Last week we closely followed the #MarTechFest event, which took place in London, and we were able to count on some professionals from the martech sector, speakers at the festival, to give us their particular vision on some of the challenges the industry faces.
Securing investment for martech can be a difficult task for marketers who already have a wealth of options, which in such a rapidly changing industry can mean minimal concrete evidence for their effectiveness. Amy Rodgers, Managing Editor, Research & Rankings at WARC, says that the decision makers need a story to believe in, around how this new technology fits into the existing martech ecosystem, what the objectives are for onboarding the technology and how they fit into the wider marketing strategy, and finally how this is going to impact marketing effectiveness.
“Focusing on the long-term and not just short-term wins, and taking the time to really understand where the sticking points in onboarding a tool might be, and passing this onto the board, are often the influencing factors that separate success from failure,” states Rodgers.
There is a lot of talk about the concept of technocreativity, which has come to the fore recently as a result of the rise of consultancies and their subsequent purchase of creative agencies. Amy Rodgers says that the question needs to be “how can we use technology to amplify this creative idea?” and not “let’s buy this cool piece of tech and then work out how it fits into the creative strategy later.”
In the opinion of the Head of Insight & PR at Data & Marketing Association, Tim Bond, it’s by marrying creativity, data and technology that brands can develop truly innovative and successful ways to speak to customers. “Creativity is also increasingly a broad challenge, as there is creative brilliance in analytical understanding and technological execution that brands will need to make this future a reality”.
In terms of having technological partners for a wider consumer view, the WARC Managing Editor thinks that “to some extent agencies and brands do need to use technological partners, because they’d be falling behind their competitors if they didn’t, and tech can be a brilliant tool in housing consumer data and insights and then utilising them”. The better the data that’s loaded into these tools, the better the output, says Amy. “Most brands are some way from having a 360º view of their customers, so using technology to activate the data they do have can be a quick win if the understanding of the technology is there”.
The last CMO Survey (from August 2019) found that companies plan to shift marketing budgets and put more resources toward analytics. Since marketing leaders currently lack qualified candidates to use the power of data fully, are data scientists taking over marketing teams? For Amy Rodgers, if data scientists took over, the balance between data and creativity would be missing.
According to Tim Bond, the modern marketer must also be part data scientist, while the industry is also searching for data scientists that it can train to be part marketer too. “These skills are something every department and team should have even basic elements of, in order to benefit from the great upside that this insight could offer them,” states the Head of Insight.
The WARC Managing Editor comments that in a martech context, data is the fuel that powers the technology, and without that structured, clean fuel, campaigns can lose their way. “This is particularly true in today’s era of massive consumer choice and the resulting need for marketing experiences to be personal, contextual, and consistent throughout the customer journey”.
Amy adds that the volume of consumer choice also means there needs to be a differentiating factor, and that this often comes down to creativity in your marketing. “Data can’t come up with the creative idea that makes people sit up and listen to your message through the noise of thousands of others,” she states. With this, we return to what was said above: data on its own doesn't always sell itself. There needs to be a story...