4 Key Take-Aways from MarTech 2015

Posted by WhatRunsWhere on April 8, 2015
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Last week WhatRunsWhere was happy to be one of the 67 exhibitors at MarTech in San Francisco. We were absolutely at home at the conference which unites our passion for technology and marketing.

martech1Jordan, our Account Executive, happy to talk competitive intelligence for online display advertising.

MarTech 2015 witnessed twice the number of vendors since last year with over 1,800 companies in attendance, compared to only 947 in 2014. Such rapid growth in the marketing technology landscape indicates major shifts in the marketing world. Marketing is evolving and is now being driven by technology in an era where BIG DATA informs every decision. With 29 senior level speakers from nearly 30 companies, including Coca-Cola, Netflix, Dell, and LinkedIn just to name a few, there was plenty to learn.

So what does this budding partnership between marketing and technology mean for companies and advertisers? We’ve summarised 4 key take-aways from MarTech San Francisco 2015:

1. Marketing technology’s exponential growth is reshaping how we market.
As technology and marketing’s co-dependent relationship grows more intertwined, a new influx of multi-billion dollar martech companies will arise. There is so much growth happening that by 2018, the international marketing software industry is estimated to be worth well over $32 billion. In 2014 it was worth just over $20 billion.


Scott Brinker, Chair of MarTech Conference, Ion Interactive CTO & Co-Founder, and author of the Chief Marketing Technologist blog, likened this blossoming growth to a “spring-time” in the industry. Technology’s swift conquest of marketing has resulted in “every company [becoming] a software company,” as Cynthia Gumber, VP, Marketing Technology & Demand Analytics of CA Technologies, put it.

Competitive intelligence tools like WhatRunsWhere, for example, is one of those key marketing technologies that enables senior marketers to make smart decisions that drives real results. No matter how you slice it, marketing and technology is uniting to redefine how we plan and execute marketing strategies.

landscapeAn overview of the marketing technology landscape, 2015.

 2. Think like a storyteller and an engineer. In our data and process driven world creativity may be what sets chief marketers apart from the rest of the pack. Modern marketing is informed by data and analytics. Technology has enabled us to uncover granular consumer behavioral insights that drives effective strategic changes. This is great. It’s even better for the technically savvy and analytically minded who can easily interpret this type of data.

cocacolaCoca-cola’s ability to launch and unite international, multi-channel campaigns
through great storytelling was lauded at MarTech.

But as Gerry Murray, research manager at IDC, points out, like in any age of rapid technological innovations this will eventually dwindle. At one point, everyone will have access to the same technology. So how do you overcome this wall? Think creatively and practice the art of storytelling. For Murray, technological innovations can only do so much for us – real success comes from being able to use technology creative ways to tackle new and old problems.

3. Marketing has entered the Age of the Customer – and customer experience is everything. Change is underway with regards to how we approach marketing in the digital and technological age. Marketing is no longer about getting consumers to picture the brand’s narrative, but rather to experience it instead. The user experience is wholly immersed across a multitude of channels from websites to apps, social media and email and more.

Jeff Cram, Co-founder of ISITE Design, compares the customer’s experience journey to a solar system of rotating decision points and influencing elements that inspires brand loyalty, connection, and ultimately acquisition of products and services. At the center of this system is the consumer. According to Cram, digital can no longer be “a word that divides.” Instead “strategy, design, technology, and culture must be connected across insight and execution” so that brands deliver significant consumer experiences.


In other words, the connection of systems and channels that work towards winning deliverables which connect the business and customer’s experiences must overlap. More importantly, it must include a valuable digital experience.

For Jill Rowley, Founder and Chief Evangelist at #SocialSelling, who discussed how to make the most of social selling – not to be mistaken with social media – today’s consumers are a different breed. They’re constantly on-the-go, highly social, always digitally connected, and are empowered, that is, they demand more accountability from brands. Building consumer trust and understanding the value of peer-to-peer selling is valuable to marketers. This means understanding the consumer’s perspective is imperative.

A cohesive brand message, tailored to each channel, is therefore paramount for marketers in the digital age – always with the consumer in mind. Even more so, knowing how your competitors are addressing the same target audience as you is key to winning back a larger share of the engagement pie.

4. Embrace the change! Patrick Spenner, the Managing Director of CEB, gave an interesting talk about the necessary change in attitude companies must take up to “unlock martech potential.” Modern consumers are digitally savvy and marketers much match this. To ensure this gap is closed, he recommends companies increase their investments in martechs, look for digitally smart talent, create an in-house digital ‘lab’, and embrace the culture of technology.

tonyralph        Tony Ralph, Director of Ad Technology, at Netflix speaking at MarTech on building in-house
       programmatic systems.

Aetna, a healthcare insurance provider, and movie streaming service powerhouse, Netflix, are two examples of companies that really embraced martech changes. According to the Director of Ad Technology at Netflix, Tony Ralph, the company ultimately opted to build their own programmatic platform rather than outsourcing this to reduce inefficiencies and gain more control.

Joseph Kurian, Head of Marketing Technology & Innovation at Aetna, discussed how Aetna built a martech-centric company structure. At Aetna, maketing technology is fully integrated across the entire corporate structure: it encompasses the marketing stack and strategy, IT, innovative plans, and more. Marketing technologies, like WhatRunsWhere, that ensures you’re aware of what your competition is doing is also important within this plan. Marketing’s continued transformation demands increased collaboration between teams, and a more holistic approach to planning and decision making.

If we’ve learned anything from MarTech Conference 2015, it’s that companies must more effectively integrate relevant technology into their overall marketing and corporate strategies, or risk falling behind. The spread of marketing technologies is inevitable.

For marketers, the sheer scope and diverse array of innovative technologies available today might foster fear – there seems to be a new innovator every day adding to the landscape or trying to shake it up. The number of technologies found in a marketer’s arsenal, the “marketing stack”, is becoming overwhelming.

By understanding the general martech landscape and by optimizing integration of relevant technologies into a marketer’s toolkit, a more effective marketing stack can be built. Eliminate redundant tools and properly plan the stack by considering essential goals. As Brinker puts it, “if you establish clarity about what you’re trying to achieve, and if you have good marketing technologist talent helping to connect the dots, that gigantor marketing technology landscape becomes a source of strength” for marketers and innovators everywhere.

WhatRunsWhere in particular lies within this broader marketing technology landscape as an essential tool in the successful marketer’s kit. Within your marketing stack, we serve a specific purpose: to provide you with the right competitive intelligence data to help you make informed display advertising decisions and win results. You can bet the competition is embracing marketing technologies, so are you?


Topics: Digital Advertising, Conferences, Affiliate Marketing, Technology, MarTech


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