With fall events planning in full swing, now is the time for marketers to reflect on the many keynotes and overarching themes that they absorbed over the 2018 spring events season. Marketing buzzwords like “martech stack,” “customer data,” and “martech ROI” were in abundance at the season’s best conferences including Marketo Summit, SiriusDecisions Summit and MarTech West, leaving many to wonder, “How do I implement the things that will move the needle most for my business this year?”
After the whirlwind of events, it can be hard to pick out specific learnings to implement in the ever-changing martech world. Below are a few of the most important takeaways that can guide any marketing team to their version of success for the remainder of 2018 and beyond.
Lesson #1: GDPR is affecting almost everything about the industry at large
GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) is quickly becoming the four-letter word of marketers everywhere, and for good reason. GDPR went live on May 25, 2018 and we will soon start to see the longer-term effects of the legislation, and may also witness other countries follow suit with localized data privacy regulations.
GDPR was of particular focus at MarTech West, where speakers highlighted its utility as a tool to speak to people who are actually interested in hearing what you have to say. Taking that into consideration, the regulation may actually improve customer experience as those who “opt-in” to your company’s correspondences mark themselves as qualified, genuinely interested leads.
While the ultimate outcome of GDPR remains to be seen, U.S. marketers need to have a clear strategy on how to continue to capture relevant and personalized data on customers and prospects, all while playing by the rules of a continuously changing game.
Lesson #2: AI is coming, but implementation takes some know-how
Talk of artificial intelligence (AI) reigned supreme during event sessions. It’s no secret that AI could make our jobs easier, but not without smart implementation of the technology. Marketers must carefully consider how they implement automation, including AI, to improve efficiency while maintaining accuracy and personal connection.
One way in which AI is proving transformational is in the translation of unstructured data collected at events into actionable insights. For example, a given attendee’s behaviors at an event, with the help of artificial intelligence, can now be easily linked with his or her likelihood of purchasing a product or service in the future. AI can also help with execution, tailoring follow-up communications to coincide with the attendee’s likes, dislikes and current stage in the customer journey.
“Encouraging interactions among attendees has always been important and technology now makes it much more possible,” says David Raab, principal of Raab Associates Inc. & CEO of the CDP Institute. And he’s right: AI’s proliferation into the marketing industry was inevitable, and use is becoming more widespread by the day. But being able to see through the hype to find applicable, appropriate AI solutions for your business will help your team run more efficiently than ever.
Lesson #3: Attribution Remains King
At Marketo Summit 2018, panels placed a special emphasis on a common pain point of customer relationship management (CRM), being that platforms often record what people say they do, but not what they actually do. This notion of attribution needs to remain top of mind as more and more marketing processes become automated.
Differentiating between what event attendees say they’ll do and what they actually end up doing allows marketers to use targeted data to better engage with attendees pre-event, during the event, and post-event. When done correctly, accurate attribution can be the difference between a cold sales lead and a deal worth millions.
This year’s major spring marketing events offered many things to attendees, like exciting keynotes from marquee names and chances to travel to fun destinations all in the name of business. But we as marketers must now work to implement the lessons offered at these conferences to further our business objectives. Following the roadmap laid out above will help marketers round out the second half of 2018 on a strong note and implement foundational ongoing strategies.