4 Takeaways from MarTech Boston (in 4 minutes)
The 2017 MarTech Boston conference provided great insights into the present state of martech, as well as its ever-evolving future. Scott Brinker, the Program Chair for this year’s event did an amazing job curating an enviable group of experts, who shared their experiences and ideas for addressing issues impacting the three primary areas of martech: marketing, technology and management. If you missed the event, you can watch speaker presentations here, or check out the four things that I took away from the conference:
1: Marketing Automation is no longer the center of the universe
It seems like only yesterday, marketing conferences were dominated by marketing automation (MA). Major MA players were title sponsors and breakout sessions were filled with marketers across every industry discussing how MA had enabled them to make magic happen. Having been in the MA space for 14 years, I can say with confidence that those days are over. In fact, they’re so over, some of the leading MA icons were conspicuously absent from the Boston conference. Evidence of this shift was readily seen in the San Francisco MarTech “Stackie” awards, where countless customer martech stacks featured MA as merely one of 20+ marketing technologies they see as critical to their success. Nowadays, multiple software solutions exist for each marketing discipline, a development that is vastly different from the way things were just a few years ago.
2: AI is growing quickly
It’s no surprise that the theme of AI (AKA machine learning) was prevalent throughout the event, from Marketo discussing their acquisition of Motion.ai, to the breakout sessions in which nearly every vendor discussed how AI is helping drive new functionality within their products. In short, AI is everywhere and is easily seen in tech such as chat bots, recommendation engines, campaign automation and predictive analytics. Most marketers are already leveraging AI in some form or fashion, and there’s a clear mandate that almost every product will begin adding new features that leverage AI if they plan to stick around.
3: Blockchain is coming.
Blockchain is poised to be the next big thing in marketing. Originally developed for Bitcoin, blockchain is a technology that enables data to be distributed, but not copied, and that’s a capability with endless applications. Perhaps, the most promising thing about blockchain for the marketing community is the level of control and security it provides to customers, and in an era when giving more power to customers is the difference between success and failure, it’s easy to see why blockchain is kind of a big deal.
To learn more about why blockchain technology is rising to the forefront of marketing and ecommerce, check out MarTech Today’s article, What’s a blockchain? And how could it change marketing & advertising? I also recommend following two leading blockchain experts, who spoke at the conference: Travis Wright and Jeremy Epstein.
4: Integration is going to be everything
There are now 5,000+ marketing technologies and the average marketer employs approximately 20 to 30 of these technologies in their stack. Given the variety of options, one of the most critical paths for long-term success is how efficiently companies use these technologies to drive results, which is largely dependent on how well these tools are able to connect and play well with each other.
Modern martech integration requires smarter connections that are well beyond the basic data transfer connections of yesterday. The big question to ask yourself is whether or not your martech tools are able to work together seamlessly in delivering your marketing initiatives. Now that MA is no longer the center of the universe, it appears that integration solutions that can manage the complexity of multiple martech connections are poised to become a critical part of everyone’s marketing success.