11 Compelling MarTech Predictions that Focus on the Data-Analytics Relationships in Marketing and Sales

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Data enrichment has finally become a marketing operation. Each year, we review tons of reports and e-books on how data is getting richer and managed better with Cloud and AIOps solutions. The biggest beneficiaries are Marketing and Sales teams, in addition to the thousands of business analysts and researchers who mine data to keep their marketing and sales efforts “well oiled”. This year, mostly due to the COVID-19 crisis, and economic slowdown due to the tense geopolitical reasons has been a challenging one — not just for marketing and sales, but for the entire enterprise setup.

Will 2021 be any different? 

Marketing and sales teams have grown a laser-focused appetite to transform their customer data management strategies. The COVID-19 lockdowns have provided the high-growth marketing and sales teams to mine new actionable insights from tons and tons of customer data sourced from various touchpoints and interactions across multiple media channels. In 2020, we have seen the unprecedented rise of CDPs for newer marketing and advertising channels, such as SMS marketing, audio and podcasts and social media. Email marketing and marketing automation tools for websites and forms continue to lead in investments and budgets.

To fully understand the nature of changing Marketing and Sales automation through the last six months and the upcoming New Year 2021, we invited a panel of martech and adtech leaders who have evangelized their ideas and insights for our readers. Today’s Martech predictions 2021 is built on the theme “Data Management and Analytics in Marketing and Sales.”

Below, we have gathered and published insights and opinions from the leading martech experts, which include:

  1. Bridget Perry, Chief Marketing Officer at Contentful
  2. Curtis Tingle, Executive SVP, Product, Valassis
  3. Bill Magnuson, co-founder and CEO, Braze
  4. Sara Spivey, CMO, Braze
  5. Corinne Demandis, VP, US East, Smartly.io
  6. Abhay Singhal, co-founder and CEO, InMobi Marketing Cloud
  7. George Corugedo, Chief Tech Officer and Co-Founder, Redpoint Global
  8. Dan Lowden, Chief Marketing Officer, White Ops
  9. Steve Munachen, Global Head of Marketing, PUSH
  10. Louis Jonckheere, Chief Product Officer at Showpad
  11. Tara Kelly, President & CEO of SPLICE Software

Master Digital Innovation with Customer Data and Business Intelligence

Bridget Perry, Chief Marketing Officer at Contentful

Bridget has decades of experience leading marketing at established and early-stage technology companies. She has compiled a few thoughts on both the digital innovation gap, and builder ethos. I pasted a few below for easy reference:

“We’ve found a digital innovation gap between what customers demand and what brands are currently capable of delivering. That’s why digital leaders across industries tell us they plan to spend on average 25% more on digital in 2021. And 25% is just the average — some plan to spend significantly more. CMOs who aren’t scaling up their digital spending will soon be outpaced by competitors.

Marketing is once again experiencing digital disruption. In 2021, we’ll see more teams working together across different disciplines and functions and forming digital teams or factories in order to build, launch and iterate digital experiences. These marketing teams are far more agile — rather than just passing a ball across a chasm, these smaller groups of specialists can build better, faster, together. This will quickly become the new normal for digital-first businesses to adapt, survive and thrive in a post-COVID world.”

Continue to Make Hay with Omnichannel Messaging 

Curtis Tingle, Executive SVP, Product, Valassis

Consumers found a new affinity for the post office and direct mail engagements. Print media plays a prominent role in engaging consumers whether they are shopping online or in-store. It is a vital part of a brand’s omnichannel approach and with people spending more time at home, it provides marketers a way to spur discovery and make a connection. Valassis’ findings show that compared to before the pandemic, 37% of consumers are more excited to receive their mail each day and 30% are spending more time reading marketing and promotions that arrive in their mailbox.

