Marketing technology, or “martech” if you’re all about buzzwords, isn’t static. It’s constantly evolving, and this year there are some major changes happening. Right now, martech is proving to be just as crazy as the past few years, which means marketers need to hustle to keep the pace. As there are more and more martech vendors entering the market (they doubled since last year and now we have about 2,000!), with no sign of slowing, there might be more confusion than ever. How can we figure out the best strategy for us, how do we know when the “right time” is to blend the marketing and tech departments, and is martech really a necessity for all businesses anyway?
One of the biggest shifts is the fact that the decisions we have to make around martech—like the questions above—are getting more complex. There’s no way to really guess how many martech vendors will be around even by the close of the year. Technology that predicts customer demands, such as Amazon Echo and Siri, showcase the preference for how more customers want their interface and marketers have to figure out a way to make these artificially intelligence-driven devices recommend their brands, products, and services. As if marketing to humans wasn’t challenging enough!
Luckily, there are more and more guides designed for the non-techies. You can take classes, check out seminars, or simply scroll through bullet-point riddled tutorials to learn the latest about martech. Choose lessons based on your type of business, goals and more. Increasingly, the laymen is getting (mar)tech savvy.
Too Much of a Good Thing
The more hands there are in the vendor pot, the more complicated things can be for marketers. There are more people making decisions, including executives like the CMO and CDO (that’s digital officer for those who are behind in their acronyms). These leaders are straddling their roles between management, marketing reps, and IT department, which can result in quite the messy situation if not done well. It’s estimated by the Walker Sands State of Marketing Technology 2016 report that about 66 percent of marketers are able to give input in the buying decisions for products they use. In fact, over half of even entry-level marketers have played a major role in a purchase decision since 2013.
Of course, the “rise of the robots” and digital PAs like Google Now come with a slew of new obstacles. With AI and voice-based PAs predicting what customers want, marketers have to look at marketing innovations that mix messaging and AI this year. Add in the Internet of Things (IoT), which is offering up more data to process than ever, and things can really get sticky. The IoT is tossing a ton of customer data at marketers, but big data is pointless if it isn’t analyzed and put to use. According to Gartner, 30 billion “things” are going to be linked to the internet by 2020.
If wielded well, the IoT can give marketers a major advantage—or it can drown marketers who aren’t ready for the data influx. The year ahead will have marketers facing a lot of decisions, innovative technology, a confused market, and a slew of vendors. Catching up can be a challenge, but it’s a must if you want to compete. Where are you in the martech game?