If there was one main thing that I have learned so far in my short marketing career (going on 5 years) its that marketers love to talk about marketing! That's not a bad thing. But my inbox is constantly getting invites to different events that I MUST attend or the FOMO will set in. I can only imagine being a marketing professional for 15, 20 , or 30 years and seeing the growth of the career path we call Marketing. Marketers are constantly trying to get smarter. To learn more about what new technology, strategies, or who is leading the pack by reaching their target audience most effectively. Of course, this results in information overload. A marketer today has to be selective in which events they attend because eventually we have to put to use all the information we are gathering! Out of the conferences, marketing forums, and webinars I have attended in 2018 there has been one so far that has really stood out. I was very impressed by the Marketing Technology Summit that I attended back at the end of January at Bentley University. This conference was hosted by Nedma, a direct marketing association that provides "information, guidance and tools you need to implement your strategies throughout every medium and channel".
There are many different technologies today that marketers take advantage of and at times take for granted. In order to focus attention Nedma suggests you need to become a "marketing engineer". Learning the platforms and technologies that drive your programs and success. This includes CRM, marketing automation, mobile, analytics, and other technologies that power your programs and drive ROI!
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is something that is very interesting to me but also way over my head. I believe a lot of people at the conference might have felt this way. John Landry, Managing Director Lead Dog Ventures (at left) in his presentation, “Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning - This Time It’s for Real… and It Will Change Everything!”, spoke on how AI has been around and used for a long time. The ways in which it is used and the planning on what it can become is described by John as platform shifts throughout time. The integration of AI is becoming more prevalent and John even went as far to say that tech startups may find it hard to receive investment without any AI present in their future plan. Christine Farrier, Sr. Manager Demand Base (seen below) also spoke on AI and how it can optimize the buyer journey in her presentation "ABM and AI – How Artificial Intelligence Can Enhance your ABM Strategy". AI can help marketers uncover intent and stay away from "analysis paralysis". AI coupled with ABM can bring back the focus of who is likely to buy from us. While AI requires massive amounts of data, Christine explains that when used appropriately it can turn insights into action.
Ultimately this can lead to what all marketers are searching for -- a "high five" from the sales team, sooner rather than later.
Another common theme was that marketing is not a one-and-done activity. To the contrary, Harry Gold, Founder and CEO of Overdrive Interactive (seen below) shared the idea of "And Then What" in his presentation, "Become a Marketing Engineer". This is a concept that many people may say is so obvious yet everyone is guilty of forgetting to follow up. While this may seem like a sales technique, marketers can absolutely benefit from the idea. Marketers and sales have to think "what is the next step in escalating a prospect through the sales process". Harry also spoke on marketing arranging a customer journey and at that a "data journey". Marketers can in fact be looked at as sales people in their own way because marketers are really "selling conversations with salespeople". Marketers also need to optimize websites, present videos/links, and track visitor interaction with tools such as google analytics. Marketers need to funnel these prospects effectively and as quickly as possible to sales.
In fact, Harry brings up the point that calling someone within 5 minutes is 21x more effective than calling after 30 minutes. Sales also needs to MAKE THE CALL because less than 5% are calling within 5 minutes.
How can analytics be used effectively to help sales gain prospects? Chris Requena, VP Of Business Development at Mobinett Interactive, in his presentation, "5 Digital Marketing Analytics Trends to Prepare for in 2018", describes using AI and large data sets to make decisions. You also need to be trusting data to determine your course of action. Many are not interpreting the data correctly after they collect all of it to arrive at one version of the truth. This will allow marketers to in part automate the decision-making process that will lead to making more accurate predictions with your analytics. Jeff Selig, VP of Earned Media and Analytics at Overdrive Interactive later went into an in-depth look at how google analytics can be used to enhance the marketing and sales experience in his presentation, "Getting to Know Your Metrics". He shared that marketers need to look at more than just one report in order to truly understand the data that is coming from their websites. This requires manipulation of reports that will accurately portray the information that marketers are looking for. Jeff also detailed the importance of using annotation to pinpoint where and why traffic went up and down. A good example for this is if you sent out an email blast, had an event at your headquarters, or recently released a direct mail campaign that directs readers to a landing page or company website. You can also look at the time that is spent on the website and use these tools to optimize your site and increase interaction which will in turn lead to more time on your site.
There was a magnitude of information and strategies gained from this conference which was great. Each individual, team, and organization must take the lessons learned from one of these events and apply what makes sense to their business model. That being said it is clear that AI, data, and overall marketing strategy is not going away but rather it is growing at an alarming rate. Marketers need to take advantage of the different technological advancements at their disposal today. Embracing technology and not straying away from it, can ultimately lead to the end goal of increased sales and strong brand recognition.
Speaking of events, Universal Wilde is hosting our second 2018 Innovation Event on Thursday, May 10th here at our headquarters in Westwood, MA. The theme is Power Up: Energize your communications strategies with the latest print innovations. Feel free to bring a colleague!
Register now to get smart tips and techniques from experts in print and data technology. Top digital print consultant Marco Boer, VP, I.T. Strategies will present Print Innovations in the fast-spinning world of communications. Christopher Armstrong, Operations Executive, Universal Wilde will follow Marco with his presentation How to get significant savings with smart postage optimization.