As we draw the curtains on 2022, one of the million-dollar (or maybe trillion dollar) questions on everybody’s mind is: what will 2023 bring?
Back in December 2021, we were popping champagne, celebrating the end of COVID and the continued growth in digital and online shopping–all of which were going to propel the world of tech and software to new heights. Within weeks and months into 2022, we saw the Omicron variant-driven resurgence of COVID, the War in Ukraine, high inflation numbers, a stock market crash driven by high interest rates, massive layoffs in tech, VCs scrambling to save their portfolios and, CEOs of tech companies trying to cut costs fast enough to avoid running out of cash.
Seeing all of this would make even the most optimistic entrepreneur think twice before making uplifting predictions for 2023, but I will anyway.
Let’s consider what business needs from tech in order to thrive in today’s environment:
- Continue pursuing digitization: the sales and marketing divisions of most companies still rely heavily on “brick-and-mortar” models–for example, retail eCommerce still represents only 16% of sales. It is even worse in other industries like Banking and Insurance. Digital commerce will drive the next wave of growth.
- Automate labor intensive tasks: Labor costs, especially of tech workers, are still extremely high as tech workers continue to be hard to find. Most of the 90,000 tech workers laid off in 2022 have already been re-hired, some within weeks. Labor intensive tasks will become expensive and difficult to execute for brands. Automation will alleviate intensive manual work and boost efficiency.
- Personalize consumer engagement at scale: Consumers continue to want more, not less, digital engagement with brands. They research, buy and have things delivered to their homes –all done via apps at their fingertips. 1:1 personalization will scale every touch point.
All of these should bode well for the tech industry, and only for tech that delivers value and actual ROI to brands continually. To borrow a phrase from Alan Greenspan, what we witnessed was an “irrational exuberance” around tech regarding its limitless value, and so many brands bought into bad ideas that got financed by VCs.
I am optimistic for tech that brings automation and efficiencies to brands, demonstrates clear values, and innovates in new technologies like AI that continue to disrupt the way we do things.
I have always believed in building great software that automates what is costing our customers millions of dollars to do manually, such as automating ad creative and optimizing messaging to improve media performance. This is why, despite a turbulent year for tech, we at Jivox had our most profitable year in the history of the company and grew significantly.
A tech CEO should always think about adding value to our customers and whether there are better, more automated and inexpensive ways to do what we do.
A brand must realize that, even in a recession, digitization, automation, combined with personalization at scale will pay off handsomely in delivering more revenue and profits for your brand.
An investor needs to find and invest in tech companies that automate a brand’s business and truly enable the brand’s innovations.