2020 Martech Trends: Expert Advice for Modern Marketers
“I’m using my martech to its full capacity,” said no marketer ever.
It’s not for lack of trying. It’s just that there is so much martech, so much potential, and so little time. The average marketing team has nearly 100 martech tools, but a large portion of these tools are underused, with 39 percent not used at all.
That being said, it’s no surprise the hottest trends in martech are focused on improving martech effectiveness, increasing return on investment, and building customer trust and loyalty. We uncovered seven trends to help you achieve these martech resolutions and cultivate stronger connections through personalization, omnichannel marketing, data integration, and identity resolution.
#1. Look Deeper than Traditional Demographics for Smarter Personalization
People don’t always act their age—or even their shoe size. Individuals’ interests often have very little to do with how long they’ve been alive, their zip code, or the bullet points on their resume.
“You no longer can say that everybody from 18 to 35 is going to like this or they’re going to react like this,” says Marsha Collier, president of The Collier Company, in a recent interview. You have Gen X doing some things that Gen Z is doing. You have Boomers who love shopping online.”
The need for more sophisticated segmentation is echoed by Russel Wagner, head of marketing operations for Kia Motors America, when discussing Mazda’s shift in targeting strategies. “Our target customers are not defined by demographics, but rather by psychographic,” he said. “We just need to find them. Our key challenge today is how to connect our products to an experience—an emotional value.”
#2. Activate Your Data for More Relevant Marketing
Marsha believes the answer to better customer connections is making full use of your customer data. “If you want to reach your customer, you really have to listen to the data, see who it is that’s shopping with you,” she said. “Who is your customer? And what are their interests? It’s no longer a matter of age, it’s a matter of interests and what people are doing.”
Sarah Evans, founder and CEO of Sevans Strategy, puts it succinctly: “The most valuable ‘currency’ we have right now is data.”
According to Sarah, data offers exciting opportunities to identify missteps in the brand life cycles, create seamless offline and online experiences, stay on top of trends and breaking news, analyze the effectiveness of strategies, and more.
#3. Find the Right Partner for Personalization
“Your customers’ behavior provides amazing information about what’s most important in their journey,” says Tim Peter, founder and president of Tim Peter & Associates.
But your personalization efforts won’t go far without the right data—or the right martech. A customer data platform (CDP) helps improve segmentation, create rewarding and real-time omnichannel experiences for customers, improve retention, and identify new revenue streams.
“Look for vendors that integrate data into their personalization algorithms automatically to reduce your upfront costs and time-to-market,” Tim says. “That’s the best approach I’ve seen and one that produces measurable results right away for most businesses.”
#4. Strategically Deploy Martech
Adopting new martech is not for the faint of heart, but the right planning goes a long way toward ensuring a smooth and valuable transition.
For Laura Patterson, president of Vision Edge Marketing, successful martech integration comes down to two things. First, an implementation plan that includes, at a minimum, key milestones, success factors, and ownership. Second, a post-implementation plan detailing how the martech will be adopted and deployed throughout the organization.
“After investing in the technology, you’ll be tempted to start your implementation right away,” Laura says. “Resist the urge—do not start your implementation until you have both plans completed.”
#5. Respect Customer Privacy to Encourage Data Sharing
While consumers are aware that companies collect their data, most would like more control over its use. The question is: How can a company balance the need for customer data with consumers’ desire for privacy?
David Raab, the founder of the CDP Institute, shared his thoughts on the matter. “Customers should be presented with short, understandable explanations of what data is captured, how it’s used, and with whom it is shared. Ideally they’d have choices about how much sharing and which uses are permitted.”
It may seem like this approach would result in an avalanche of opt-outs, but that’s not the case.
“While some marketers are concerned that most consumers will pick the most restrictive choice, that won’t necessarily happen if the choices are phrased to emphasize the value received from broader sharing,” David says. “Users will also be reassured if you make clear how they can review, correct, and delete the data you have about them.”
#6. Create a Single Version of Truth for Consistent Reporting
“What many marketers struggle with isn’t so much the integration as identifying a ‘single version of the truth,’” says Tom Pick, independent B2B digital marketing consultant at Webbiquity.
With the explosion of online channels comes unexpected differences in captured data. One of the most obvious examples of data discord is in website analytics.
“For example, how many website visits did your site get from Twitter last month?” Tom asked during a conversation with Treasure Data. “It’s entirely possible that HubSpot, Google Analytics, and your social media monitoring tool will give you three different answers.”
While there are reasonable explanations for differences in website analytics, it can leave marketers wondering which data should be used for reporting. “The most native source is generally the best to use, but when that isn’t possible, just pick one and be consistent with it,” Tom advises.
#7. Validate Data to Ensure Accuracy and Relevancy
A CDP cleanses and enriches customer data to create unified profiles. However, you can’t just set it and forget it—at least not forever. As marketing channels and business strategies evolve, marketers should take time to adjust the inputs and outputs related to the data management process.
Robert Burns, managing partner and digital marketing strategist of gnooko digital, provided the list of questions below to help you assess if you should reevaluate your data.
1: When was the last time you reviewed and validated your data sources, systems and outputs, and the information and insights from that data?
2: How accurate can you say they are in supporting your overall company’s objectives?
3: Can you say with a high level of confidence that all lines of business that impact your company’s objectives are represented in the data?
4: Is the data accurate and up to date, and how do you know?
5: When was the last time you audited and validated your data sources with company stakeholders to ensure your data is accurate?
In conclusion, Robert says, “Data validation should be an ongoing activity that includes your stakeholders, lines of business requirements, and metrics.”
Now Trending: Better Customer Data
Improving customer acquisition and loyalty requires better use of data. Many marketers are turning to customer data platforms to reveal deep insights for better personalization, omnichannel marketing, data integration, and identity resolution.
If you’re ready to make better connections with your customers, start by requesting a demo of our enterprise CDP.