Not too long ago, CMOs were predicted to spend more on technology than their CIO counterparts. This shouldn’t come as such a big surprise when considering the rise of new developments in technology, and how they affect the marketing landscape.

Your marketing team’s main priority lies in enhancing the customer journey and customer experience, and yes, technology is the answer… Part of it at least. In order to keep up, CMOs and their marketing teams must gear up and adopt new tools and technology. Or else, a lack of digital savviness could significantly hinder a brand’s competitive advantage.

With the proper tools, comes the need for the right human intelligence to support them. Technology isn’t [and never will be] able to read emotion or interpret human behavior as humans do. That’s why marketing technology recruiters believe CMOs must stay on top of emerging trends and technology, and be the pioneer of innovation for their team and the entire organization.

In order to maximize the technology you plan to adopt, your organization may need a Chief Marketing Technology Officer (also frequently titled VP of Marketing Technology or sometimes VP of Digital in organizations of different sizes and industries) to help lead your team in reaching its full potential. A team of even the most talented marketers needs superior guidance and leadership to drive meaningful results in today’s digital space.

Regardless of how you title your chief technology expert (it may or may not be a C-suite position based on the size of your organization), and who the position reports to (Chief Marketing Officer, Chief Digital Officer or even the CEO), the bridge connecting marketing and technology is a must-have for every organization to master the modern digital landscape.

Now, let’s dive deeper into the top five tech trends marketing technology recruiters believe CMOs must prepare for to stay afloat in an increasingly digital world.

1. Artificial Intelligence (AI)

AI presents many opportunities for businesses. However, the idea of AI being able to perform intellectual tasks and behave as a human does is far from its true capabilities today. Highly focused AI or narrow AI solutions are targeted toward a specific task (such as understanding a language) and seems to be the most effective use of it today.

Perhaps the most fascinating thing about AI isn’t about the rise of robots or futuristic gadgets, but its ability to provide CMOs with access to data like never before. With limitless amounts of data, CMOs and VPs of Marketing Technology will need to know how to harness the power of AI and handle enormous amounts of data to better understand their customers.

AI and machine learning can help your team better understand data to make better and more effective decisions when building your marketing strategy. Understanding how to not only process enormous amounts of data, but utilize it to enhance your current marketing efforts is key.

Over the next few years, we could see every technology, service, or device integrating AI in some way. That’s why it’s critical for your team to have technical expertise on hand to truly unlock the power of AI.

2. Blockchain

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Blockchain is a decentralized public ledger that allows the exchange of commercial transactions to occur with less intrusion between unfamiliar parties. It is the backbone behind cryptocurrencies, and is one of the most quickly growing technologies in the digital space.

Blockchain is still a fairly new concept and has people wondering how it can truly impact marketing. As customers become more cautious about their online security, blockchain will become more important than ever for organizations in every industry.

Startups, in particular, have easier access to raise capital through blockchain since cryptocurrencies are decentralized, meaning there are no transactions fees associated with them. Blockchain technology helps aid in automating supply chain and procurement processes. This means your team is better able to maintain customer relationships by automating the validation of data, transactions and other key processes.

Blockchain will grow to impact every industry as it continues to evolve. Therefore, it’s extremely valuable for your team and organization to become familiar with it. Highly technical marketers will be the ones that can get your team in alignment with major developments like blockchain.

3. Internet of Things (IoT)

The Internet of Things is progressively becoming bigger as more and more everyday objects are being connected to the Internet. This means consumers don’t just have access to brands through the Internet via desktop or mobile devices, but are able to connect with them through everyday objects and functions.

IoT feeds into the ever so changing demands of consumers. Now, consumers expect on-demand convenience more than ever – and if your brand can’t deliver that, it will ultimately hinder your bottom-line.

The notable increase in connected devices also brings a major influx of data – even more than before. As a CMO, you probably already know how to handle massive amounts of data. However, you will now have to prepare yourself and your team to manage new streams of data to provide even more valuable insights and drive more effective campaigns.

