We have seen how technology has revolutionised work and school life in ways we couldn’t imagine during this pandemic, but what can emerging technology do for marketing and how can it be used to gain a strong competitive advantage?

Facial recognition

Picture the scene – An individual walks into Gucci, the store instantly knows their name, date of birth, what their favourite prosecco is and what bag they have their eye on.

How would this make you feel as a marketer? Empowered. Would an individual feel the same way, would it be valued or is it intrusive?

Several potentially negative consequences have been highlighted in the trialing of facial recognition, such as facial mismatching and having your biometric data (not just cookies) stored in a data base for a shop’s marketing purpose. However, technology continues to improves itself day by day and with so many developments just around the corner, could a facial recognition process as mentioned above,  be the saviour of the high street? If this process was put in place properly and efficiently, a store would be able to analyse our physical shopping behaviours and couple this with their online targeting to ensure that they are tapping into the most personalised consumer journey possible.

Goodbye to irrelevant ads and hello to ultra-personalisation. But this advantage to the marketer might come at a cost that some individuals aren’t willing to accept.

Smart, fast and responsible artificial intelligence (AI)

“By the end of 2024, 75% of enterprises will shift from piloting to operationalising AI, driving a fivefold increase in streaming data and analytics infrastructures”. 1

The pandemic has helped shine a light on the applications of AI and its subsets, such as machine learning. During the recent months machine learning has used historical data to predict patterns and provide vital insights regarding the spread of the disease, as well as the impact that individual measures have had to curb this.

The ‘simplified’ machine learning (ML) process

Its rapid implementation is just one example of the potential benefits of using machine learning, but at what point will the capabilities be so strong that we can easily use this technique to gather strong data on the behaviour of fund managers? Could active investing truly be overtaken by machine learning replicating the past behaviours of asset managers to predict the best next move? Or will the two work in conjunction to improve results for all?

The development of each of these technologies will reach a point where a question will need to be asked: How far are we able to go? It is clear that future regulations over data and privacy will impact a range of the technological developments that drive marketing innovations and that their usage might never be trusted by the public. There is already clear public scepticism around privacy and facial recognition and the majority might never embrace the development. There are so many unknowns and questions that ironically, machine learning could help to predict, but as a wise lecturer once said to me “the technology of today is already out of date”, so always look to tomorrow!


  1. –  Gartner