Earlier this month part of our team attended the Marketing Nation Roadshow here in Boston, held in parallel with the MarTech East Boston event. Scott Brinker created the MarTech event for the intersection of the formerly siloed areas of marketing, technology, and management.
Digital transformation has morphed what used to be strictly separate disciplines into “MarTech,” which consists of technology, people, and process at the intersection of marketing, technology, and management. Scott Brinker outlined this convergence in his Martech Manifesto. And so, MarTech is the only marketing conference for technologists and technical conference for marketers. What makes this event unique is that MarTech dives almost exclusively into technology and how marketing management can get the most out of marketing technology.
At this year’s Boston event, marketers learned all about how to win in the “engagement economy”, as it is now nearly impossible to stand out in the noise due to infinite demand in a world of finite attention. Like B2C, the B2B world expects to receive a highly customized user experience with only relevant content. Buyers from both disciplines are expecting better experiences and marketers’ success metrics must evolve to proving engagement. The more we bombard our target audience, the more operant it becomes to tune marketing out. So, how do we once again gain a share of attention with an individual at the right moment?
While this poses an ongoing challenge to marketers, the event provided several exciting means to conquer the engagement economy that really stood out for me. They are highlighted here and will be covered more in-depth below.
- It is more important than ever to have meaningful metrics
- Customized experiences are key
- Aligning marketing operations and technology with sales
- How decision science comes into play
- AI – what turns the above into a well-oiled machine
Meaningful Metrics Result in Meaningful Customer Experiences
Demonstrating that the engagement economy is here to stay, a Wunderman study revealed that 79% of customers only consider brands that show they understand and care about ‘me.’ Marketo found that 83% of marketers say their engagement efforts are effective, however, only 33% of customers believe brands deliver value. Clearly, marketers are still missing the mark in delivering buyers the experience they are looking for.
Metrics need to focus on providing data on what customized experiences buyers want. As seen with the data points above, marketing alone cannot measure the right aspects to be successful. Sales also must play an integral role in providing metrics and a customized experience for buyers as well.
Marketing and Sales, Two Sides of the Same Coin
Matt Heinz stated, “mere alignment isn’t enough…operational alignment means coordinated action towards the same revenue-producing objectives.” In the session “Alignment in the Engagement Economy: How Sales + Marketing Partner on Customer Experience,” SiriusDecisions found that organizations gained 15% higher profitability by aligning marketing goals with sales goals and receiving the executive teams’ buy-in to build an integrated sales and marketing funnel. They could achieve this through the following:
- Transforming the marketing organization into a revenue center of excellence
- Strong sales and marketing alignment
- More discipline and accountability with activity and results
- Increased focus on sales process
- Solid technology foundation to support the above
A Healthy Marriage of Science and Marketing…
A fascinating session that brought a different perspective about messaging was Nancy Harhut’s session titled “7 Human Behavior Hacks that Increase Engagement and Response.” In the engagement economy, there exists such an influx of marketing and advertising that a person’s senses are used to tuning out most messages. So why not use what we have learned from other fields such as science to get an edge on our competitors’ messaging?
This session focused on the emerging field of decision science and how marketers can influence buyers to move in the right direction or take a desired action by appealing to their subconscious decision process. Harhut explained that 95% of decision-making takes place in the subconscious mind.
For example, Harhut stated that when providing a price in a promotion, that $120.00 will be read as more expensive than $120 and will reduce sales by 4.3%. Below are her other human behavior hacks:
- Availability bias
- Social proof
- Commitment and Consistency
- Choice Architecture
- Pricing Perceptions
- The neuro 9
AI on the Rise
Last but not least, what is artificial intelligence (AI)? All of us secretly wondered whether AI would take over our future jobs, but more importantly, why is artificial intelligence on such a rise? In his session, “The Rise of AI in Marketing: IDC Shares What Every Marketer Should Know”, Gerry Murray explained that there are many flavors of AI such as deep learning: Google DeepMind, machine learning: Marketo web personalization (RTP), cognitive systems: IBM Watson, just to name a few. But why is AI so important now? Here are his 3 reasons:
- Cognitive makes marketers smarter and faster.
- AI is going into everything – by 2020, 50% of companies will use cognitive computing to automate marketing and sales interactions with customers.
- It’s going to change customer behavior forever – by 2020, 40% of e-commerce transactions will be enabled by cognitive/AI personal shoppers and conversational commerce.
Through everything marketers and technologists learned at MarTech, modern marketers will need to “deliver the most value to the best customers the fastest”, while working on “raising customer expectations beyond competitors’ ability,” according to Gerry Murray.
Although technology and the world marketers live in is constantly changing, conferences like this and networking with our peers allow us to not only learn how to keep up with this dynamic pace but also how to get ahead with all the new tips and tricks in our arsenal. As keynote speaker Seth Godin said, if “all are prepared, none are ready,” but if “failure is not an option, neither is success.”