MarTech is Coming, Prepare your Agency

June 2, 2017

Blog | Strategy | MarTech is Coming, Prepare your Agency
MarTech is Coming, Prepare your Agency 4 takeaways from MarTech San Francisco

3 days. 60+ jam-packed sessions. 2,500 MarTech-ers. And over 5300 players.  – MarTech San Francisco 2017 was an awe-inspiring event!

We recently wrapped up MarTech 2017 in San Francisco and after a jam-packed few days of speakers and events, it’s safe to say the future is bright.

While marketing and technology disciplines are often still extremely disconnected, there is a clear reality that businesses, both small and large, are now forging a future where the two disciplines are intrinsically intertwined. It’s a testament to an industry that is growing and becoming accepted and better defined that 81% of all large companies (with annual revenue of $500 million or more) have a Chief Marketing Technologist heading up dedicated teams.

Products, systems, tools and stacks exist for marketing automation, email marketing, analytics, content management, real-time optimization, artificial intelligence and the like. These services are not new but only recently have we seen the value and strategic importance that organizations are placing on a unified and systematic approach to their core marketing technology strategies.

The expo floor was completely abuzz with this reality. There was a lot of talk of new features, ‘bleeding-edge’ solutions and industry-changing insights, frankly making it difficult to know where to place your focus and who to put your money on. That said, we walked away with four great findings that will hopefully help you and your organization navigate the MarTech landscape.

Four MarTech Conference Takeaways for Agencies

1. This is big business!

Seriously, BIG, as in $100 billion dollars big. In fact, a panel of VC investors came together at the conference to discuss the future of the MarTech investment landscape (Scott Vaughan has a recap of their discussion here).

The key takeaways from their conversation are relevant for the agency world too:

  • The MarTech space has seen over $100 billion of investment over the last decade
  • Meanwhile growth is significantly projected as marketing budgets shift from offline to online spending
  • The pace of marketing technology adoption is increasing as marketers are apt to trying new tools
  • And ultimately, Vaughan put it best in stating: “Martech can directly be linked to revenue and business and customer value…MarTech can become a competitive advantage based on the way it’s deployed, how a company uses its holistic MarTech stack and how intelligently the resulting data is put to work.”

Reading between the lines: the service side of MarTech has massive potential.

2. Get comfortable getting personal.

“Half the money I spend in advertising is wasted; I just don’t know which half.”

It’s still true, we are crafting digital solutions that follow the old model of ‘spray and pray.’ Along the same lines, most creative, as well as technical, planning and execution is fragmented within channel swim lanes. We’ll say that the customer is at the center of each channel until we are blue in the face, but the truth of the matter is that they are not at the center of the ecosystem. The result is we are often creating broken systems; systems with good intent but designed for the business, not for the consumer. We design for the best case scenario and pray for a positive ROI.

MarTech is changing that. Customer identity plays a critical role in brand marketing stacks and is increasingly becoming a primary focus across the industry. By developing customer identity, you will start to create genuine relationships through targeted and meaningful interactions, which in turn will produce better business results.

Agencies will need to adapt from a one to many model and become comfortable with unique programs, single-serving content and custom experiences tailored to specific customers.

Here are a few great resources to leverage in understanding what’s to come in personalization:

3. Skills, skills and more skills….

Staffing for MarTech doesn’t require more skilled people, it requires people with more skills. A MarTech brain is capable of translating the marketing technology landscape into business growth; comfortable in both the marketing and the technology sides of the business and how they work together to create something unique.

When staffing for your agency, these are the people you will need:

  • Capability Leaders: someone who can look across an entire organization and make sense of a myriad of tools, products, and services, aiming to streamline into a single tech stack
  • Growth Planners: a marketer who can stitch the ultimate user experience, outside of boxes and arrows, to include all touch points and business drivers, aimed and narrowing in on a growth strategy
  • Omni-channel Owners: a creative who can manage against the ecosystem, factoring in different mediums, drivers, and data to interpret a holistic picture

Chances are you have a MarTech lead amongst you. Look across your organization today and tap your resources with these attributes:

  • Web development skills – anyone who speaks in code, HTML, CSS, PHP …
  • Computer science background – the more technical the better!
  • Problem-solving skills – a brain that thrives when using a scientific methodology
  • Someone not intimidated by the Rubik’s cube of technology who has a willingness to experiment
  • And of course all the creative firepower you can muster…

Read this for more tips on staffing for the future: Turning Your Marketing Org Into A Profit Center

4. Final advice: agencies of all types be warned!

MarTech is no longer a buzzword. Clients have a real need for it, so get ready. We may still be in the early days of this space but the value of MarTech is undeniable and the time to get involved is now.

Dust off your technical skills and prepare for the r/evolution!

Stephen Downs

Executive Vice President of Business Development
  • Marketing
  • MarTech
  • Technology

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