“A thousand flowers bloom” was a phrase heard over and over again at last week’s inaugural MarTech Conference, usually in reference to the exponentially expanding landscape of marketing technologies. As a workflow technology for marketing and creative teams, inMotionNow was so excited for the opportunity to sponsor MarTech, the brainchild of Chief Marketing Technologist blogger, Scott Brinker. Scott kicked off the conference with the observation that since he launched chiefmartec.com in 2008, there’s been a 3x growth in the term “chief marketing technologist” on Google. (He also observed that marketers are better dressed than technologists).
Mayur Gupta, Head of Marketing Technology at Kimberly-Clark talked about Growing Business with Marketing Technology. He pointed out that as marketers we don’t do digital marketing, we market in a digital world – a huge world of fragmented channels. He shared 7 (okay, 8) secrets to innovation, including our personal favorite: Don’t Kill the Butterfly.
Discussing how Chief Marketing Technologists Symbolize Marketing’s Changing Role was Gartner’s VP of Marketing Strategies, Laura McClellan. She shared that marketing has changed more in the last five years than in the previous 50 and pointed out that not only does marketing now rely on technology, business relies on marketing. The CMO is now responsible for all customer related processes, including previously siloed functions like customer retention and product development. Consequently, marketing’s expanding role in growth is forcing IT to change – shifting from maintaining legacy software to being agile and business-centric.
David Raab shared How to Align Marketing Technology with Business Strategy beginning with an example out of history, defining a strategy (the Anaconda Plan) as a method (encircle the South) to a goal (win the Civil War). Your strategy has to be a good fit with your resources, competencies, market needs, competitors, and environment. Companies with a strategy can (and should comfortably) say “no, we don’t do that.” But remember not to conflate strategy with brand: strategy is in the company’s mind, brand is in the customer’s mind.
We learned from Paul Roetzer, author of The Marketing Performance Blueprint (thanks for the copy Paul!), that the customer is the true change catalyst. These days, consumers will look at 10 pieces of information between stimulus and purchase. At Google, they call this the Zero Moment of Truth (ZMOT). Marketers need to create more value for more people more often – so when it’s time to choose, they’ll choose you. To do this, you’ll need Content, Context (provided by Data + Tech), and Customer Experience.
Jascha Kaykas-Wolff, newly minted CMO of BitTorrent, schooled us on the importance of Agile Marketing. Explaining that CEO’s three priorities are innovation, driving fiduciary responsibility, and growing topline revenue – Jascha pointed out that since most CEOs grow up in sales, they frequently focus on that last one at the expense of innovation. But neglecting innovation is risky and getting riskier. In the 1920s, successful businesses could enjoy S&P 500 status for an average of 76-years. Today those reigns only last 17 years and are estimated to drop another 6 years before 2020.
With other speakers touching on the importance of martech talent, Erica Seidel, CEO of Connective Good, shared some strategies for winning The Talent Land Grab in Marketing Technology. Putting it in terms the MarTech audience could understand, she shared parallels between recruiting tactics and marketing tactics. Scouting, she explained, is like lead gen and is often a company’s weakest skill set. For better scouting, frame your must-haves as skills, look beyond titles, and hire talent magnets first. Evaluating prospects is much like lead qualification. Selling your job opening is like providing a great customer experience: new hires are expensive, and new jobs are risky, especially at the six-figure Chief Marketing Technologist (CMT) level. Think about how you would prepare if you were meeting with a client who was spending that kind of money. Sheldon Monteiro , CTO of SapientNitro, also talked about Growing Unicorns (that’s your chief marketing technologists) and how universities and industry need to both take responsibility for training the next generation of marketers.
Travis Wright gave a LOL presentation when he shared a personal example of “know your customers” where the Kansas City Chiefs failed to know their customer: him. Travis is the CEO of MediaThinkLabs and a huge Chiefs fan, who tweeted about his disappointment in their decision-making. The Chiefs snarky response quickly escalated into a feud that hit Reddit, Mashable, and the local news station. His long list of recommended marketing tools and discussion on whether To Build or Buy Your Own Marketing Cloud segued nicely into the panel on Growing ISV Ecosystems for Marketing Software Platforms, where we learned about the importance of consistent interfaces. In marketing technology subcategories quickly grow up to be categories, and independent software vendors (ISVs) frequently get acquired – it’s a dynamic marketplace.
With one of the most fascinating sessions at MarTech, Director of the MIT Initiative on the Digital Economy, Erik Brynnjolfsson, gave a talk on The Future of Business in The Second Machine Age. He explained that while the Industrial Revolution was all about physical power, the Second Machine Age is all about mental power – computers, software, big data, machine intelligence, etc. The question is, will this complement or substitute human labor? Erik’s belief is it will complement, as he said, “I for one welcome our new computer overlords!” Computers are now doing the unimaginable, like handling call center response, medical diagnosis, and hiring decisions. There are thousands of dollars of tech in your smart phone – a whole 1980s-era Radio Shack in your pocket: answering machine, music player, calculator, GPS, and more. There’s more on the Second Machine Age, but you’ll have to fight the crowds for a copy of his book like the rest of us!
Sheryl Pattek, Principal Analyst at Forrester Research, told attendees about Making Marketing Thrive in the Age of the Customer. She shared that attention spans are decreasing 20% per year. Attention and information are in an inverse relationship – we used to have information scarcity and attention abundance, now we have information overload combined with a scarcity of attention. What that means for marketers is that empowered customers now want to find their own channel to you, and that the only way to manage the world of marketing channels is with technology. With technology you can transform the customer experience, embrace the mobile mindset, become a digital disruptor, and turn big data into insights.