With IoT gaining significant impact on almost every part of our lives, marketing technology recruiters recognize the importance of a team that is technically-adept to leverage it if necessary.

4. Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR)

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Augmented and virtual reality aren’t exactly new trends, and have already caught much attention by users and businesses alike. And they certainly aren’t set to slow down.

AR and VR provide users with an immersive experience like never before, and open up the doors for brands to connect with people in an exceptionally engaging way. Where this technology was primarily used to tell a story, marketing technology recruiters predict that brands will leverage it for deeper business purposes and to provide consumers with more commercial purposes.

AR, in particular, is predicted to grow faster than its VR counterpart, as the future of virtual reality is still elusive and uncertain. The use of AR on mobile devices particularly provide brands a way to reach their audiences in a quick and easy way. Eventually, CMOs and their teams will need to gear up for such trends as AR and VR to truly set themselves apart from the competition.

5. Chatbots

As marketing technology recruiters, we recognize that more brands are now utilizing messaging platforms and chatbots to connect with consumers – allowing them to shop, browse and communicate one-on-one through a conversational interface.

According to research from Forrester, 5% of companies worldwide stated they were using chatbots in 2016, 20% were piloting them, and 32% were planning to use them. And we are going to continue to see the rise of chatbots now more than ever, driving brands to learn how to better utilize them.

Bots have altered our approach to customer engagement – transforming the way brands tell a story, engage with audiences, and facilitate support. They provide personalized and private conversations between brands and customers, and offer a goldmine of customer data that can be used to further enhance the user experience.

Forward-looking brands with access to the right marketing technology staffing have the opportunity to take advantage of their entry to engage consumers and reap meaningful ROI. The most sophisticated bots are powered by AI, but need extensive human support to reach proper potential.

If you already have a team of creative, web and software developers in place, you might be able to tap into chat bot development. However, you’ll still probably need to add some new talent with chatbot experience, which may be challenging to come by. Your team will need to understand the interactions your audience is having with your brand to harness the chatbot interface in a powerful way.

That’s why we prioritize identifying key leadership qualities in any VP of Marketing Technology search we conduct to ensure the right person takes the reigns in leading your team forward in the chatbot territory.

While researching the digital landscape for this article, we were able to get valuable insights from marketing thought leader Tom Daly and his take on the most notable tech trends in the marketing space. According to Daly, three other major developments – identity management, security, and 5G networks – have significant impact on each of the emerging trends discussed above.

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In regards to identity management, establishing a clear, unequivocal sense of identity for your brand is key in ensuring the right people (be that your team or the end user) have access to the proper resources at the right time with the implementation of various technologies such as AI and IoT.

The rapid growth of technologies also presents many security risks to both businesses and consumers, so it’s critical to ramp up your team to prepare for such threats.

Innovative technologies won’t be effective without faster networks – that’s why the growth of 5G networks is important to keep an eye on, especially living in a mobile-first world. For instance, VR won’t be able to provide meaningful experiences through mobile without 5G. Other trends, such as IoT will also be limited in providing optimal engagement without the support of a 5G network.

Essentially, all of the top trends we’ve discussed become better with the clear notion of identity management, cybersecurity, and wide 5G availability. As a CMO or a VP of Marketing Technology, you must understand how all of these trends work together to truly unleash the powers of tomorrow’s technology for digital marketing.


If you suspect your organization’s pursuit of emerging technologies and tools isn’t leading you toward the right path of innovation, it may be time to start a VP of Marketing Technology search to find the right leader. While it’s important to regard all of these trends as separate entities, in the business world they all work together to power each other up. Marketing technology recruiters particularly see AI, blockchain, and IoT as the top trends driving true business transformation in the marketing space today.

Ensure that your organization not only adopts the proper tools and technology, but the right leadership and support to stay abreast the rapid developments and become a pioneering innovator in your industry.