5 Disruptive Technologies Shaping The Future Of Marketing

How will arti­fi­cial intel­li­gence, 3D print­ing, and vir­tu­al real­i­ty trans­form con­sumer lives and how we mar­ket to them?

Pat Hong By Pat Hong from Linkdex. Join the discussion » 0 comments

Don’t under­es­ti­mate the impact of dis­rup­tive tech. The pace of change means that no indus­try is safe from poten­tial dis­rup­tion, and mar­keters will need to be ready to respond. Here are five take­aways on dis­rup­tive tech­nolo­gies that are like­ly to impact our dai­ly lives, and equal­ly, on how brands and mar­keters are doing their jobs in the future.

In the words of John Straw, author of iDis­rupt­ed, “we’ve seen more accel­er­a­tion in dis­rup­tive tech in last few years than in the pre­vi­ous 20.”

Tech­nol­o­gy is trans­form­ing the way con­sumers con­duct their dai­ly lives, and every­one from inde­pen­dent retail­ers to blue-chip com­pa­nies are feel­ing the impact of dis­rup­tive forces in their respec­tive indus­tries.

The impact of dis­rup­tive tech and star­tups should not be under­es­ti­mat­ed. A case in point: as of this writ­ing, the mar­ket cap­i­tal­iza­tion of the Ford Motor Co. is $55.4 bil­lion. In con­trast, the mar­ket cap­i­tal­iza­tion of Uber, who have dra­mat­i­cal­ly dis­rupt­ed per­son­al trans­port in recent years, has recent­ly been report­ed to exceed $50 bil­lion.

It’s worth not­ing also that the com­pa­ny are con­tin­u­ing on a phe­nom­e­nal growth tra­jec­to­ry with no sign of of slow­ing. Uber­RUSH, a per­son­al couri­er and deliv­ery ser­vice, announced in Octo­ber, will fur­ther increase the effi­cien­cy of the Uber net­work (and dis­rupt­ing fur­ther estab­lished dig­i­tal­ly ori­en­tat­ed couri­ers such as Deliv­eroo, DineIn, City Pantry, and Grub­Hub). In fact, Uber CEO Travis Kalan­ick has spoke of how one day the typ­i­cal com­muter may become an Uber couri­er, as the net­work expands and adop­tion becomes more wide­spread.

Uber’s move­ment in per­son­al trans­port and couri­er ser­vices is one of the most notable exam­ples of the impact of dis­rup­tive enter­prise. How­ev­er, there are few, if any, indus­tries that are not prone to dis­rup­tion, due to the cur­rent pace of tech­no­log­i­cal advance­ment.

Here are five dis­rup­tive tech­nolo­gies that will prob­a­bly make a large impact on their respec­tive indus­tries, and also the future of mar­ket­ing, in the not so dis­tant future.

1. Artificial Intelligence

Accord­ing to Moore’s Law the pro­cess­ing pow­er of mod­ern com­put­ers dou­bles every two years. In the next few years, this may have some strik­ing con­se­quences in the field of arti­fi­cial intel­li­gence, for a num­ber of tech­nol­o­gy com­pa­nies.


Google, for exam­ple, is invest­ing in image recog­ni­tion tech­nol­o­gy, no doubt with a view to enhanc­ing fea­tures on video pub­lish­ing plat­form YouTube. As the video above shows, the results are already quite impres­sive (yes, that is the com­put­er rec­og­niz­ing ‘moun­tain uni­cy­cling’). In this sce­nario, the tech­nol­o­gy could go a long way in help­ing video-shar­ing plat­forms mon­e­tize con­tex­tu­al­ized videos.

