I recently attended the MarTech Conference, hosted by Scott Brinker, editor of Chief MarTec blog with the objective of understanding the state of marketing technologies (MarTech). What really struck me is the focus given to  customer experience. It seems to be a bit obvious and cliché to speak about customer experience, as we have heard these words millions of times in the past couple of years. So why are we talking about it again?

I believe the difference now is that MarTech is actually democratizing the ability to execute really great customer experience marketing. For the first time, it is now possible to create a personalized customer experience without requiring a large marketing team or a huge budget. With 1876 companies in the Marketing Technology Landscape, it is now more a question about creativity than technology, in order to deliver the best possible customer experience. Side note: creativity was the second most popular topic during the conference.

Marketing Operations & Marketing Technology Stack Technology is inevitably leading to more complexity. Complexity finding the right solutions and the complexity of operating all of those technologies. We see more companies building their Marketing Technology Stack from the best of breed technologies. Here is the Marketing Technology Stack at ION Interactive presented by Scott.

Joseph Kurian form Aetna described very precisely how they put in place a formal Marketing Technology Office. This new kind of office is born from the need to bridge the gap between IT and Marketing. Personally, I believe CMOs will continue to be deeply involved in the technology side of Marketing Operations. I think the nature of rapid change and evolution in the next couple of years will keep both departments separated. But in the coming years, I would not be surprised to see IT offices evolved in a way to support the modern marketing requirements. See the full presentation here. Cynthia Gumbert, VP Marketing Technology & Demand Analytics at CA presented a great marketing technology blueprint. Again, the focus is all around the customer experience that she wants to provide, which is the driver in her technology decisions. See the full presentation here.

Saad Ammed of LinkedIn, explained the importance of becoming a real advisor. “You need to tell your executives that first we need to fix the processes gap before adding technology.” He used a technology heat map (see image below) to support his recommendations. First, it’s important to create all of the processes for each of the bubbles and assess the current processes state. Then the next step is to determine where new technology can help improve the processes. This helps to determine the core initiative to work on. The 3 deciding factors he uses are as follows:

  1. Is it aligned with strategy?
  2. What are the cost for the tool and operations
  3. What is the expected return?

Creativity, Design and Customer Experience

I found it particularly interesting that for a conference call MarTech, many sessions were dedicated, or contained, lots of content around creativity and design. Not too long ago, digital marketing disrupted traditional marketing by challenging the creative side. All of the slogans were about accountability, tracking, measuring ROI. The Math Man vs Madman, etc. Now, because there is so much technology available and it’s being democratized to the masses, now we need to rely on creativity to stand out again. Sure the mediums have changed, but the end goal is still the same: leverage creativity to develop delightful customer experiences. Are we witnessing the revenge of the creative marketers?

According to Laura Ramos from Forrester,  digital can no longer be considered as a simple program like other marketing program. It’s working differently, but organizations are ill-equipped for digital success. In a digital world, customer obsession is your only competitive advantage. That’s why you need to replace your inside-out viewpoint with an outside-in perspective. View the full presentation here.

Now, let’s get ready for the next big event in marketing, the Marketing Nation Summit. I’m speaking about Cranking up the Webinar Machine and Perkuto will be exhibiting (booth 306), so please drop by and say hi!