Gartner predicts ‘digital twins of a customer’ will transform CX

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.

Apple, Honda, and Mazda reportedly consider diversifying manufacturing away from China after supply-chain chaos

Faced with COVID lockdowns, worsening U.S.-China tensions, and now an indefinite power cut in China’s heartland, companies are exploring how to divert their supply chains away from China.

Gartner Identifies Four Emerging Technologies Expected to Have Transformational Impact on Digital Advertising

August 15, 2022

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

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.”

Influence engineering

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

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 clients can read more in “Hype Cycle for Digital Advertising, 2022.”

About Gartner for Marketers

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

Follow news and updates from the Gartner Marketing practice on Twitter and LinkedIn using #GartnerMKTG. Members of the media can find additional information and insights in the Gartner Marketing Newsroom.

HubSpot Academy vs IMPACT+: a head-to-head digital marketing training comparison

HubSpot Academy vs IMPACT+: a head-to-head digital marketing training comparison

Analysis courtesy of Hubspot and Impact +

Lexie Ward

HubSpot Trainer, 5+ Years Of Digital Marketing Strategy & Project Management Experience


Online learning platforms are becoming increasingly popular.

They are an easy, on-demand way to learn and implement knowledge on your own and at your own pace — especially while social distancing.

In fact, In 2017, approximately 77% of US corporations used online learning, but 98% planned to incorporate it in their program by 2020.

That’s nothing to scoff at!

These online educational platforms are a great place for both individuals and companies looking to train and educate teams within their organization.

With that in mind, in this article, we will be comparing two online learning platforms in the digital sales and marketing space, IMPACT’s new IMPACT+ and HubSpot’s HubSpot Academy.

IMPACT+ was released in May of this year, and HubSpot Academy in November of 2016. Both platforms are focused on hosting educational content and resources on topics in the digital sales and marketing space.

So, naturally, they have similarities but they also have some important differences. 

Below, we will explore each.

Similarities between IMPACT+ and HubSpot Academy

The most similar aspect of these two platforms is that they are both online learning platforms with a core focus on digital marketing, sales, and service.

Each one has a robust library of educational content aimed at helping you generate more revenue and advance your career and even share some similar topics like marketing automation and workflowscontent strategyHubSpot reporting, and video.

HubSpot Academy and IMPACT+ also both offer courses or lessons in the form of video. Each has options between shorter single-video lessons to longer, more in-depth multi-video courses:


IMPACT+ courses


HubSpot Academy

Differences between IMPACT+ and HubSpot Academy

In these videos, knowledgeable instructors provide comprehensive coverage on the topics and incorporate visual aids like live demos and exercises.

They both also included related blog articles to help provide users additional support on the subject matter.

Now let’s get into what differentiates the two.

Subject matter

HubSpot Academy is a robust online learning platform (with over 300 lessons and courses), but it does have some shortcomings.


For instance, many of its courses are more entry-level. For example, many courses are described as introductions to things like marketing automation, social media, digital sales, etc. and include tips for initial campaigns set up.

But once you get beyond that experience level, there isn’t much else for you to explore.

This makes them likely most beneficial to those just getting started with inbound marketing and sales, but they may miss the mark when it comes to going deeper into a topic or providing more advanced guidance.

Another thing to consider is that, unsurprisingly, many HubSpot Academy courses are specific to HubSpot, or catered to those who are using HubSpot.

While there are definitely some courses and lessons that are more general and can be applied to other tools, it’s important to keep in mind that you will be getting HubSpot’s approach to things in these videos.

IMPACT+, on the other hand, is centered around one main goal: results. 



This means that IMPACT+ courses are geared towards providing specific, actionable takeaways that will increase results now rather than focusing on understanding how to use specific tools. (Although there are a few tool-based courses in there, as well.)

To support this, IMPACT+ includes an interactive scorecard and strategy roadmap to help your company evaluate exactly where it is today, and what specific steps need to be taken to drive the sales and marketing results you’re striving for:

Screen Shot 2020-07-30 at 6.56.55 PM

IMPACT+ scorecard

Another added bonus of this scorecard is that, if you have your whole team in IMPACT+, each person can evaluate your company’s current digital sales and marketing performance from their perspective. That way you are all fully aligned across the entire company as to the reality of your performance.

IMPACT+ does have fewer courses than HubSpot Academy, with 23 currently live, but since this platform just launched in May, that is to be expected.

We do plan to release new courses in the next few months and the team has no plans of slowing down when it comes to producing new content.

HubSpot also focuses on the inbound methodology as the foundation for most of their content, while IMPACT+ is niche to the They Ask, You Answer approach.

While these approaches overlap and share common core principles, there are some key differences that lead to unique content from both sides (check out this article Inbound marketing vs They Ask, You Answer).

Community and engagement

Another difference between the two platforms is their approach to community and engagement.

An interactive community element can bring tons of value to software users, but especially to those learning online.

Having discussions with other people learning the same things helps users enhance their knowledge by applying it and learning how others are as well. This is essential when learning a new skill especially when we are socially distanced.

This engagement also provides an avenue to discover new professional opportunities and allows for back-and-forth on questions and roadblocks you might be facing.

That’s why IMPACT+ acts as an entire learning community.

HubSpot Academy, as an online learning platform, only contains courses and has a separate platform for discussion, called HubSpot Community.

But this forum isn’t dedicated to the academy.

HubSpot Community is rather a catch-all for HubSpot discussions, primarily focused on solving issues or roadblocks within the software.

On the other hand, IMPACT+’s community aspect includes role-based discussion boards that encompass all topics digital sales and marketing, virtual peer groups, as well as threads on the individual courses themselves:

Screen Shot 2020-07-30 at 7.00.32 PM

These community aspects make it easy for users to engage, ask questions, and collaborate on course material.

Additional resources

In addition to course materials, IMPACT+ provides access to all recordings from every past IMPACT event, ever (both in-person and virtual events).


These recordings include education from over 100 speakers, (and 75 keynotes from world-renowned speakers like Brian Halligan, David Meerman Scott, Ann Handley, and more.

While HubSpot releases its past keynotes and spotlights from INBOUND events, it does not always release the more tactical sessions.


In HubSpot Academy, once you create your free academy account you are able to access all courses and lessons.

IMPACT+ has two pricing tiers, free and pro:

Screen Shot 2020-07-30 at 7.04.04 PM

The free version provides access to all of the foundational courses and resources, roadmap and scorecard features, as well as access to the community discussion forums.

Advanced courses, access to private virtual peer groups, and team roadmap and scorecard visibility are available when upgraded to a pro account.

Which platform is right for you?

Overall, IMPACT+ and HubSpot Academy are both robust online platforms focused on the same core principle: education.

The way they provide that education may look a little different, but as we discussed, each has its strong suits and areas where it is unique.

HubSpot Academy may be better for HubSpot-specific users or those who are just getting into inbound or digital marketing and are looking for that entry-level content.

IMPACT+ may be better for those who are not only looking for high-level education but also tactical strategies to implement now and strategic topics with long-term plays.

IMPACT+ is also going to be great for those who want to connect with others focused on digital sales and marketing and They Ask, You Answer.

Both platforms have free options, so try them both out! Explore them and see which has content that aligns with your goals and that you believe can help you move the needle.