efficient technologies to create the best value for global and local brands.

We hear a great deal about the future of marketing and what that will eventually mean for every marketer in industries around the globe. For starters, we cannot talk about the future without focusing on technology. Second, we are actually already full speed ahead in this future. The speed at which marketing has ascended requires high-speed tools to understand how current—and potential—customers behave and how various contexts impact decision making and purchasing. As thought leaders, our goal is to improve our clients' marketing strategies and extend their customer outreach while optimizing their marketing spent.

Fortunately, technology today allows us to do just that. Marketing technology, or martech, is the intersection of marketing and technology that are frequently being used to better understand consumers and quickly achieve marketing objectives. Marketing companies have to either adopt these technologies right now or risk becoming gradually obsolete.
Some of the biggest brands in the world like Microsoft, Amazon, Facebook, J.P. Morgan, and Nestlé have been utilizing martech to optimize their growth and relevance as trends disrupt their respective industries. I believe we have only scratched the surface of what is possible, as deeper and more sophisticated integration of marketing and technology begin to appear. Globally, the martech industry is valued at approximately USD121.5 billion, representing a YoY increase of 22% (BDO Insights, 2019). This industry currently has over 7,000 vendors offering solutions in big data and gathering immediate feedback, augmented and virtual reality, media intelligence and distribution, software (SAAS), personalization, and much more.
In fact, in 2019, one of the UK's government communication services held its “Year of Marketing," which entailed upskilling marketers and providing the necessary insights and tools to raise communication standards and lead in terms of digital marketing.

At Multiply, we are consistently reinventing ourselves to keep up with the ever-growing marketplace. Our ethos is not to fight this change, but rather to adapt and integrate it along with our existing platform of services. For example, understanding how current—and potential— customers behave through neuromarketing and research, and how the various contexts impact decision making and purchasing, has been paramount to enhancing our clients' marketing strategies and creating better creative campaigns and impactful messaging.

Using specific media monitoring tools and neuromarketing devices (eye-tracking, facial recognition, EEG, biometric recordings, and implicit testing) allows us to optimize our clients' returns, customer engagement, and data analysis.

Not only does martech allow us to design campaigns backed by science and data, but it is also transforming marketing into a more cost-efficient function overall. This is why understanding, acquiring, and partnering with martech vendors have been a massive part of our strategy over the last three years, and I expect this to increasingly become a core part of our business plan in the coming years.

At Cityscape Abu Dhabi 2019, we were mandated by one of our clients, a leading Abu Dhabi-based developer, to maximize the sale of its plots of land to investors. To that end, we recreated the architectural drawings and perspectives of the future development using augmented reality to allow potential investors and passersby to experience the apartment, building, or any other part of the plot we were displaying. The client's perspectives were brought to life and transformed into a virtual yet “real-life" development. The alternative would have been a much less interactively placed brochure stacking all the information within the leaflets.

Globally, CMOs have started to catch on to this mega trend. Just in 2019, Forbes reported that 2020 would witness over 80% of B2B marketers invest- ing in software and tech tools to plan, execute, and measure returns on marketing campaigns. This is following the trend set by major global corporations. For example, IBM announced earlier in 2020 that it would be launching its Advertising Accelerator for advertisers to benefit from. It is an AI-based platform that empowers advertisers to predict what their consumer wants to see and tar- gets ads appropriately.

According to IBM, this al- lows media buyers to deliver “1:1 advertising that not only continuously learns but also predicts the optimal combination of visual elements to drive the highest engagement for a given audience." Since 2016, Starbucks has been using AI and real-time data to send over 400,000 variants of hyper-personalized messages to its loyal customer base of over 13 million users (Forbes, 2018).

Its application also employs its AI-based algorithms to push individualized suggestions and recommendations. Wouldn't you like to be reminded it is almost time for your next caffeine fix? This is happening to products and services of all sizes.

L'Oreal's Perso has integrated sensors, a microphone, and Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connections in its smart hairbrush that will provide users with the best way to care for their hair (L'Oreal, 2020). Another important component of martech is voice control. Voice control will be taking the lead as the mobile advertising industry will revolve around voice recommendations and conversations. When you pair this with the potential of 5G, the opportunities for automotive marketing are endless.

Mckinsey (2019) discussed the possibility of merging all of these concepts to allow brands such as FMCG companies to advertise directly to your profile as you drive by a specific location. My team and I attended CES2020, the annual consumer electronics show, in January and were able to get a close-up and hands-on experience of much of this technology. One of the highlights was the airport displays of “parallel reality" introduced by Delta Airlines.

These screens can show different messages to different people at the same time. The potential applications for this technology and its impact on outdoor advertising and entertainment industries are enormous, and I cannot wait to start witnessing them in Abu Dhabi. Technology in marketing enables your target demographic (consumer, patient, business, brand, and so on) to experience and engage with your brand in very personalized ways.

Therefore, it is our job to acquire, understand, and optimize these technologies for our clients, allowing for the creation of rich, emotional, and efficient experiences for their consumers. As it currently stands, the state of martech is primarily focused on the commoditization of individual services instead of the offering of a one-stop-shop of solutions. An average of 28 different technologies across the board seems to be a reliable indication that a more streamlined solution is needed. Many players in the industry have identified this issue and are working toward building a true full suite of solutions.

That is the future of martech—an offering of a more streamlined, integrated, and all-encompassing solution. The UAE has always been a leader in most trends. I am certain both Abu Dhabi and Dubai will continue to lead the region in adopting the coolest and most efficient technologies to create the best value for global brands and ensure the greatest convenience for its citizens and consumers.