Karoline Gross is the co-founder of Smartzer, a company on a quest to enhance the consumer shopping experience. Smartzer feature on The Fresh Business Thinking Shift 100, MAdtech edition in association with KPMG Small Business Accounting. Karoline discussed with us the challenges of marketing today and the future plans for the business.

What are the challenges marketers are facing today?

There are a huge amount of tech companies out there, and it can be a challenge to choose what they should use and test. In the past, large corporates have been more reluctant to try different things, but they are becoming much more open to it, which is great. It is fascinating to see a lot of different corporate programmes that connect with start-ups that guide them on what they should be doing, help them keep on top of what’s going on, and when not to do something that’s way too out there. They can help to find that balance.

Do you think customer behaviour has changed?

I think definitely. It’s very closely linked to the use of different devices and the technologies that are available. When we think how much the internet has progressed, where you can stream video on your mobile phone, on your tablet with no problems. It is also expected that you can interact with things when you have ecommerce websites with the imagery becoming shoppable, interactive and much more story based.

We have seen a behavioural change and we expect people to be able to click on more things to see more information, not just from text anymore, but from images. It’s actually surprising that this is across all demographics.

What do you think are the future trends for MAdtech?

A lot of the future trends are going to be around content and linking it to commerce. I think there’s going to be a trend where content and commerce merge a lot more and it’s not just going to be about editorial websites and then an ecommerce website with a list of thousands of products.

All of it is becoming a lot more story based and much more about the look and having a whole concept, not just individual items. And of course, tying in with 360 videos and VR and seeing how these develop. Ecommerce is going to be merged into advertising in not such a pushy ‘banner ad’ kind of way. It is going to be much more embedded into the content.

What are the plans for your business over the next year?

As a company, we are planning some fundraising and we are also planning to open an office in the US. We have done some accelerator programmes in the USA and we have had some great traction over there.

We are also launching a completely new version of our product in the next couple of months and of course, we want to build on our existing client relationships.

The Fresh Business Thinking Shift 100, MAdtech edition in association with KPMG Small Business Accounting comprises of entrepreneurs pushing boundaries in the MAdtech space.