In its latest Immersive Hype Cycle, Gartner predicts that digital twins of a customer (DToC) could transform the way enterprises deliver experiences. Simulating a customer experience (CX) is a bit more nuanced than a machine — and there are privacy considerations to address, not to mention the creepiness factor. Though if done right, Gartner predicts the DToC will drive sales while delighting customers in surprising ways.
The critical innovation point of DToC is that it helps contextualize data to help understand what customers really need to improve the overall experience, Gartner VP analyst Michelle DeClue-Duerst told VentureBeat.
The CHIPS Act of 2022 was signed into law on Aug. 9. It provides tens of billions of dollars in public support for revitalization of domestic semiconductor manufacturing, workforce training, and “leap ahead” wireless technology. Because we outsource most of our device fabrication — including the chips that go into the Navy’s submarines and ships, the Army’s jeeps and tanks, military drones and satellites — our industrial base has become weak and shallow. The first order of business for the CHIPS Act is to address a serious deficit in our domestic production capacity.
Gartner Identifies Four Emerging Technologies Expected to Have Transformational Impact on Digital Advertising
The Expanded Role of Artificial Intelligence in Advertising is Expected Within a Decade, but Privacy Concerns May Impede Progress
There are four emerging technologies on the 2022 Gartner, Inc. Hype Cycle for Digital Advertising that are expected to have a transformational impact on digital advertising: artificial intelligence (AI) for marketing, emotion AI, influence engineering, and generative AI.
The Gartner Hype Cycle provides a view of how a technology or application will evolve over time, providing a source of insight to manage its deployment within the context of a specific business goal. The Gartner Hype Cycle allows clients to get educated about the promise of an emerging technology within the context of their industry and individual appetite for risk.
“The accelerated fragmentation of digital media poses challenges to marketers in advertising, prompting them to assemble a roster of partners and technologies to optimize and grow advertising campaigns,” said Mike Froggatt, Senior Director Analyst in the Gartner Marketing practice. “In particular, the use of AI is expanding into targeting, measurement, identity resolution, and consent and preference management, and even in some advanced cases, generating creative content with generative AI tools.”
“Attention and investment dollars are also moving toward other emerging channels and technologies such as retail media networks, data clean rooms, promotional NFTs and over-the-top TV advertising, all nearing the Peak of Inflated Expectations (see Figure 1).”
Figure 1. Gartner Hype Cycle for Digital Advertising, 2022
Source: Gartner (August 2022)
AI for marketing
AI for marketing comprises systems that change a marketing platform’s behaviors without being explicitly programmed, based on data collected, usage analysis and other observations for marketing use cases. Enabling techniques include machine learning (ML), rule-based systems, optimization, natural language processing and knowledge graph techniques.
“The power of AI in marketing is clear as deepfakes, chatbots and metaverse avatars show their ability to synthesize lifelike experiences,” said Froggatt. “Likewise, the suppression of personal data for marketing alongside the rise of AI to assess contextual response anonymously is altering the data foundations of advertising and content marketing.”
There are three specific implementations of the technology that marketers are starting to use in novel ways – emotion AI, influence engineering and generative AI.
Emotion AI technologies – also called affective computing – use AI techniques to analyze the emotional state of a user via computer vision, audio/voice input, sensors and/or software logic. It can initiate responses by performing specific, personalized actions to fit the mood of the customer. Emotion AI is considered transformational because it turns human behavioral attributes into data that has significant impact on all aspects of digital communication.
For marketers and advertisers, access to emotion data delivers insights into motivational drivers that help test and refine content, tailor digital experiences and build deeper connections between people and brands.
“It is not enough to deliver relevant and personalized messaging through ads via walled gardens, so CMOs are leaning on emotion AI to find and target consumers and business buyers at scale,” said Froggatt. “However, privacy concerns, bias and variation across modalities are the core obstacles to adoption among advertisers, which is why it may take another 10 years to become established.”
Emotion AI is part of the larger trend of influence engineering, or the production of algorithms designed to automate elements of digital experience that guide user choices by learning and applying techniques of behavioral science.
As established personalization techniques wane under privacy restrictions, new data sources and ML capabilities are enabling new systems of influence. Breakthroughs in areas such as emotion detection, content generation and edge computing are automating influential aspects of communication, for better or worse.
Organizations need influence engineering as a new form of governance to oversee research and deployment of AI programs focused on affecting behavior at scale. Gartner anticipates the practice to become mainstream in five to 10 years.
Generative AI learns from existing artifacts to generate new, realistic artifacts such as video, narrative, speech, synthetic data and product designs that reflect the characteristics of the training data without repetition. It is expected to reach mainstream adoption in digital advertising in the next two to five years.
In the face of third-party data deprecation, generative AI can help to identify the core characteristics of customers and target them with custom content in a privacy-compliant way. It can also be used to train media buying models to avoid risky content like misinformation and deepfakes.
“Marketing leaders can demonstrate the value of advertising by assessing the viability of these technologies at their organizations and within the context of recessionary pressures,” said Froggatt.
Gartner for Marketers provides the objective, expert advice, and proven tools that CMOs and other marketing leaders need to seize the right opportunities with clarity and confidence, and to stay ahead of the trends that matter. With in-depth research and analysis, Gartner for Marketers helps you focus on the opportunities with the greatest potential to deliver results. More information on Gartner for Marketers is available online at www.gartner.com/marketing.
