Last week, I attended Scott Brinker’s inaugural MarTech conference — an excellent event featuring thinkers and practitioners who spoke to the opportunities and challenges of technology powered marketing. There have been numerous posts since then, and a lot of talk about “unicorns” (a seriously overused moniker)—and yet, appropriate for describing the elusive marketing technologist who can automate, analyze, and optimize every customer interaction and outreach tactic with a few clicks.
It is clear that marketing is a very different practice than it was even three years ago. Metrics and analytics are now corporate imperative. In fact, Laura McLellan of Gartner showed research that indicated that, “marketing will spend more than IT by 2017.”
Some of our observations:
1) The next generation of marketer will be natively data-driven and marketing-tech savvy.
Remember five to seven years ago when we said the next generation of marketer would be natively social? Now it’s natively data-driven and marketing-tech savvy. Whether you are starting a career in marketing or looking for opportunities to get a better gig…double down on martech; be willing to teach others; and be able to competently use the technology to deliver actionable metrics and insights.
2) Predictive > Big Data.
Big data, big data…everywhere. And yet many big data marketing products (e.g. traditional lead scoring tools) focus on the past and present, not the future. Several speakers, including LexisNexis’ CMO, cited “predictive” data technologies as the next big, big-data thing. Specifically, products that can provide prescriptive, actionable insights and talking points, and possibly auto-magically power some of the tasks normally provided by humans. Of course, we totally agree.
3) A deliberate blend of B2C and B2B?
The conference was not split between the two domains, as I might have expected. Instead, topics and speakers were intermingled. I am not sure if this was deliberate, but as one attendee said, we’re selling to people – whether it’s a widget or shoe. Good point.
4) Is there no longer a one-size-fits-all solution?
In a session about the ISV ecosystem, Adobe, Marketo and IBM predicted that their communities of independent software vendors (like 6sense) will grow to between 500-800 companies. These platforms can’t move as quickly as startups and so they’ll court and groom smaller companies who can provide increased functionality for their platforms. And eventually, maybe they’ll acquire them.
5) Strategy vs. spray-and-pray.
There were a couple of instructive and inspiring sessions that reminded me that the technology we marketers use to grow our businesses is only as good the strategy that it powers them. David Raab took us through the rubric of how to align business goals to methods and the marketing technologies that can support them. Christopher Penn showed us cool ways to think like a marketing machine by solving problems with intent through building marketing algorithms.
6) This is just the beginning…
At 6sense, I wholeheartedly believe that we’ve moved out of the information age and into the data age, where every tactic and strategic plan is powered by data. Given the packed room, there’s a lot of education to impart.
In general, the level of excitement about what marketing technology can do for marketers and businesses – coupled with the fear of missing out and eagerness to get up-to-speed – will mean that MarTech 2015 in San Francisco will sell out.
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