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5 martech trends for 2023

AI sensation ChatGPT isn’t just a leap forward in generative AI technology. It’s part of a trend that at least one marketing technology (martech) expert thinks will shape marketing in 2023.

“AI tools that are able to create net new content have gone from being frankly science fair projects to things that are now starting to really deliver impressive results,” said Scott Brinker, who publishes and is vice president of platform ecosystem at HubSpot.

Brinker recently hosted a webinar where he laid out his five trends for martech in 2023.

1. Generative AI goes mainstream

OpenAI’s ChatGPT might be getting the most attention, but tools that use AI to generate text have picked up a lot of momentum this year.

“It's not about turning over content production 100% to an AI tool,” said Brinker. “But it's really more about giving superpowers to marketers, particularly content marketers, to be able to leverage AI to accelerate their production of everything from a blog post to all sorts of more specialized content.”

That means personalization will get a boost too.

“This is now the ability for these tools to dynamically generate cohesive content based on demographics, firmographics, technographics, psychographics, behavioral insight signals, engagement histories, and experimental cohorts.”

We’ve also included generative AI in our “Tech Trends to Watch for 2023” report.

2. Marketers activate cloud data warehouses

A unified data strategy has been a goal of marketers for years, and technologies like customer data platforms (CDPs) have helped. But at the bedrock are cloud data warehouses that allow teams to house and analyze all of their data. That’s changing. “It's not just a static repository, but it's becoming an interactive component in our stack,” said Brinker.

  • Data warehouses are increasingly supporting personalization by connecting customer relationship management platforms, CDPs, and more.
  • And the types of data now being housed at the warehouse level are expanding: “But now, this opportunity for the content layer to really be entwined into the martech stack in a very parallel way and intersected between customer data and content data, yeah … things are about to get really exciting,” he said.

3. Ecosystems and communities bloom

Brinker has long talked about the development of app ecosystems around core technologies, and for his part, he’s been right on. While dominant platforms like Adobe, Salesforce, and HubSpot have very large app ecosystems, even niche software tools offer libraries of apps that connect to their services. As these grow, they’ll offer a few benefits:

  • These software tools will allow teams to move beyond “suite versus best-of-breed” thinking and focus on adding functionalities through partner ecosystems.
  • As ecosystems surround most tools in martech, the ability to customize your services increases exponentially.
  • “This ability to feed the second-party data coming out of these relationships opens up so many opportunities in marketing and martech for the year ahead,” said Brinker.

4. The continued rise of no-code, in-house creators

No-code tools like Airtable, Bubble, and more are giving marketers the tools to build apps, experiences, and more without programming.

“This is putting so much power in the hands of individuals and has such an enormous opportunity to raise the productivity inside the modern digital org.”

Brinker said the capabilities continue to expand:

  • AI tools are essential no-code platforms for natural language processing.
  • Building automations is no longer a majority IT function. Business operations are more involved.
  • “It's this whole idea of empowering nonspecialists to be able to self-serve more and more of their needs across a wide range of things,” he said.

5. The metaverse will still be experimental (but AR and VR have momentum)

This year started with huge buzz surrounding Web3 and the metaverse. But when it comes to them making an impact on marketing strategies, “it's just we're not quite there yet,” Brinker said.

“But when we actually look at the evolution of virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) technology, that's getting better and better every year. And we know there's going to be a tremendous amount of innovation in these spaces ahead.”

Here’s what we’ve seen:

  • Snapchat has put a lot of emphasis on AR as a differentiator from other platforms, including recent campaigns for the World Cup and the latest “Avatar” movie.
  • Adoption still has a ways to go. Only 13% of US adults have used AR or VR while shopping, data from Bizrate Insights shows.

Why we care: Despite the economic slowdown, martech spending will continue to grow. We forecast that by 2024, B2B martech spending will be $8.51 billion while B2C martech spending will be closer to $18.60 billion. Investments in martech stacks are critical, and factors such as data centralization and integrations, like Brinker says, are high on marketers’ minds. At the same time, the ascent of generative AI tools is picking up, suggesting buyers may be giving these tools a fresh look in 2023.

This was originally featured in the eMarketer Daily newsletter. For more marketing insights, statistics, and trends, subscribe here.