This year’s #MarTechConf East event can be summed up in three words: It’s all happening.
Whether you’re new to the space or a seasoned marketing professional, the fact that our department is playing a more integral, impactful role in business is obvious. The question is, how can we take advantage of this moment? How can we match the potential for explosive growth that we all recognize? Here are three takeaways that were on repeat in this year’s expert talk tracks.
1. Data Flow is Top Priority
As Eric Olson, CMO at Quick Base, pointed out, marketing is increasingly holistic. Our department is the connective tissue between every component of the customer experience, from prospect to advocate, and we need to constantly facilitate two way conversations across that spectrum.
Keeping up with this new era requires technology that talks to each other.
“The technology that got us here, is not going to get us to where we’re going next,” he said. “Today requires speed and agility. I have to make sure that whatever I select will share data back and forth with the rest of my stack.”
Eric Williamson, VP of Brand and Digital at Acquia, echoed this sentiment. “Don’t pick technology that doesn’t talk to each other,” he said. “Make that a fundamental part of your marketing operations credo. If you can’t share data across the different things that are going to be touching your customer [journey], there’s no way you can provide a personalized experience.”
2. Move from Channel-Centric to Customer-Centric
B2B and B2C folks alike can appreciate the seamlessness associated with purchasing something from Amazon and having it show up that day, or the next day. From a consumer standpoint, that quick and easy experience is what people have begun to expect across the board.
It’s a high bar, to say the least, and we won’t all be able to become Amazon-like, but moving in a similar customer-centric direction is a non-negotiable.
“Part of [today’s] problem is we’re marketing through our channels, but we’re not thinking about the customer journey — what’s the experience for someone who’s trying to get information to make a decision end-to-end? We all have these siloed experiences that don’t add up,” noted Tom Bachmann, VP of Digital at Pegasystems.
Brian Piccolo, Sr. Director of Digital Strategy at Liberty Mutual, fully agreed, bringing it back to the fuel that powers the machine: “That’s what sets the high bar for those brands like Amazon and Google, and they have the ability to create truly personalized experiences because they have good data.”
But how do you make the shift from channel-centric to customer centric? Eric highlighted a common point of contention: “Trying to look at what you’re going to invest in through the lens of CX is really hard because CX is a very hard thing to attribute ROI to — it’s kind of a vague amorphous thing. You can’t tie it to an MQL, so it becomes hard to actually invest in CX because it’s very hard to show that budget hitting your sales pipeline.”
3. Invest in Machine-Learning / AI
In a customer-centric world, today’s marketing leaders are turning to AI for help, and it’s no surprise. Top brands have been using artificial intelligence for years, and with incredible results. Netflix saved $1 billion in lost revenue in 2017 with AI-powered recommendations and Amazon’s AI implementation reduced ‘click to ship’ time by 225%, to just under 15 minutes.
“We’re now getting into using machine learning to figure out what’s the piece of content or what’s the customer experience that makes the most sense for each inbound visitor, or for each person that I’m promoting to through an outbound channel,” said Eric. “We’re creating algorithms using data, letting that data build out a model, and then having the model actually meet what we can do as marketers using our best judgment. It’s been really exciting to put that into marketing.”
Fill in the Missing Piece
When a crucial piece of something is missing, it doesn’t matter how great its existing components are, it’s ultimately inoperable. A bike without a wheel, a headset without an earpiece — this is the state of tech stacks today. They’re filled with promising tools and endless amounts of data, but lacking the key layer to connect the dots between them.
Marketers are waking up to these shortcomings and are making the moves to solve them. In other words, it really is all happening.
At Blueshift, we’re leading the charge with a solution that addresses all of the above. Connect with our team to find out more.