Speaking on The New Marketing Operations Archetypes was Agiliti CEO, Jason Heller. He talked about how truly implementing agile has to include a shift in company culture, not just business processes. Marketing’s role is expanding and is being impacted from everything from the complex media ecosystem to advanced analytics and insights to the UX of everything.
Using Dropbox as an example of Growth Hacking, Sean Ellis, Founder of GrowthHackers.com, described how Dropbox’s collaboration and sharing capabilities catalyzed growth with a double-sided referral program that benefits both the sharer and the shared-to. He pointed out that startups, with their limited resources and aggressive targets, are desperate to grow – and shared the major growth levers: user-get-user viral sharing, massive platforms like Facebook, and onboarding to maintain adoption (like how Twitter optimized for habits, getting new users to follow at least 30 people).
Christopher Penn, VP of Marketing Technology at Shift Communications, gave us a new perspective for managing workflow with Algorithmic Thinking. He defined an algorithm as simply data combined with assumption and shared a methodology for solving problems with algorithms by 1) looking for problems that are repeated and 2) breaking those problems down into the smallest pieces possible. So your social media strategy could be broken down into algorithms like “if web traffic declines by more than 5% for 3 consecutive days, tweet 5 times a day with 2 links back to the site.” Algorithmic thinking is also a retention tool. It makes onboarding new hires faster and frees strategic thinkers by letting them routinize tasks and pass them off to more junior staff. Remember that it’s important to document why you have tactics in place. Christopher shared the story of a family recipe for baked ham, where the ends of the ham were always cut off. When the daughter asked her mother why that was necessary, the mother said that’s just what her mother did. When the daughter asked the grandmother “Why do we cut the ends off the ham?” The grandmother replied, “Oh, well the first time I made it, my oven was too small for the whole ham to fit!” The moral of the story: don’t cut off the ends of your ham!
On Marketing Technologist as Marketing Transformation Sherpa, Shawn Goodin asked: what are the capabilities that we’re trying to enable? As Director of Marketing Technology at The Clorox Company he tell marketing “I’m your advocate to IT” and tells IT “I’m your spy into Marketing!” Sean recommends 3 tools for enabling martech: the stone, the stool, and a compass. The stone in this case is a Rosetta stone – the common language between marketing and technology. The stool represents 4 pillars: people, process, data, and tech – you need at least 3 of them to stand. And the compass lets you map terrain, find true north, know where you are, and read the terrain and adjust.
Michael Kingsman and Vala Afshar, co-hosts of CxO Talk, were joined by Don Schuerman (CTO of Pegasystems) and Steve Mann (CMO of LexisNexis) to discuss CMO Perspectives on Digital Transformation. Don shared that the greatest challenges facing marketing right now are the diversification of channels and the diversification of demographics – i.e. the breakdown of the sales funnel, and personalization of messaging. Michael pointed out that marketing used to be all about relationships and the three martini lunch and mused, maybe that never changed? To which Don theorized that it did change but has now swung back, bringing relationships back to the forefront of marketing. Vala opined that it’s all about the power of pull, and Don agreed, asserting that digital is about the customer. Vala reminded marketing technologists that they still have to collaborate with the CIO, because the CIO (with the CFO) owns the budget and can help you spend it. There were some great questions from the audience, about what to do if your company only spends 12% of marketing budget on digital? The advice from the panel was to create fellow digital advocates among your colleagues so you can bring a consensus and data to your CEO. Another attendee asked what’s the three martini lunch when you’re dealing with B2B? To which Vala was quick to respond, “good content, good content, good content!” Don agreed, advising B2B marketers to be the expert and to be the advisor. Don went on to point out that technology hits marketing first, so it’s marketing’s responsibility to bring everyone else along. Asked what’s next for martech, Steve’s prediction: predictive analytics.
Closing out the show was a fireside chat with Hubspot founder, Dharmesh Shah. Dharmesh shared the creation story of Hubspot. His co-founder wanted to help tech startups grow but the old playbook wasn’t working. There’s a bubble protecting now buyers from marketing – things like caller ID and spam filters. They needed a way to make buyers come to them. What did work was a combination of email, web, social, and lead gen. So Hubspot was launched with the aim to integrate these “inbound” marketing tools. “The product sucked when it was first released, but people bought it anyway!” said Dharmesh. “That’s when we knew we were onto something.” Hubspot is now at 750 people, and scaling is especially acute in the marketing department. The big challenge in marketing technology for Dharmesh is around people and building a company culture that drives recruiting so you can win the top talent who have a multitude of skills. The supply of that kind of talent has not grown to meet the needs of the industry. In order to build a desirable company culture as an entrepreneur, Dharmesh advised entrepreneurs to simply build a company that you want to work at, and hire people that you want to work with. Dharmesh recommended using NPS scores every quarter to gauge employee sentiment, and to remember that awesome people don’t want to do awful things (like purchase lists and email blast them). He stated that marketing technology evolution is the most exciting industry to be in right now. But even martech like marketing automation is still low penetration – they only have 5% of the market. There’s still a long way to go!
With so much great knowledge and insight being shared at the first MarTech Conference, we can’t wait to see you in San Francisco at the 2015 MarTech Conference!