I’m sure my tech marketing colleagues would agree when I say it’s been quite a year for our industry – the pace of change keeps accelerating with no end in sight.
Think about it: A year ago it seemed remarkable that Robotic Process Automation (RPA) applications were becoming common for many enterprises. Today, they’re almost table stakes, and our customers increasingly seek added value by integrating self-diagnosing and self-improving cognitive capabilities to basic RPA functionality.
Businesses are also looking to solve critical business problems with intelligent tools. Restaurants struggling to build brand and maximize razor-thin margins are using machine learning to respond to bad reviews and manage perishables more effectively. Retailers wondering what to do with retail space are making their stores smarter and more interactive and appealing to customers.
What’s particularly exciting for us as marketers is the increasing importance of collaboration between IT and the marketing function, a trend driven by the laser-like focus technology services companies are directing to enhancing the customer experience. In this context, a lesson that’s been reinforced this past year is the need to continually push ourselves to learn how the latest tools and innovations can help us be more creative and effective in communicating our value proposition to our customers. At the same time, in this dynamic environment we have to resist the temptation to chase the latest bright shiny object. This makes continual measurement and assessment of initiatives more important than ever. Finally, in a collaborative model, we need to make sure we in marketing effectively communicate our requirements and capabilities to our tech colleagues.
So what’s ahead for 2018? I’ll go out on a limb and predict that this disruption thing isn’t going away anytime soon. It looks like the Internet of Things is moving more and more rapidly from the conceptual realm to the practical, as our customers demand ROI and quantitative results. Blockchain is gaining momentum, as is excitement around smart cities and the potential of multi-level integration of intelligent devices. As a corollary to this, I expect we’ll see more and more overlap between industries, and with it new requirements for data transparency coupled with adherence to security requirements.
While I’m looking forward to the holidays and spending time with my family, I for one can’t wait to tackle the exciting challenges that lie ahead. So, to my friends, colleagues and team – enjoy the season, take some time off, and when you come to work on January 2nd, bring your running shoes!