At last count, there were 7040 Marketing Technology companies listed on the annual Martech infographic from chiefmartec.com
– all vying for space not just on the overcrowded ‘Marketing Technology Landscape’ chart, but more importantly, in the hearts and minds of the marketing community.
It’s safe to say that the technology and ‘data analytics’ explosion has been both a blessing and a curse for the advertising industry. Ultimately when used correctly, data is an invaluable asset in both informing and inspiring creative approaches and determining the best channels and means to target key audiences. On the other hand, our obsession with data and targeting has put the message or the ‘idea’ on the back foot, and created additional pressures on the creative community, most of whom would probably rather have a little more time to craft and execute their ideas than they are currently being permitted.
However, in addition to data-led tech, and perhaps in response to it, we have also seen an explosion in a new type of creative tech - one that harnesses technology to empower and enable creatives, rather than stifle their artistic abilities.
This is where ‘contech’ comes in, i.e. technology enabling brands and agency creatives to deliver fast, low-cost content at scale, forming the missing piece in the marketing tech puzzle. Not to be confused with the many professional tools and software that designers and artists in agencies and studios have mastered for traditional advertising, contech ultimately democratises content creation for the internet - and is therefore designed to be brutally simple and quick.
For creatives or content creators these are surely exciting times, as there are a plethora of new tools and approaches at our disposal. Many are designed to help us get from idea to delivery as quickly as possible - so as not to miss that key opportunity identified by 'the data'.
During this year’s Cannes festival, Google took the opportunity to announce the global rollout of its ‘Create with Google
’ suite of tools - ‘made for creatives and by creatives’. These include a YouTube mock-up tool
that enables creatives to preview content and ads within the platform for testing and approval - and in advance of publishing. No doubt this will help accelerate creative decision making and approvals; but the truly exciting area of contech is real time 3D.
Real time 3D is the process by which 3D animation and visualisation can be rendered instantly. Many VR and AR experiences are built with real time 3D gaming engines (such as Unity and Unreal), given that 3D objects need to be composited and augmented at the speed of the user’s vision.
When creatives and audiences can take control of real time 3D technology and assets, the results get interesting. This is already coming to the fore - Apple, Facebook, Snapchat and Google have all developed AR tools designed to encourage more developers and creatives to experiment with overlaying 3D imagery and animations seamlessly into everyday life. Google also announced ‘AR Beauty Try-On
’ last week, which allows YouTube audiences to virtually try on makeup while watching YouTube videos.
When applying real-time 3D to video-based animation, gaming engines can also achieve remarkable levels of photorealism when compared to the traditional (and both lengthy and expensive) CG methods. At Artificial Artists
we have recently developed 3dctrl
- a real time 3D product visualisation and animation tool that empowers creatives or marketers to create CG animated video in house.
We are already seeing applications that automate complex content creation techniques; either by human interaction (motion and voice activated) or by data itself (a procedure referred to as dynamic creative optimisation). Adding in machine learning and AI ingredients to real time 3D rendering is an exciting concoction that lies ahead for the marketing and creative industries.
Indeed, the evolution of creative tech is nothing to fear. Machines in and of themselves will never reach the same levels of human creativity; and technology is merely the means to make creativity more democratic and accessible. Brands should therefore brace themselves for the rise of contech and real-time 3D to help them provide audiences with new, innovative and immersive experiences.