Co-Founder at Imaginovation, overseeing the company’s global creative and strategic marketing, branding and advertising initiatives. 

Living in a time when technology is fast evolving and consumer behaviors are hard to predict, chief marketing officers (CMOs) can no longer afford to hope that their antiquated marketing methods will reap benefits forever. 

Many marketers have seen budget cuts this year, due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Despite the tightened marketing budgets, marketing technology is experiencing growth.

Here are the marketing tech trends that I believe we should expect in 2021.  

Martech Solutions

In the past decade, marketing technology (martech) has exploded, and there’s no sign of it slowing down anytime soon. There are about 8,000 different marketing solutions available. Most marketers use more than five martech tools daily to get their work done. 

In 2021, I believe the world will continue to become more digital, and martech is likely to continue thriving in this ongoing pandemic. 

According to Gartner Inc.’s “CMO Spend Survey,” 26% of the total 2021 marketing budget will be dedicated to tech, making it a top priority for most CMOs. Martech solutions that will be able to deliver results and are cost-effective are likely to be preferred over others. 

With a dynamic set of martech solutions to choose from, it’ll be key to adopt a strategic approach to your martech stack — aligning the right tools to your processes and ensuring best-in-class technology in all data-driven decisions.

Data As A Tool

The digital era has put a stop to untargeted marketing campaigns. Marketing these days is driven by data-backed research and customer information. But as the common saying goes, “Facts tell, but stories sell.” In 2021, I believe dynamic data stories are set to replace static dashboards. 

Dashboards are often informative. On the other hand, a data story provides background information and prompts the recipient to take action or make faster decisions.

There will likely be an increased reliance on data. And while you can use data to develop new marketing strategies, it must be tested and manipulated frequently. You can run smaller experiments or even use scientific data analysis methods to refine data. The goal is to gather as much valuable data as possible to draw insights that truly matter to your business. 

Extended Reality

Extended reality (XR) represents a convergence of all the reality technologies: augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR) and mixed reality (MR). 

With a vast potential to engage customers, shape customers’ perceptions of products, develop interactive and customer-friendly marketing solutions and create many possibilities for marketing, XR is on track to transform the future of marketing in 2021. It’s been predicted (subscription required) that the market for XR technology will cross $18 billion by 2023.

There’s a lot that you can do using XR. As you evolve your marketing tactics, consider creating campaigns based on 360-degree videos, launching virtual stores and showrooms, launching VR/AR apps and organizing virtual events.

Artificial Intelligence And Machine Learning

Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) are no longer considered “on the way.” They are here. They have caused disruptions in almost all the domains, including marketing. In 2021, I believe we will see a transformation in marketing via AI and ML.

ML-based marketing models are set to transform the marketing industry with risk prediction, evolved pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns, well-targeted email campaigns and chatbot-generated marketing content. AI-based marketing is set to utilize detailed information on the buying pattern of customers.

Start with identifying opportunities to leverage AI and machine learning in your marketing initiatives. You don’t have to understand exactly how AI works. You have to focus on finding ways of utilizing this technology to advance your marketing efforts. Automating manual processes, recommendation engines and user behavior predictions are some typical applications of AI in marketing. 

5G

Every time we think we can’t get more connected to the web, technology makes us think again. 5G, or the fifth-generation wireless network, with its extremely high loading speed and better connectivity, will enable customers to consume more online content than ever.

I believe, among the benefits of 5G, it will ensure that people spend more time on the internet. Therefore, it’ll be vital for all businesses to develop their online presence. It should also be interesting to see the makeover of data collection with 5G. 

In the year ahead, you would be wise to explore video advertising, if you’re not using it already. Further, AR and VR will become all the more realistic, and your business can use these tools to its advantage in its advertising.

The Outlook

So, there you have it — a few of the marketing tech trends that we cannot ignore in 2021. 

I believe 2021 will be a year of optimistic approaches, empowered by improved technology, interactive content and data-driven marketing. 


Forbes Communications Council is an invitation-only community for executives in successful public relations, media strategy, creative and advertising agencies. Do I qualify?