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Gartner Releases 2021 Hype Cycle for Digital Marketing

by Alfie Powell, on 15 September, 2021

The new Gartner Hype Cycle for Digital Marketing is here, and you know what that means? That's right - the key takeaways from me.

Things are changing as parts of the world begin to return to normal after the pandemic, which means that digital marketing strategies are adapting. 

One key change is that companies, having tended to prioritise retention strategies during the pandemic thanks to marketing budgets shrinking, are now looking again at new customer acquisition. 

During the pandemic, marketers have accelerated digital transformation to deal with the demand for greater digital interactions, and this made the technology they used more valuable than ever. 

As marketers doubled down on tech to accelerate transformation and deal with changing customer behaviour,  technologies such as event-triggered marketing, mobile wallet marketing and MMHs progressed more quickly toward maturity, and this is reflected in the 2021 Hype Cycle. 

Gartner found that companies are now using AI and Machine Learning (ML) more than ever,  but are still grappling with 'immature' tech. 52% of marketers Gartner surveyed in 2021were using AI and ML, with another 38% in the planning or piloting stages with AI/ML.

Gartner has placed AI in the 'Trough of Disillusionment' as many marketers are still struggling with AI, perhaps lacking the skills or resources to take advantage of it. Among marketers using AI and ML, 73% find it difficult to trust AI and ML with important decisions.

What Gartner refers to as the 'persistent drumbeat of consumer concerns' over how marketers use data  explains the presence of influence engineering and customer data ethics as emerging technologies in the cycle. 

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