MarTech Conference 2019: Top Takeaways

MarTech News & Trends|11 Minute Read

MarTech Conference 2019: Top Takeaways

MarTech Conference 2019 from Boston is in the books, but there were plenty of tactical takeaways for attendees to bring home to their organizations and implement in their marketing and CX strategies.

The acclaimed event brought thousands of digital marketing professionals from all over the globe together for three days of tech talks, ample networking, and (of course) vendor evaluation.

From in-depth analyses on what the modern martech stack should entail to intricate insights into what it takes to truly connect with customers on a human level, there were plenty of tips and tricks to help those at MarTech East (and their teams) advance their efforts long after it ended.

Miss this year’s edition of the MarTech Conference? We’ve got you covered. Discover the top trends, advice, and opinions shared at the latest iteration of Third Door Media’s esteemed event.

The best insights shared at MarTech Conference 2019

Data scientists, marketing operations specialists, CMOs: There was a wide array of wise and well-versed industry professionals who took to the stage at MarTech East 2019.

Here are several of the most insightful takeaways from a sampling of these speakers.

Scott Brinker on the “8 Ps of Self-Service Martech”

martech conference

You can have the best marketing tech in place, but without the right people to own and operate said tech, it’s just a fancy tool in your stack you can show off to senior leadership to say, “We’ve got this.”

Similarly, you can have the most experienced and innovative marketers who know how to get the most out of modern martech, but if you don’t have the ideal systems to operate at scale, their talents will go to waste.

Striking this delicate, but necessary balance — first-class marketers using first-class software — was the focus of MarTech Conference Chair Scott Brinker’s opening keynote of MarTech East 2019.

Should brands use an agile or waterfall approach to martech adoption? That’s the question Brinker posed to the audience. As he noted on his Chief Marketing Technologist blog, Brinker explained the answer often isn’t one or the other, but rather a blended approach based on unique business use cases.

Regardless of the approach taken by organizations today, Brinker noted there is one trend that’s dominated the martech landscape: the need for self-service solutions that enable marketers.

With that in mind, Brinker unveiled his “8 Ps of Self-Service MarTech”:

  • Technology: Platform (The Commons), Partitions (Modular Design), Permissioning (Governance), and Perception (Monitoring)
  • People: Permission (Empowerment), Preparation (Enablement), Principles (Guardrails), and Passion

By embracing these “P”s, Brinker noted marketers can ensure their brands are set up for success in the years ahead. The main factor to consider when broadening or consolidating one’s martech stack, though? “To integrate or not to integrate — that is the question.”

Building a martech eco-system (e.g., using select platforms vs. a “sea of certified apps”) will vary from organization to organization, Brinker relayed to the packed MarTech Conference crowd. But the one commonality among businesses of all kinds, he noted, is the need to achieve “martech maturity.”

Advancing from an embedded model (i.e., limited marketer capabilities; reliance on other teams) to an absorbed model (i.e. instant self-service; cross-organization ownership) is crucial for brands today.

MarTech Conference Takeaway: Today’s marketing teams need not only the right tools to succeed, but also ones they can own and operate independently to streamline efficiency and output.

Stephanie Hanson on data privacy law compliance

The marketing community already went through a comprehensive data privacy law compliance period when GDPR rolled out in 2018. That same process will come in handy for the CCPA and Nevada consumer protection measure, MarTech Conference speaker Stephanie Hanson noted.

Hanson, an expert on consumer data regulations, shared it’s critical for marketing professionals to leverage their experiences with the EU measure to ensure compliance with the U.S.-based laws.

“Consumers are starting to wake up, and we’re seeing it more and more in consumer behavior,” Hanson, a director for OneTrust, stated during her session. “They’re curious. They want to know, ‘What data do you have about me.’ So it’s important for us to think about part of our brand.”

Hanson added it’s vital for marketers and their executive teams to think carefully about how they communicate how their customers’ data responsibly to gain and maintain their trust.

