3 essential pieces of sales and marketing technology for 2017

2016 was a game-changer of a year socially, politically and economically but it was also a period of upheaval in digital sales and marketing for both brands and agencies.

This was the year that saw the star of digital video (especially live video) rise to fresh heights, while platforms like Vine crashed out of the game. It was also the year that automation took centre stage, coming to play a fundamental role in the marketing strategies and sales techniques of businesses the world over. Big consulting firms cottoned on to the value of quality content, with corporations like Accenture acquiring independent creative agency Karmarama, while Unilever and Procter & Gamble both invested heavily in their own content studios. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.Last year really was a whirlwind of activity, disruption and change for brands and agencies – especially as far as sales and marketing were concerned. But if you were able to hang onto your hats throughout 2016, now is the time to let the dust settle, take stock and choose your path through the fresh landscape before us in 2017.

This is a landscape formed of fresh ideas and new technology, with a new focus on blending quality, creative content with the intelligence, insight and economies of the latest technology. 2017 also is set to be the year that the gap between innovation in the sector and adoption of powerful tech by brands and agencies closes. So, what tech do you need to explore in order to keep up?

1. Chatbots & AI

In our recent blog about the rise of AI and machine-learning in marketing tech, we explored the potential of chatbots and technology which can work with human speech; from the overnight fame of Amazon’s hugely popular Alexa, to more humble incarnations of this technology integrated into applications such as Slack and Facebook Messenger.

Very soon it will be possible to add a chatbot to a conversation between colleagues, contacts or friends which helps make anything from booking a holiday, to finding a location for an exhibition almost automatic – with no need for clunky box ticking, lengthy forms or endless dropdown menus.
Soon digital services will be more closely meshed with our online communications than ever before, providing a more seamless digital experience. The more helpful brands can make themselves with this type of technology, the more juice they’ll get out of their freshly high tech sales and marketing techniques – and the further they’ll be ahead of the game once everyone scrambles to join the bandwagon. Services like Uber, for example, are already integrated into a number of applications.

2. Data visualisation & interpretation

Data is the lifeblood of digital marketers. It’s the organic numbers, statistics and insights from users which help guide digital strategies, dictating where ad spend is channelled, which aspects of marketing are invested in and how businesses engineer sales journeys. But with so much data to work with, it’s not very easy for mere mortals to see the wood for the trees.

Fortunately, technology’s ability to do the number crunching for us has been evolving over the past year. Now, ever-more advanced data visualisation tools are making it possible for us to make smarter decisions about sales and marketing, based on real-life, real-time data. We can now increasingly leave decisions about how we run campaigns etc. up to machines, with smarter data interpretation allowing many tasks to be automated, freeing up budgets and human resources.

3. VR & AR

Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) have been on the cusp of breaking into the mainstream for a very long time and 2017 is set to be the year they finally do it. 2016 saw the release of VR headsets and consoles from many of the gaming industry’s biggest names, with many players at last choosing to invest in the technology. Now the technology is “there” it’s likely to spill from gaming into other areas of the digital sphere, specifically in the form of consumer desire for more immersive experiences.With everything you could want now a quick “OK Google…”, “Siri…” or “Alexa…” away, it’s brands which can entice and enchant users with a more immersive experience which takes them away from the humdrum feeling of a mobile browser and into a more exciting world which will really impress.

Augmented Reality (AR) is likely to be the most effective way to offer this type of content, with 360 degree video coming a close second. Just consider the impact of Pokemon Go! in early 2016. From in store AR which provides instant prices and special discounts, to augmented conferences and exhibitions, brands with big ideas should start seriously considering innovating with this type of tech.

2017 at Miappi

There’s so much going on in the world of marketing and sales technology right now – and it’s making our technology at Miappi smarter by the month. From rules-based text filters to image scanning and sentiment analysis we are integrating technology that helps clients showcase their most Zeitgeist-capturing content. Whatever 2017 has in store, we’ll be keeping a sharp eye on the new technologies that surface over the coming months.Explore our smart tools and helpful analytics. Launch your social wall today, REQUEST A DEMO  now.