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Ajay Agarwal, Managing Director, Bain Capital Ventures
Monday, May 18, 2015
2015: Today nothing is more consistent than change. Industry after industry is experiencing a major business model upheaval. Marketing technology is no exception. I predict that we will soon see the day when at least one marketing technology company boasts a market value of $10 billion.

Why do I think this is possible?
For decades marketing as an industry didn't change. Interactions were offline. There was no data or system of record, so there was nothing to be automated. Enter the Internet, followed by recent huge leaps in other technology, such as machine learning - a type of artificial intelligence that provides computers with the ability to learn without being explicitly programmed.
Now every industry has a huge percentage of its interactions with customers through web sites, mobile sites and mobile apps. And the information about buyers, their likes and dislikes, and the buying process is routinely captured, stored and analyzed. We are finally at the point at which nearly any company with any product or service is able to sell to a global audience - an audience many times bigger than it once was - via the Internet.

Here are the three key drivers for the trend:

Predictive analytics for B2B companies:
The volume of data about buyers, channels and communities that marketers can now harness is incredible. New startups have emerged to deliver added value and insight across marketing functions and channels. The best of them use machine learning and data science to tap into marketing and sales automation data sets, as well as external third-party data, to deliver insights and capabilities.

Consumer identification and personalization for B2C companies:
For B2C companies, identity is becoming the foundation of digital commerce. New B2C marketing competencies focus on user identity data and personalization, striving to produce the right content and experience for each Internet user.

Consumer behavior targeting:
Also increasingly important to B2C companies is consumer behavior and related information - data points such as past purchase behavior, demographics, preferences and household information. As a result, marketers have begun relying on two sets of vendors: One that offer cross-device targeting capabilities and another that can analyze web site consumer behavior.
All of these developments have also produced new challenges. Exponentially increasing amounts of data produced by machine learning, for example, have created complex new security issues revolving around customer identity. Another challenge is the ever-expanding web of devices. As consumers increasingly interact with mobile apps, companies will need to triangulate across more devices and hardware to continue to support truly personalized marketing.
All this information has the potential to better shape a company's marketing strategy and generate significant additional revenue. Marketing is poised to become the next big money sector in technology.
We would love to be the venture firm that finances it.
Ajay Agarwal Bain Capital Ventures, Managing Director @ajay_bcv

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