“This whole concept of privacy can really be a competitive advantage for you, if you can embrace it, and you can really address it as part of your brand holistically,” Hanson relayed to MarTech Conference attendees.

The first step to compliance with the CCPA, Nevada law, and others that will come, per Hanson? A deep understanding of their impact on your brand and what’s required of everyone in your company to build a true consent management strategy that eases consumers’ concerns about their data use.

MarTech Conference Takeaway: Data regulation compliance is now a must, so embrace consent management as a core piece of your marketing strategy to ensure your organization is ready for existing and upcoming consumer privacy measures.

Matt LeMay on bringing agile to marketing teams

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Roughly 50% of marketing teams worldwide are looking to adopt agile by 2020, according to MarTech Conference speaker Matt LeMay, who opened his session with the intriguing stat.

“The big question I’ve had is, ‘Why is agile such a big deal?'” LeMay, author of Agile for Everybody, noted. “‘Why is marketing coming around and embracing agile in this huge way?'”

His answer? Because agile means “good” and “fast.” Whether you’re referring to product development, human resources, or marketing, agile is the simplistic way to say ‘better.’

Ultimately, LeMay expressed, it’s up to marketers to determine what agile means in a marketing context.

“I would suggest that the way we define what agile means to us as marketers is going to be the difference between agile being something that breaks down silos and bring us closer together across functions or … entrenches silos and brings us farther apart from each other,” said LeMay.

While agile has traditionally been focused on software developers and product specialists — departments with a sizable influence on sales — LeMay shared the increased implementation of agile for marketing today stems from a need to build a more customer-centric culture — one in which every team understands the “voice of the customer” and uses it as a guide to their day-to-day work.

“We can either bring agile to marketing … as we see fit, or we can bring marketing to agile,” said LeMay. “We can say, ‘If we believe in this movement … and delivering value to customers, marketing needs a seat at the table'” regarding major business decisions.

MarTech Conference Takeaway: There’s always room for operational efficiency improvement, but those improvements can be made far easier with the agile methodology in place.

Anita Brearton (and co.) on avoiding “random acts of martech”

Most enterprise brands have 50 or more marketing tools in their respective stacks nowadays, the “Avoiding Random Acts of Martech” panel shared at the 2019 MarTech Conference.

This substantial number of resources can lead to great efficiencies in these companies’ marketing efforts. But for many, tech tool quantity doesn’t always lead to marketing quality.

QuickBase Senior Manager Marketing Operations John Jagelsky, 6Sense Customer Success Manager Stacy Falkman, and Western Governors University Marketing Technology Manager Steve Petersen joined CabinetM Founder and CEO Anita Brearton during this example-driven session to share how they’ve organized and optimized their martech stacks to drive efficiency and output for their brands.

When developing a modern martech architecture, Falkman stated there are four key areas to consider:

  1. The primary function of a given marketing technology
  2. A tool’s alignment to lead management and demand generation
  3. The purpose of a specific platform (i.e., intended use cases)
  4. The scale of automation versus human intervention

Jagelsky honed in on the importance of today’s marketing teams to identify a single internal owner for every tool in their stacks so everyone knows who is responsible for each platform.

“I think it’s really important that you have that person who is responsible for the KPIs and the success of that tool and … driving accountability,” said Jagelsky. “That’s definitely … where I’ve fallen down in the past — where we’ve gotten the team all amped up and excited about a new tool coming into the stack. But then no one really owns that ongoing enablement and optimization of it, and it just falls down, and we lose our ROI pretty quickly.”

Petersen’s focus during the MarTech Conference session revolved around the ever-changing martech evaluation process. He detailed his own process, which included lengthy research of potential options based on specific use cases, followed by vendor outreach and pro-con assessments.

Eventually, Petersen shared he will narrow down their long list of martech options to 2-4 vendors, for whom his security and IT team will conduct a risk review. Once he pinpoints the platform in question he decides is best for his brand, he delivers the business case to the organizations’ partners, who will ultimately make the decision as to which solution they move forward with.