It does­n’t take a great leap of the imag­i­na­tion to see how such tech­nol­o­gy could quick­ly become rel­e­vant for mar­keters. The appli­ca­tion quick­ly goes beyond image recog­ni­tion – arti­fi­cial intel­li­gence and machine learn­ing have made head­lines recent­ly for being one of the areas which will trans­form mar­ket­ing in the com­ing years. As quot­ed in The Drum:

Look at a large adver­tis­er such as Tesco, a brand like this has the poten­tial to inter­act with mil­lions of cur­rent and poten­tial cus­tomers every day. Tesco has an extreme­ly wide brand appeal and can serve prod­ucts to a vast spec­trum of soci­ety. If there are 60 mil­lion peo­ple in the UK and Tesco has 20 poten­tial oppor­tu­ni­ties to inter­act with each indi­vid­ual a week that means there are 1.2 bil­lion pos­si­ble inter­ac­tions at stake.

It is impos­si­ble for a human mar­keter or even a large team to per­fect­ly cal­cu­late and place spe­cif­ic ads that appeal to those indi­vid­u­als’ spe­cif­ic wants based on their pre­vi­ous pur­chas­ing or brows­ing his­to­ry. How­ev­er, AI and machine learn­ing does have the mechan­i­cal capac­i­ty to make this pos­si­ble.”

When you con­sid­er that many major tech­nol­o­gy play­ers, most notably Apple, have been mak­ing some sig­nif­i­cant pur­chas­es in the AI field recent­ly, it’s clear how AI devel­op­ments could sig­nif­i­cant­ly dis­rupt the dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing in the not so dis­tant future.

2. 3D Printing & Material Science

3D print­ing has been tout­ed as a game-chang­er in the tech world for some time, but it’s only recent­ly that we’ve start­ed to see a greater appli­ca­tion of the tech­nol­o­gy. Rafal Tomasi­ak, CEO of 3D print­er com­pa­ny Zor­trax, believes that it is in busi­ness, rather than con­sumer use, where 3D print­ing will real­ly make its mark:

I think that most small and medi­um-sized com­pa­nies that have not start­ed using 3D print­ing will def­i­nite­ly start to do so,” Tomasi­ak told the BBC. “The future is the med­ical sec­tor, which is using it more and more, and I think that is where 3D print­ers will be most use­ful — sav­ing lives and treat­ing patients.”

Fur­ther enhanc­ing the 3D print­ing cause, Ama­zon have also unveiled a 3D print­ing store that brings the virtues of Ama­zon mar­ket­place to inde­pen­dent 3D print­ers and 3D print­ing design­ers around the world. For a num­ber of prod­ucts such as phone cov­ers, to jew­ellery, to toys or mem­o­ra­bil­ia, and many oth­ers, there is poten­tial here to sig­nif­i­cant­ly dis­rupt the mar­ket.

Where 3D print­ing will make the largest impact is in reduc­ing the delay is which a part of prod­uct that being designed takes before it can be built into a work­ing pro­to­type. By bridg­ing the gap between design and prod­uct, it enhances the abil­i­ty for prod­uct devel­op­ers to incor­po­rate user feed­back into their designs, iter­ate, and refine their prod­uct to a greater extent than pre­vi­ous­ly.

As for real-time impli­ca­tions of 3D print­ing in var­i­ous indus­tries, how about 3D print­ed choco­late, or 3D print­ed sports shoes? You can eas­i­ly envis­age how the tech­nol­o­gy could trans­form cer­tain indus­tries.

3. Advanced Robotics

Advanced robot­ics is an excit­ing new field which will see increas­ing­ly sophis­ti­cat­ed robot­ics across a num­ber of indus­tries. Here’s an exam­ple of how far the tech­nol­o­gy has come:

If a robot can make a paper snowflake, think what oth­er pos­si­bil­i­ties are just beyond the hori­zon.

Accord­ing to IEEE Spec­trum, there are a num­ber of areas where advanced robot­ics may cre­ate dis­rup­tion with­in con­sumer tech, from con­sumer drones to cloud robot­ics.

Along­side 3D print­ing, there is huge poten­tial for new designs and prod­ucts (med­ical implants based on a sea­horse’s tail for a start), and there is every chance we will see robot­ic tech­nol­o­gy mak­ing an impact on the con­sumer tech and gad­gets mar­kets.

