Each month, The Drum is publishing a chapter from “Paradox: Feeling Machines and the Rise of Post-Modern Marketing”. The fourth chapter, Post-Modern Marketing: Real 1:1 Customer Interactions, At Long Last, explores why marketers must master the digital technologies of the modern marketing tech stack before they can attain the post-modern marketing near-future of one-to-one customer interactions that deliver emotionally driven ‘wows’.
IBM’s first chief brand officer, Jon Iwata, had his audience’s attention riveted when he opened his keynote address at the ANA 2017 Masters of B2B Marketing conference in Chicago by stating, “What’s happening now is the long-awaited promise of personalized marketing, or one-to-one marketing. The market of you that’s been talked about for decades, is arriving now in full force."
Iwata’s talk went on to show that customers’ willingness to share data about themselves is combining with the latest advances in digital interaction technologies and is increasingly automated by artificial intelligence (AI). Unless derailed by the technology industry’s own data missteps, this heralds a future in which marketers will custom-tailor brand experiences for each individual customer or prospect, at the moment of interaction, instantaneously. Even down to the emotional triggers most likely to move that individual to act.
But how near can this envisioned future be in a world where, shockingly, not one single respondent to a September 2017 study of U.K. marketing and media professionals could say they fully understand their own marketing technology stack? And only 8% deemed their understanding “good”, while all other respondents ranged from “some understanding” to “little”?
The paradox, you see, is that marketers are still struggling to master the digital technologies of the modern marketing stack while also beginning to look ahead to the post-modern marketing future Iwata and others are rallying around. As Stein IAS chief innovation officer Marc Keating puts it, "The biggest challenge for the future of marketing technology in the post-modern marketing age is that there's still not a lot of companies doing the now."
It is clear that the impending post-modern marketing world must stand on the shoulders of the modern marketing revolution. Mastering modern martech is the key prerequisite to taking advantage of AI orchestration. The need to address segmentation, messaging, both pragmatic and emotional drivers, and buyer triggers with far greater clarity, depth and precision will be of paramount importance in the post-modern marketing world. This greater precision is demanded because human judgement increasingly will give way to AI-orchestrated systems, which will require such precision in order to operate successfully.
According to Keating, “You can’t be post-modern unless you have your act solidly together on your modern marketing tech stack, have made it optimally actionable, and have achieved the maturity to layer on AI, voice, augmented reality, and the stream of new capabilities that will continue to emerge.”
“The clear threat is, if you don’t catch up, you will only keep falling farther and farther behind in what amounts to an arms race. The pioneers in your competitive set may leave you for dead”, he concludes.
Chapter four details key characteristics of the modern marketing stack that marketers have yet to master, and how those characteristics will evolve rapidly to the next level – post-modern marketing.