MarTech Conference Takeaway: Take a close, hard look at your current martech stack to ensure you only have the solutions you know are paramount to marketing success.

Charlene Li on how to become a disruption “victor”

martech conference

“Disruption” remains a marketing industry focus, many years after the buzzword began making the rounds in just about every industry and business model imaginable.

MarTech Conference keynote speaker Charlene Li discussed disruption from a different vantage point: how marketers, specifically, can disrupt their existing processes and protocols to become more customer-focused and, in turn, provide more relevant messaging to their niche audiences.

Li shared five distinct steps to focus on regarding customers that can lead to disruption “victory”:

  1. Place your customers in dashboards where you can see all of their activity in real time
  2. Spark curiosity about customers with empathy maps (i.e. what they says, do, think, and feel)
  3. Create a customer advisory board with to discover areas of improvement across the brand
  4. Define your future customer research so you hear actual customer stories, not hearsay
  5. Connect with your customer-obsessed people in your organization and leverage them

It’s the last step that can be aided by artificial intelligence, according to Li.

“We have technologies like artificial intelligence to be able to shift through all the noise, find the signal, and get that information to the right person at the right time so they can take action,” said Li.

To become a disruption “victor” (as opposed to a disruption “victim”), Li stated marketing professionals need to find out their “disruptive quotient”: a one-to-10 scale, with one meaning a person wants the status quo — no organization changes whatsoever — while someone with a score of 10 desires countless, constant changes company-wide to spark growth.

In other words, Li noted during her MarTech Conference talk people tend to have either have “stuck culture thinking” (“This is how it’s been done.”) or “flux culture thinking” (“This is how we can change.”).

Figuring out one’s quotient — and learning the quotients of others within one’s marketing team — can help them discern if they have the same vision and goals for the department and company.

MarTech Conference Takeaway: Disruption isn’t simply an ideal. You have the power to change your marketing for the better by acknowledging weak spots in your strategy.

Aaron Seitz and Sarah Desmarais on individualized marketing

martech conference

Personalization is pivotal to marketing success and isn’t going away anytime soon. Having said that, individualized marketing — delivering one-to-one experiences in real time based on a comprehensive and cross-channel understanding of the individual over time — is the next evolution.

So much so we decided to dedicate our MarTech Conference 2019 session to the topic — and brought along a couple BlueConic customers to share their success stories.

BlueConic SVP Cory Munchbach sat down with America’s Test Kitchen’s Sarah Desmarais and Franklin Sports’s Aaron Seitz to find out how they use our customer data platform (CDP) every day to augment their marketing strategies and deliver better customer experiences.

Seitz shared his brand’s use of BlueConic to unify its customer data sets and activate them in unique campaigns — like a recent contest he ran that was targeted to rich, high-value segments created in our CDP — and how creating a segment in BlueConic that can be activated across multiple marketing channels allows him to go in many different data-driven marketing directions without having to recreate the segment for each channel.

“You have this great data, and it all lives in one place,” said Seitz. “There’s only so many hours in the day and only so many people on the team — to kind of decide what levers to pull with that data and with that personalization … is top of mind.”

Desmarais, meanwhile, remarked how she spent ample time ensuring she was able to track everything she wanted to in our CDP from a first-party data perspective. Then, once they integrated all systems in her stack to BlueConic, it became easier to activate that data to meet marketing and business goals.

“Once you have that [audience] data available to you and you’re able to show you can make business decisions off of it … it is that much easier to have a compelling reason to continue on with that [data-driven approach],” said Desmarais.

MarTech Conference Takeaway: A single customer view based on unified customer profiles that update in real time via a CDP enable the next evolution of personalization — individualized marketing at scale.

Watch our entire MarTech Conference 2019 session with Seitz and Desmarais on evolving from personalization to individualized marketing to get even more insights.

individualized marketing

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