4. Virtual Reality

Judg­ing by the increas­ing buzz around VR tech at tech­nol­o­gy con­ven­tions such as CES in recent years, vir­tu­al, or aug­ment­ed real­i­ty prod­ucts are fast becom­ing a real­i­ty (no pun intend­ed).

Holotech for exam­ple, is all but ready for mar­ket, and much of the spec­u­la­tion at the moment is about the prac­ti­cal appli­ca­tion of the tech­nol­o­gy. Cer­tain­ly, there is an increas­ing about of invest­ment in com­pa­nies devel­op­ing the tech­nol­o­gy.

Mag­ic Leap, a U.S.-based start­up, have just raised $827 mil­lion in a recent fund­ing round. Here’s a video demon­strat­ing the poten­tial of their tech in action:

Microsoft Hololens and Ocu­lus Rift (acquired by Face­book for $2 bil­lion in 2014) show that the tech­nol­o­gy has not escaped the atten­tion of Sil­i­con Val­ley tech firms.

The tech­nol­o­gy could have a sig­nif­i­cant impact on next gen­er­a­tion expe­ri­en­tial mar­ket­ing. In the trav­el sec­tor, for exam­ple, com­pa­nies could cre­ate immer­sive VR expe­ri­ences to give peo­ple a sense of the places or hol­i­days they are inter­est­ing in buy­ing.

If VR tech con­tin­ues on its cur­rent tra­jec­to­ry, then it may not be long before we see brands using the tech­nol­o­gy to cre­ate immer­sive expe­ri­ences as part of their mar­ket­ing mix.

5. Internet Of Things

Last but cer­tain­ly not least, the so-called Inter­net of Things has opened a realm of pos­si­bil­i­ty around con­nect­ed devices. The most notable exam­ple, Nest, offers home automa­tion, such as WiFi enabled ther­mostats and smoke detec­tors. Nest was acquired by Google in late 2014 for $3.2 bil­lion and the com­pa­ny have been steadi­ly grow­ing the oper­a­tion ever since, with the first Nest store open­ing in Decem­ber.

Ama­zon has also made a move in the space, launch­ing AWS IoT in Octo­ber this year. AWS IoT will pro­vide a man­aged cloud plat­form that allows devices to secure­ly inter­act with one anoth­er.

For mar­keters, the Inter­net of Things could mean a greater inte­gra­tion of offline expe­ri­ences with the world of dig­i­tal. With big data, mar­keters are build­ing increas­ing­ly detailed per­sonas of con­sumers’ online behav­iors, and the inter­net of Things could see pre­vi­ous­ly “uncon­nect­ed” parts of our lives – fill­ing up the fridge, or going to the gym for exam­ple – inte­grat­ing with our online lives.

An app that warns us when we’re run­ning out of milk? Or warn­ing when we’re over-indulging on snacks per­haps? The pos­si­bil­i­ties of these new moments are frankly lim­it­less.

Capitalizing On New Marketing Opportunities

All of the above tech­nolo­gies have the poten­tial to offer new oppor­tu­ni­ties for mar­keters. With recent devel­op­ments such as ad block­ing on iOS9 (a recent study revealed that a mas­sive 63 per­cent of U.S. mil­len­ni­als, and 15 per­cent of the over­all British pop­u­la­tion are using ad block­ers) there is a gen­uine need for mar­keters to diver­si­fy the chan­nels, plat­forms, and tech­nolo­gies they are uti­liz­ing.

Ulti­mate­ly, dis­rup­tion is noth­ing to be afraid of, but mar­keters should ensure they are ready to cap­i­tal­ize on any oppor­tu­ni­ties that come their way.

What tech­nolo­gies do you think will dis­rupt the future of mar­ket­ing?

Pat Hong

Written by Pat Hong

Editor at Linkdex/Inked, Linkdex

Pat covers the SEO industry, digital marketing trends, and anything and everything around Linkdex. He also authors Linkdex's data analysis and reports, analysing the state of search in various industries.

Inked is published by Linkdex, the SEO platform of choice for professional marketers.

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