The Web Summit in Lisbon offered a glimpse of the future: 1,490 start-ups sharing their ideas with 53,056 attendees. There was a lot to get excited about, but when the smoke cleared, there wasn’t a lot that was actually new. It was more a matter of combining existing ideas ­– VR, AR, IoT, wearables, drones and blockchain ­– and adding a layer of artificial intelligence. The results promise some pretty impressive leaps forward.

MarTech is no exception. The number of ways of identifying, targeting, reaching, tracking and converting customers continues to grow exponentially. Combining big data with your data will soon offer you exactly what you want, a second before you want it. And with an intelligent bot taking care of communication, it seems that marketing will soon take care of itself. But does that mean creative agencies will go the way of Kodak and Encyclopedia Britannica?

Here’s one way to look at it; wind the clock back to when you were a kid. You watched what was on TV – because it was on. You were essentially a captive audience waiting to be advertised to. Today, you have a billion choices of things to watch – with another billion a click away. So while the advances in MarTech might offer new ways to reach consumers, the competition for their attention is greater than ever before.

If anything, the rise of the machines will make creative agencies more important. It’s one thing to reach people – but creating ideas that capture their attention, communication that moves them, and brands they want to be part of – that can’t be done by algorithm.

So we can’t wait for the new age of intelligent MarTech. It’s going to give us new tools to do amazing things. We will be able to take creativity to another level. Then, we’ll jump in our self-driving cars, meet the meal delivery drone at the doorstep, and go inside to talk to our robotic bartenders.

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