Where marketing meets tech: 2021 forecast

Neon Marketing Technology co-founders Karim Youssef and Misch Strotz Neon Marketing Technology

Neon Marketing Technology co-founders Karim Youssef and Misch Strotz Neon Marketing Technology

Natalie A. Gerhardstein: What are the most exciting developments happening in the intersection of marketing and tech?

Karim Youssef and Misch Strotz: Similar as in other tech domains, some of the coolest trends lie in augmented reality and artificial intelligence. Augmented reality has hit the mainstream thanks to Instagram and Snapchat AR filters. With upcoming smart glasses, we expect a new era of how we interact with the internet, our surroundings and technology in general. Evidently, this is opening an entire world of possibilities for marketers.

As for AI we have also reached a level of integration that was just unthinkable a few years back. OpenAI’s GPT-3 algorithm can now write content about any topic within seconds. Deepfake + Deepvoice Lip synching tools like synthesia.io already allow us to generate personas that look and speak like humans. These two tools alone can be combined into a powerful, truly ground-breaking content creating factory.

What advice would you have for smaller companies with a limited marketing budget?

Build online marketing competences in your company and invest in training. The internet evolves at a really high pace. Being on top of where the industry is going, also means having a competitive advantage. The competition is huge, but with a few small, consistent and honest steps you can still build up a reputation quite easily to get traction for your brand.

A few practical things you can do: focus on a specific audience or niche; build a small community of loyal customers; build an e-mail list of loyal customers; create a blog for search engine traffic; learn and get comfortable with creating video content; use these channels to provide value and build a community.

How do you think social media will change in 2021?

Covid has forced companies to digitise. We believe that there will be a higher demand for online marketers and creators on the job market and more demand for in-house competences in these areas.

As always, things will continue to accelerate. Online video is bigger than ever due to TikTok, Twitch and YouTube. You should consider becoming a creator yourself.

Finally we feel (and hope) that the ethical aspects around social media are finally being discussed more openly--people getting self aware about what social networks actually are, thanks to movies like ‘The Social Dilemma’. Companies and marketers will have to adapt.

This article originally appeared in the 2021 Forecast edition of Delano released on 16 December.