Top 15 tech tools to future-proof marketing outcomes

Latest ‘state of the industry’ report finds that marketers are hunkering down their Web3 preparations while AI remains the most significant tech out there.

Worries for the marketing skills gap – the subject of much discussion in the world of performance marketing and even that of a campaign for change launched this month – are not going away, according to a survey released today.

Four in 10 EMEA marketing professionals rank the skill gaps as a top barrier to digital marketing growth, a huge jump from the 15% who said this was a concern for them in 2021. And while metrics and measurement issues sitt closely behind the roll-call of potential growth barriers (on 39% of marketers’ minds), these two are the worries to watch.

But despite the issues ahead, more than a third (38%) are already jumping ahead with preparations for a Web3 world as 44% say they think the metaverse will impact marketing within the next five years.

WARC and MMA EMEA’s seventh annual State of the Industry 2022’ survey quizzed more than 700 EMEA marketing professionals across brands, agencies, media owners and tech vendors on their thoughts of the challenges ahead and the opportunities of the future.

Alongside skills and metrics, other top-draw concerns for barriers to growth were ‘fragmentation of marketing ecosystems’ (27% of respondents), budgets (26%) and consumer concerns for privacy (25%). 

Privacy concerns and data protection requirements were however significantly lower on the list of things marketers are worrying about compared to a year ago, when they were labelled the gold and silver of concerns. Almost three-quarters (73%) of marketers claimed to be harnessing insights from consumer data to drive their strategies, signalling that data remains the building block to improvement.

The personal ‘tech’

Opportunities lie ahead over the next five years despite the glaring concerns, respondents said, as 70% of businesses have seen improved digital marketing capabilities post-pandemic.

AI and machine learning — driving personalisation – remains the top technology expected to impact marketing the most over the next five years, and this was cited by 53% of marketers, up from 49% in 2021. Augmented reality and digital or mobile wallets were the next two expected to affect marketing at 42% and 40% respectively. 

The only tech that saw a downturn in impact expectations compared to a year ago was voice interaction, such as Amazon’s Echo or Google Dot, cited by 21% of respondents this year (28% in 2021).

The budget/behaviour clash

The gap between budget and tapping into consumer behaviour was evident, with audio and gaming were untapped opportunities for marketers, WARC and MMA EMEA said. Despite both audio and gaming being highlighted as consumer behaviours expected to significantly impact marketing by 25% and 38% respectively, gaming receives just 3% of digital advertising budget and audio only slightly more (4%).

But the most significant consumer behaviours to watch, according to those surveyed, were multiscreening (53%) and watching video (50%).

Paul Stringer, Managing Editor, WARC, said: “As a result of the pandemic, we observe a general improvement in organisations’ digital capabilities. However, measurement and skills’ gaps are clear areas of concern for the industry.” 

“It is also interesting to observe marketing professionals say they are preparing for the advancement of Web3, which promises to open up new creative and commercial opportunities for brands”