MarTech 2017: My Key Take-Aways

Martech Key Takeaways

The theme of this year’s MarTech West conference was digital transformation and the explosion of marketing technology in support of customer engagement. The conference provided a fascinating set of fresh perspectives across the board. I really enjoyed it.

It was interesting to hear Mayur Gupta, Global VP, Growth & Marketing Spotify present his company’s view of a customer centric organization.  The only way to accomplish centricity is to have more information about your customers, better visibility into how they interact with your brand, and the tools to reach them with the right message at the right time.

The MarTech 5000 showcased companies that are providing every tool imaginable to improve customer engagement, as well as global best practices of how to stitch these technologies together to create a unique and compelling customer experience.

Here are my key three take-aways from the conference:

Take-away #1:  Customer centricity and digital transformation are big ideas.  But we’re at the stage in this transformation where it’s still more theory than practice. There are methodologies, frameworks, and big changes happening in the executive suite; there are massive directives being established at the C-level at some of the largest companies in the world.  How that is getting down to the troops is still at the very early stages.  This was a consistent theme with all of the customers I spoke with at the conference.

Take-away #2:  A big piece of this transformation is all the new roles being created to address this imperative of customer centricity.  Ryan Schwartz, Senior Director of Marketing Technology & Strategy at MongoDB introduced the concept of a marketing technology officer.  This person isn’t a CTO, per se, but rather a resource completely dedicated to identifying new technologies and integrating those technologies into the marketing/sales stack.

This type of role clearly has legs, and we’re going to see a massive uptick in these types of titles over the next 18 months.  If you’re relying solely on your CTO to be focused on integrating all the tools that support your marketing organization, you’re fighting an uphill battle. The CTO already has too many balls in the air.

What’s most interesting about the Marketing Technology Officer is his/her connection to sales and revenue.  We agree with MongoDB that ideally, this is a shared resource between marketing and sales.  The role might even be a part of new group that Debbie Qaqish, Chief Revenue Marketing Officer at Pedowitz Group, referred to as SMOP: Sales and Marketing Operations.  These roles are definitely coming together, which leads me to my final take-away, which is a big one.

Take-away #3:  The increased customer visibility being driven by all of these technologies, especially predictive analytics, is providing organizations with a view into the intentions of their customer base in a way that previously did not exist. This visibility is real and it’s streaming.  It’s changing every minute of every day.

To engage with it and succeed, the classic sales and marketing structures need to evolve.  The data is just too powerful and too fast.  The companies that will win are the ones that can most quickly rethink the structure of their customer focused resources, build a technology stack that supports customer engagement, and embraces the alignment of sales and marketing.

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