Don’t Slow Down on your Adoption of Martech Tools and Solutions

Bill Magnuson, co-founder and CEO, Braze

Marketing technology will continue its progression through digital transformation of business: We’ve seen it with our own customers – demand for marketing technology is not slowing down, and in many ways, it’s accelerating. The core function of marketing technology is to connect brands directly with their own customers and enable them to own that relationship. The pandemic and corresponding macroeconomic conditions have surely expedited this shift. From an M&A point of view, we will also see consolidation momentum continue, as evidenced by two acquisitions in the last month – Twilio’s acquisition of Segment for $3.2B and CM Group’s acquisition of Selligent Marketing Cloud.

Customer Loyalty- The Ever-green Answer to Any Pandemic Crisis in Future

Sara Spivey, CMO, Braze

Unwavering brand values is key to driving customer loyalty. Consumer decision making has changed as customers’ desire to open their wallets to brands and companies that share their social, political and moral values continues to grow. Braze data found that a quarter of consumers said that they would drop a brand if they were polluting the environment and almost 20% said they would do the same if the brand took a political stance they disagree with. In the midst of a pandemic and the aftermath of an election, this has never become more apparent.

Authenticity will be a major differentiator for brands moving forward, and we will continue to see brands move in two, and potentially opposite, directions: 1. take strong social and political stances; or 2. publicly announce their intentions to be apolitical, similar to what Coinbase recently did. For the former, demonstrating brand values through action will be paramount as 2020 has set the foundation for brand activism. For the latter, ensuring that your company values are consistent with this approach will be crucial to a company’s success.

No matter which direction brands take, it’s important they stay committed to their decision, communicate clearly to their employees, and understand the potential risks, as well as gains, to customer retention.

Influencer Marketing and the Power of Product Recommendations

Corinne Demandis, VP, US East, Smartly.io

Influencer marketing – the world’s greatest lookalike audience – is a very effective tactic. Consumers tend to follow influencers they can relate to, and as a result, trust their product recommendations. It’s the ultimate use of FOMO (fear of missing out) to market products. That said, influencer marketing is still relatively new. Every year, the channel gets progressively more crowded, becoming difficult to discern which influencers are using products because they truly love them and which are “using” products because they are getting paid. Influencer marketing will continue to grow in 2021, but brands will need to work hard to ensure they are building trust with influencers and consumers alike. This entails being extremely mindful of which influencers they are marketing through, how many, and with what content.

CMOs!!! Build a Multi-Pronged Marketing Strategy to Avoid Abrupt Stops During a Challenging Year

Abhay Singhal, co-founder and CEO, InMobi Marketing Cloud

Recent privacy regulations have given license for walled gardens to raise their walls even higher. This is an extremely uncertain period of time, and CMOs shouldn’t have one roadmap – they should have multiple.

For starters, marketing teams will need to be prepared to make the case for why consumers should opt in to data sharing within the app.

On the flip side, marketers should also be prepared to potentially not have access to that data and will need to find alternative solutions or tactics to create as much of a consistent ID as possible. Without this, advertisers are at risk of presenting the same ads to consumers over and over, which compromises brand image and user experience. Having contingency plans for both scenarios will be critical, and marketers need to start setting expectations and redefining metrics as soon as possible.

Re-examine your CX Strategy 

George Corugedo, Chief Tech Officer and Co-Founder, Redpoint Global

Brands will place a greater focus on AI scalability, data foundation to drive customer experiences.

While most businesses are on their way to delivering effective 1:1 customer experiences with the use of AI, they are not fully there yet. I anticipate that it won’t be until 2022 that companies move beyond pilot projects and truly start to scale their machine learning initiatives across the enterprise.

That is not to say, though, that businesses will not use AI technology to start to improve marketing strategies and CX in the new year. On the contrary, in fact. In order to utilize machine learning models most effectively, I anticipate a greater emphasis put on the enterprise data foundation. Businesses in 2021 will realize the importance of having a comprehensive, accurate and consistent view of consumer data in order to meet individuals with the information they need when they need it.

