Automation, Voice, and Blockchain – If all of your Marketing in-laws were invited to holiday dinner there might be a good argument at the table (perhaps a preferred alternative to politics today). Data & Marketing Association Board member Cory Treffiletti suggests that these three items will be top of the list in 2018. But is there consensus to Cory’s POV?

  • Is AI attainable for the rank & file marketer, or will it be remain the sole domain of the big guys at Alphabet, Apple, IBM and Amazon?
  • After 10+ years of texting and typing and dwindling personal interaction, the prediction is that we will begin to use “voice” more. But instead of people, we are elevating our interaction with machines. Efficacy or sloth?
  • Less Blockchain? That’s like asking for less cowbell!

We want to hear from you!

The following is a guest post by Cory Treffiletti, Chief Marketing Officer of Voicera and a member of DMA’s Board of Directors. It originally appeared on MediaPost.

The turkey is sadly all gone from the refrigerator and holiday sales are in full bloom, which means it’s time for pundits to release their annual media predictions upon the world!

I like to be early so I won’t be swayed by what other people are saying. Here are my predictions for what you can look forward to in 2018:

More AI, More Automation

AI is hot — even hotter than “big data” was a couple of years ago. I’ve bought into the underlying concept of AI as defined by Andrew Ng (AI, as it stands today, exists to automate what the human brain can achieve in 2-5 seconds).

AI is here to make things easier and remove some of the mundane tasks in your day like optimizing a campaign, delivering basic analytics, scheduling a call or taking notes in a meeting. These are simple tasks and can enable workers to be smarter and more strategic.

To that end, AI is delivering on its promise. AI augments and/or automates simple tasks. It’s a natural evolution that can only come because we went through the stage of “big data.” We harvested information and now we are trying to do something with that information.

2018 will see the next step in the continued revolution toward more AI, a trail blazed and established by big companies like IBM, Apple and Amazon. These folks are spending a ton of budget to establish AI as a comfortable technology for everyday use and I hope they are successful.

More Voice, More Talking

Remember middleware? Middleware was any technology that existed to connect old technology platforms to new ones. It was — and still is – a huge category, simply because enterprise companies invested billions in their old platforms and they didn’t want to drop them just because the new kid on the block is cool.

These days people are starting to worry about how all these new technologies are going to interact with one another. How will VR, AR, AI and other data platforms engage with one another? How will your web of virtual assistants work together? The answer lies in voice, which becomes the “UI” that connects all these technologies together.

Alexa is training the world to talk to machines and request basic tasks. That trend will apply to the business world as well. Media planners will tell their dashboard to deliver a specific report or optimize to a specific creative. Account people will engage with a business intelligence tool through voice as the world of virtual assistants expands rapidly.

We are only a few years away from talking to our dashboards rather than spending time learning complicated new tool sets. This coming year I expect people will finally have the epiphany around voice. This is what people will be talking about in 2018 — pun intended.

Less Blockchain

Thankfully. The buzz around Blockchain is not warranted in media. It is certainly valuable in a financial use case, but in media and advertising it is not. Blockchain is table stakes for consultants and intellectuals, but its value doesn’t scale to real-time exchanges like those required in a media and advertising landscape. Data can be passed back and forth securely, but slowly. My hope for the coming months is that people stop worrying about it and move on to more scalable issues that affect their day to day.

These are but three of the things I predict will be happening in 2018. There’s certainly more — let me get back to you on what those additional things might be.

In the meantime, what do you think are the best predictions for 2018?