The Topline

We are in the midst of a transformational period for, well, everything. Marketing included. 

This is being driven by a tsunami of emerging technologies, tectonic cultural shifts, and a deluge of data that are causing exponential disruptions in consumers’ lives and business models. The opportunities are truly limitless — as are the risks.

As many of you know, I call this convergence the Fifth Paradigm.

The Fifth Paradigm will feel like an entirely new planet for marketers. From the insights we mine to the creative we produce (and how it’s developed, from hyper personalization to real time optimization, every area we touch in marketing will be turned on its head. Thriving in this new world will require open-mindedness and technological savvy. 

Now is the time for marketers to master their grasp of emerging technologies and their applications — before it’s too late.

This newsletter series is designed to give you a taste of that… 


The Essential Truth

Recently, the New York Times’ Kevin Roose wrote a fascinating article about the new AI-powered Bing search engine. Search has long been a cornerstone for marketers, allowing our messages to be served to individuals at critical moments in their purchase journey. 


The new Bing goes a step further, providing a chat feature next to search to provide additional assistance. Except the reporter, Kevin Roose, didn’t find the chat assistant so helpful… instead, it delivered ever-more personal commentary that felt increasingly invasive. The immediate reaction to reading that the chatbot said, “…I’m in love with you.” is laughter. The secondary reaction is more contemplative. 

Are we ready for this?

And this is just the tip of the iceberg. Beyond AI and tools like ChatGPT that are already being embraced by marketers, there are nearly two dozen other technologies that represent promising opportunities for marketing.

To stay relevant, brands must stay on top of these trends — not just in their industries, but everywhere — and up-to-date on possible implications of this tech.

The good news? Marketers don’t need to develop deep expertise in each new tech. But, they need enough knowledge to discern what these technologies are and how they can be leveraged appropriately. 

The time to develop this understanding is now.

In Part 1 of this series, I’ll walk through some of the most fundamental emerging technologies that will impact marketing’s future.

\In future editions, I will cover the technologies that are creating a world of infinite data, emerging immersive technologies, and some secondary technologies with interesting applications for marketers.


Artificial Intelligence

As noted above, the deployment of AI is already rising significantly and sometimes invisibly. While AI is crucial to the future of business and is currently pervading the marketing ecosystem (and many others), it’s also attracting big headlines of late. 

– The ability to create (or fake) virtually anything using AI stands to revolutionize content creation. ChatGPT is a great example of how AI is fueling creative – from poems to ad copy. But we’re also seeing plenty of examples of how this can go awry. I recently read about high school students in Carmel, N.Y., who posted fake videos of the school administrators making racist remarks on TikTok. The students were eventually caught, but this shows how anybody can and might leverage this technology in disruptive ways — both positive and negative.

– Already we are seeing machine learning and deep learning revolutionize data analytics and pattern recognition. AI will also give marketers deep, real-time learnings about consumer trends and preferences, enabling them to create highly optimized, personalized marketing programs on the fly (i.e., in real-time). Brands will be able to connect more closely with consumers and engage with them on their own terms.

– Chatbots are becoming more human-like by the day; companies deploying these solutions saved ~$8 billion in 2022 by cutting down on personnel and related expenses. The rise of ChatGPT and Bard indicate this trend will continue.

– Advertisers are using neural rendering to create imagery based on data that replicates a person’s actual likeness and movements. 

– Creating art is something that has historically been considered fundamentally human. Now, AI enabled tools are able to accurately replicate painters, writers, and composers. And these are the early days; soon, the volume of content created by AI will drastically exceed that created by humans. 

Search, targeting, personalization, media buying — even content creation — are increasingly dependent on AI. The fate of advertising is inextricably linked with that of AI.



The implementation of 5G networks is expected to bring about a significant improvement in connectivity, enabling faster and more reliable data transfer. This will pave the way for various other technologies such as the Internet of Things (IoT), autonomous and connected vehicles, and more. 

As the rollout of 5G continues, its impacts will be felt exponentially.

At full capacity, 5G is superfast — fifty to a hundred times faster than 4G — with significantly higher download speeds than we are currently used to. 

When combined with low latency, commands can be executed without any delay between the different ends of the network, even over vast distances. For instance, a surgeon in London could move their fingers, and robotic fingers in an operating room in New York City would follow along precisely and almost instantly.

The ability of 5G to connect with a greater number of devices simultaneously will also have implications for marketers, allowing them to deploy immersive virtual reality or 3D experiences around their products in real-time from anywhere in the world. 

The advancement holds the promise of revolutionizing customer experience by empowering marketers to create compelling and interactive campaigns that can be accessed globally. Devices will be able to capture and process signals from consumers’ sensors and marketers will be able to analyze the data and react accordingly as they go. 

This is a significant technological leap that will enable and transform platforms in an unprecedented fashion. Marketing will benefit greatly from these capabilities. 



In today’s marketing industry, the value chain involves multiple intermediaries who verify each step of the process. The presence of these middlemen often leads to a lack of transparency and trust between the marketers who are paying for the services and their counterparts. This can be a major challenge for the industry as it may make it difficult to measure the true impact of marketing initiatives.

The use of blockchain technology has the potential to simplify this process by enabling direct digital contracts between advertisers and publishers that are tamper-proof and updated automatically based on how, when, and where ads are appearing and in what form.

It also promised to unleash exclusive products and programs that allow participants to “own” a small piece in a way in which they were not able to previously, which is certain to excite consumers around their passions. 

Importantly, blockchains will help establish the authenticity of products — and their provenance — to combat fakes and imitations.


Long Story Short

We often think of new technologies as disruptors to the industry, but that is only if we are unwilling to embrace and work with the technology as tools that can help us do our jobs more effectively. Again, the potential of these technologies is limited only by our own imagination.

To stay competitive, it’s essential for marketers to keep up with current and future developments, recognize opportunities they can utilize, and devise strategies to test, refine, and launch new initiatives. 

We can do this as individual marketers, but we also owe it to each other to come together to define best practices and put clear governance models in place that allow everyone to thrive in this new ecosystem.

Please stay tuned for Part 2 of this newsletter, coming soon.