To achieve this, businesses will be forced to reexamine their CX strategy and back it with analytical reporting to better meet customer expectations. This analysis will also be the jumping-off point to help businesses scale AI and machine learning across the enterprise in following year – enabling even citizen modelers to build and deploy models with little skill.

Data Privacy, Compliance and Fighting Bots

Dan Lowden, Chief Marketing Officer, White Ops

In 2021, marketing leaders will be able to confidently verify engagement with real humans as they increasingly become more aware of how sophisticated bots and fraud are infiltrating their marketing spend. Marketers will partner with specialists that can help them accurately gauge if their campaigns are targeting real humans – resulting in better customer experience, ensuring higher engagement, bringing visibility to cleaner data, improving the company’s compliance position and driving stronger ROI across marketing campaigns.

Marketers will be given a more critical seat at the executive table because of these insights and actions that help grow the business while ensuring every marketing dollar is effectively spent.

Leverage Virtual Events Data

Steve Munachen, Global Head of Marketing, PUSH

2021 Will Be the Year of Hybrid Events

“In-person live events will likely come back next year, but it will also be heavily complemented by a multi-platform streaming approach. Throughout 2020, artists, many who rarely engaged in online events before, have realized that to truly build their fanbases and increase engagement they must go and interact with where they fans reside, whether it be YouTube, Twitter, Twitch or Instagram. By taking advantage of the attributes of each platform – Instagram for short videos and Twitch and YouTube for long-form content – artists can build better, stronger connections through curated content and engage with more people than just those that can attend an in-person event. The artists, brands and rights holders who quickly adapt to the new paradigm, will be the ones that succeed in the long run.”

Brands Will Look to Sponsorships, Not Ads

“Brands are looking for more unique opportunities in sponsoring content and events in 2021 as they can better measure results and ROI compared to more traditional online ads. Despite what many will say, ads still don’t accurately reach your target audience. However, since content, whether it be scripted programming or a concert, interests are much more specific, the demographics can be more easily discerned, leading to better message penetration to your target market. We can already see the early stages of this trend in the high production end with a Verizon sponsored documentary about their 5G initiatives which debuted on Amazon Prime and Peacock this year.”

Augmented Reality Technology Is the Answer to the Modern Seller’s Prayers

Louis Jonckheere, Chief Product Officer at Showpad

“Sales enablement – the act of providing salespeople with the content, tools, knowledge, skills and coaching required to optimize buyer interactions – presents an ideal way for marketing leaders to meet the demands of their jobs. Not only must CMOs make sure content and campaigns are quickly updated in the face of this new reality, but they must also do so while ensuring individual marketers working from home stay organized and on task.”

Augmented reality technology is the answer to the modern seller’s prayers. It provides an experience where buyers can see exactly what they’re getting in a matter of seconds (even while sitting at home in their PJs) helping brands stand out during an era where deals are stalled and sales are dwindling.

 

Source: Showpad via Walkersands PR
Source: Showpad via Walkersands PR

In fact, spending on AR is expected to reach $60B this year. For example, in sectors like manufacturing and construction, AR can be used to display complicated machinery to prospects, helping them envision how the product may interact in their warehouses or showrooms. Or in real estate, it can be used to show apartments or homes to potential buyers.’

Seeing the World Through the Customer’s Lens

Tara Kelly, President & CEO of SPLICE Software

“There’s reason to be optimistic about the year ahead. Recent news about the successful Pfizer vaccine trial has many people dreaming about a return to a pre-pandemic normal. But it’s important to understand that our shared experience over the past several months has changed our outlook in profound ways that are likely to outlast the pandemic.

For brands that want to deliver the best possible customer experience, applying the right Marketing technology remains essential, but understanding the trends that are driving changes in consumer perspectives is also key. In the year ahead, the challenge will be to center campaigns on where and how we live now, taking into account the many shifts we’ve made this year that will be with us forever.”

[To feature your insights and predictions at MarTech Series, please write to us at sghosh@martechseries.com]

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