AI, chatbots, omnichannel, oh my! Here’s a look at some of the top trends in the world of marketing technology over the last several weeks:

The Rise of Chatbots as Customer Service Agents in Social Media

After Facebook announced its addition of chatbots to its messaging service earlier this year, many social media platforms are following suit. Twitter recently announced a chatbot addition to its direct messaging service as an attempt to improve the customer experience. According to a recent Business Insider article, responding to customers via Twitter increases customer satisfaction more than other channels of communication. Customers are 44 percent more likely to share a positive customer service experience on Twitter compared with other channels, so the investment in chatbots will likely prove to be a worthwhile one. 

Growing Role of the Data Scientist

A study by Upwork referenced in a recent Information Management article found that data science is the fastest growing category of job growth, and machine learning tops the list of fastest growing skills for freelance workers. The lack of degree-holding data scientists has also given rise to the so-called “citizen data scientist”, an individual with analytics skills who does not have a formal degree. According to TechRepublic, Shawn Rogers, Chief Research Officer at Dell Statistica argues that 2016 “could be the year of the citizen data scientist because users throughout the business want a more democratized approach to big data and analytics. Not every company can afford a data scientist, which is a big reason why citizen data scientists will become a big part of the data ecosystem as it evolves.” However, for those companies that are able to employ a coveted data scientist, they will reap the benefits that a degree-holding expert on unstructured data can provide. As more organizations begin to employ data scientists, their ability to analyze and act on customer data will improve.

Incorporating Real-Time Data in the Travel Industry

As organizations become better equipped to analyze their customer data, they can begin to use data to improve customer service in real time. This is a growing trend in the travel industry, in particular, as airlines such as Delta begin to introduce real-time tracking technology so that customers can follow their luggage and ensure it arrives at the correct destination. More airlines are beginning to employ data analytics technology that serves as an additional customer touchpoint for the modern traveler who expects personalized service.

Prevalence of Omnichannel Marketing

Marketers are learning that they must reach their customers across several different platforms in order to have the greatest impact. “Omnichannel” has been a favorite buzzword for several years, yet only now is becoming a key strategy in meeting consumer expectations, both in-store and online. And the investment pays off: Brands that have strong omnichannel customer engagement programs experience much higher customer retention rates (eighty-nine percent) than companies with weaker programs (thirty-three percent), according to Huffington Post.

Emergence of AI Departments in Big Tech Companies/Government

AI will continue to grow, thanks in part to the efforts of some of the largest tech companies and the US government. Recently, five of the biggest tech companies, including Google and Facebook, announced a partnership to help the public understand the benefits of AI and dispel any misconceptions. The partnership supports AI research and will develop consensus best practices for the industry. Additionally, President Obama has argued that the government should take an active role in facilitating AI research, providing a path for AI’s development and implementation in the real world.

As we move into 2017, these trends will continue to make headway in the market. What other recent articles have resonated with you? What topics are on your mind? Share them with us in the comments.