Connected devices and VR are top priorities for international marketers

Marketers are undaunted by the technological challenge of managing today’s digital touchpoints, and are eagerly awaiting new tools such as VR to innovate campaigns in 2017, according to new research.

The global study, from Marketo, looked at the future of technology and its effect on marketers. Respondents from the UK, France, Germany, Australia and the US, identified the top technologies they and their customers will leverage in 2017, but disagree on which to prioritise first.

In the US, 57 per cent of marketers felt that predictive analytics would be the most important technology. Chandar Pattbhirman, CMO, Marketo said, “With a complex digital landscape, marketers are challenged with staying above the noise and making sense of an unprecedented amount of data, so it’s no surprise that predictive analytics top their list for 2017. As emerging technologies like IoT and virtual reality are increasingly adopted by consumers and businesses – bringing massive data volumes with them – we’ll see the need for behaviour-driven analytics continue to grow.”

For UK marketers, both the Internet of Things (42 per cent) and virtual reality (39 per cent) top the list of technologies they plan to include in their marketing strategies for 2017. The ranking is as follows:
1. Internet of Things (IoT) – 42 per cent
2. Virtual Reality (VR) – 39 per cent
3. Artificial Intelligence (AI) – 24 per cent
4. Predictive analytics – 24 per cent
5. Machine Learning – 20 per cent

In terms of technologies UK marketers anticipate customers will be using within the next year, VR dominates expectations, with nearly half of respondents (45 per cent) anticipating greater adoption in 2017. Powering that growth is an estimated 271 per cent increase in investment in AR and VR companies.

Looking beyond the UK, there are plenty of parallels in the kinds of technologies that are causing a stir in EMEA.
• The focus for 2017 strategies places VR (29 per cent France and 40 per cent Germany) and IoT (47 per cent France and 42 per cent Germany) top.
• However, nearly a third (31 per cent) of French marketers admit they are unsure how new touchpoints will affect their ongoing customer relationships in 2017.
• Similarly, a fifth (19 per cent) of German marketers are worried they haven’t yet mastered all of the touchpoints they currently have.
Results between EMEA and the US differed around predictive technologies.
• US marketers not only see predictive analytics as the technology they are most excited about (38 per cent), surpassing VR and IoT, predictive analytics is also forecast to be in 70 per cent of US marketing strategies for 2017.
• By contrast, only 7 per cent of UK marketers named predictive as the most exciting technology for them, a number that drops to 4 per cent in Germany.

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Technological prowess

IHS has forecast that the IoT market will grow to 30.7 billion devices in 2020. Despite such a large proliferation in the number of connected devices feeding into the customer journey, 71 per cent of UK marketers are excited by the prospect of more touchpoints, believing these positively affect how they’re able to engage with customers.

Conor Shaw, managing director of EMEA at Marketo said, “There’s clearly a lot of excitement around emerging technologies. Marketers are focusing more on their role as storytellers and exploring the ability of these tools to develop deeper, more meaningful relationships with customers. As they fall under the marketer’s digital ownership, the next great challenge will be how these elements coalesce to deliver an end-to-end immersive experience.”

Data dilemma

Interestingly, the area many marketers are also looking for support with is managing the data being generated by digital interactions.
38 per cent of UK respondents said that a platform to keep up with the speed and volume of interactions was the single most needed solution to successfully maintain customer relationships in 2017. Tied to this, an equal number placed better reporting and analytics top. A further 16 per cent emphasising that better cross-channel communications would make or break their customer performance.

Technologies planned on inclusion in 2017

Top 5 for US
1. Predictive 77.14 per cent
2. Internet of Things 25.71 per cent
3. Machine Learning 22.86 per cent
4. Artificial Intelligence 20.00 per cent
5. None 10.00 per cent

Top 5 for France
1. Internet of Things 46.67 per cent
2. Augmented Reality 37.33 per cent
3. Artificial Intelligence 36.00 per cent
4. Virtual Reality 34.67 per cent
5. Machine learning 26.67 per cent

Top 5 for Germany

1. Internet of Things 44.44 per cent
2. Virtual Reality 42.22 per cent
3. Artificial Intelligence 24.44 per cent
4. Machine Learning 21.11 per cent
5. Predictive 18.89 per cent

Top 5 for Australia
1. Virtual Reality 45.16 per cent
2. Internet of Things 35.48 per cent
3. Artificial Intelligence 35.48 per cent
4. Machine Learning 32.26 per cent
5. Augmented Reality 32.26 per cent

For more on the results of the Future Technology Survey results, click here.


The survey included responses from 620 marketers worldwide that included a mix of Marketo customers and non-Marketo users. The survey was hosted by Qualtrics during November 2016.