We are coming out of the Covid pandemic and getting back to something of a normal life. But admittedly it will be a new normal, whatever that will be. Bowling centers have reopened as well and I’m happy to see some are already doing a strong business. I drove past a center near my home on a recent Saturday and the parking lot was packed with cars. The weekends are back to being busy which is good for the industry as they are usually filled with events such as birthday parties and versions of cosmic bowling.
Even without special events the weekends draw a lot of kids and families to enjoy the game and allow the centers to compete with some of the new bowling entertainment centers such as Pinstripes, Lucky Strike, and the Main Event. But while these special events are good for business – which I fully understand from a marketing perspective and as someone who has been connected to the game all my life – it poses a challenge for those bowlers who wish to engage in serious training to improve their game, especially if they work for a living and only have the option of practicing on the weekend.
Looking To Get Back In The Game
Over the past few years I’ve gone to my local bowling center to practice but find it difficult to get a somewhat secluded lane away from the kids and families as I have had to avoid numerous near-collisions. I certainly don’t want to injure myself or others and tend to spend more time paying attention to my surroundings than my game. It would be great if there were always a few lanes set aside for serious bowlers to reserve for practice. But can this be done in a way that does not impact a center’s profit margin by effectively turning away potential open play?
Pro Training Lanes
I grew up in the suburbs of New York City and one of the more prestigious bowling centers was Paramus Bowl on Route 17 in New Jersey, owned by the late PBA Hall of Famer Frank Esposito. It was an elegant 54-lane establishment with a rich history, hosting numerous PBA tournaments over the years as well as one of the top scratch leagues on the east coast. Watching their Monday Night Classic League made you think you were watching a pro tournament as half of the bowlers were PBA members. The public figured that out too as the grandstands were always filled with fans, similar to the Seaboard Classic League at Garden City Bowl on Long Island.
What many people didn’t know was that Paramus Bowl had a private 6-lane setup on the second floor. While it was primarily used to film special segments for the weekly Pro Bowlers Tour telecasts it was also a perfect place for providing private instruction programs and for many years was the testing ground for new equipment, tournaments and TV shows. Thinking about what Paramus Bowl had gives me an idea for what bowling centers could possibly provide as we emerge out of the pandemic.
A Marketing Opportunity
What Paramus Bowl had was clearly exceptional and not feasible for many centers to replicate from either a structural or cost perspective, and certainly not what I would be envisioning on a startup level. But there could be a way to create a semi-private “Pro Training Area or PTA” (we can name it later) that could lead to marketing and other revenue-generating opportunities. While a completely closed-off section would be optimal the construction cost would be prohibitive. A quick solution to get up and running could be utilizing a folding wall that would separate the training lanes from the rest of the house. When there are no training sessions scheduled the wall could be collapsed and the lanes made available for open play.
Curtains or Mobile Whiteboards
I’ve participated in tournaments that didn’t take up the entire house and a simple separation was created using curtains on rolling poles which would also work. However, the recent pandemic has provided a more useful alternative. Many companies began using portable whiteboards on wheels to create barriers for separating employees in their offices and removing them after widespread vaccinations. These portable whiteboards can be used to separate the PTA and can be easily removed to open up the lanes for open play when not in use. An additional benefit is that the bowling center can earn revenue through advertising placements on the whiteboards. And if the PTA starts on Lanes 1&2 – which would be the optimal location – ads can be placed down the wall opposite Lane #1, either on the walls directly or on their own set of whiteboards.
Resident Pro on Staff
Even the smallest golf course as well as many driving ranges have a PGA pro on staff to provide lessons to interested customers and the bowling center could make arrangements with a local PBA or PWBA member to be on their staff. Paid lessons could be offered in the PTA and could even include video services. For those bowlers who wish to participate in tournaments offering the opportunity to practice on different lane conditions could also be a premium option, which could involve both the PBA and PWBA as active participants.
Sponsorship opportunities could also bring additional revenue streams as the bowling products companies would be excellent advertising targets and might even sponsor the PTA, similar to how most sports arenas today have corporate sponsors. Some of the bowling ball manufacturers might want to utilize the PTA to test out new products on various conditions with select bowlers from the local center. Finally, ad placements don’t have to be limited to only bowling companies; local businesses might like the opportunity to be visible in an area that has a bit of a professional aura around it and attracts a customer base that has more money to spend. Regular customers may look at this area as a premium service that they might want to take advantage of.
Looking For Feedback
This is an idea that I think could help individual bowlers, add additional business opportunities – as well as increased revenue – to bowling centers, and also expand the number of bowlers who wish to take the game more seriously and improve their skills. And that helps the entire industry.
While my whiteboard proposal is a low-cost way to start the ball rolling (no pun intended) there are some centers out there that might have the financial capability to take this idea to the next level.
So I’m asking all those marketing and bowling industry professionals out there to provide their thoughts and comments. What do you think? I wanted to start the conversation and I know there are many of you out there with years of experience who can add their insights into how this can work and become a positive reality.
Thanks for reading and I’m looking forward to hearing from you. As my grandfather always used to say, “Keep ‘em Rolling!”