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Martech-Enabled Integrated Marketing: We’re on the Brink of Change – But What Do We Do Right Now?

What marketers had to share at MarTech East

Today’s marketing world is inherently digital, increasingly data-driven and inexplicably complicated. Marketers are also challenged by siloed organizations and the pressure to be both strategically savvy and exceptional at execution across countless disciplines. And that’s before mentioning the need to leverage new technologies with a strong push toward integration. It’s a tall order! (Especially while you keep being asked, “But how are you delivering ROI?” 😉)

I recently attended the MarTech East conference in Boston, and these challenges, and many more, were front and center. On Day 1, I attended the customer experience workshop (shout-out to Jeff Cram and Dave Wieneke for an awesome curriculum and some amazing collaboration!). Honestly, every session throughout the three days felt like half learning and half therapy.

The biggest MarTech East lessons I walked away with:

As marketers, we have to get more technicalAs the industry evolves, so also must we. And as much as we may want to stay in the realm where we’re comfortable,  we must dig in to digital channels and marketing technology and “just do .” You can’t understand how something works until you take it apart, right?

SEO is critical. And it’s everyone’s responsibility. “SEO teams control NONE of the levers needed to improve SEO.” That was a quote from Jessica Bowman of SEO in House, who talked about how SEO is unlike any other discipline. It influences multiple areas of marketing, and to pull it off, it takes everyone in the organization contributing. But most teams are often unclear how and when to work with the SEO team, or are inadvertently inhibiting the impact of SEO by their own lack of experience and knowledge.

However, this makes for some awesome opportunities! Like bringing SEO experts for help incorporating in editorial workflows, for annual strategic planning (or as needed) and for providing training to employees.

Customer data platforms (CDPs) and data management platforms (DMPs) aren’t going anywhere – but they’ll likely consolidate, integrate or evolve. The data deluge has hit, and as marketers, we are awash. But what is the best way to consolidate and manage all of that data to start gleaning actionable insights? Enter CDPs and DMPs. This martech discussion was prevalent at MarTech East, including the use case sessions. The usefulness of this martech was undeniable, but all examples came with a cautionary tale. That being to shrewdly vet options for the right platform for you and have a strong knowledge of what they can and can’t do. B2B marketers should also be sure to gain a basic understanding of and keep a close eye on these tools.

Buyer journey mapping and alignment to the customer journey is the new normal. Customer information + marketing automation (should) = improved audience segmentation and personalization. It was inevitable that the stars would align when our tireless pursuit to better support the customer experience was handed these new tools. And guess what – it’s time to start mapping marketing to the buyer’s journey.

It’s a buzzword-y approach to wrap your arms around, and there are countless ways to think about supporting your customers through their purchase experience. First, think about the buyer’s journey both as a lens through which to evaluate your 360-customer experience. Second, use that as a systematic methodology with which to define your workflows, data needs, content development, integration opportunities and martech stack. Ultimately, this is the new framework with which to think about your digitally-supported customer marketing.

The challenges are real, and they are persistent. But it’s worth it to do the hard work. Push through the resistance within organizations and you’ll emerge with the integrated tech stacks and marketing programs much better aligned to customers. And that means a unique edge over your competition in the market.

At the end of the day, one of the best things I’m taking away from my time at the conference is that we are not alone. We have an incredible opportunity to help each other learn and figure it all out. We hold the future of the marketing industry in our hands. It’ll continue to be a wild ride ahead, but if we put our heads together and do the work, the transformation will be pretty incredible.

If you were at MarTech East or just want to continue the conversation, I’d love to hear from you on LinkedIn. Our team would also be eager to hear your thoughts via our OMS social channels – give us a follow and say hello via Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn!

Author: Stephanie Manola, Account Director, Outlook Marketing Services

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