What’s ahead for marketing technology in the new year? Columnist Erik Bratt takes a look at some trends marketers should expect to see.
It’s no surprise that modern marketers are technology-crazy, constantly searching for the latest innovative application to help optimize the customer lifecycle and gain a competitive advantage. But did you know that we have officially hit “peak martech?”
That’s the word from technology guru and speaker Scott Brinker, who runs the highly influential ChiefMartec.com blog. In a column a couple of weeks ago, Brinker noted that while his marketing technology landscape supergraphic will continue to grow in the new year, we have indeed reached a plateauing state.
“While new martech ventures will certainly be launched in the year ahead, the rate of exits, failures, and pivots (EFPs) will result in a plateauing of the total number of active vendors in the space,” he wrote.
This doesn’t mean that marketers will cease their tech spending spree — quite the contrary. Marketers will spend an estimated $130 billion on marketing technology between 2014 and 2018, reaching $32.4 billion annually in the final year of that time frame, according to IDC.
Given this backdrop, what direction and shape will marketing technology assume in the new year? Here are five trends you’ll see play out:
1. Marketers Will Be More Wary Of Redundant Technologies
Given their consumption at the all-you-can-eat “martech buffet,” marketers will be under increasing pressure to show a positive return on investment. One way to do this will be to cut down on redundant or overlapping technologies, a trend that Ensighten, an enterprise tag management vendor and my employer, is already seeing among its customer base.
For example, Coca-Cola (an Ensighten customer) has replaced its traditional siloed enterprise web analytics solution in favor of a more holistic in-house approach to digital analytics.
As technology solutions expand their footprint into adjacent capabilities, marketers will need to be more discerning in their investments to improve ROI.
2. Marketers Will Seek to Harmonize Their Technologies Via A “One-Profile” Strategy
Marketers will realize that marketing in silos leads to a disconnected customer experience and is ultimately less effective. Marketers will seek to orchestrate better customer experiences by adopting a strategy to leverage universal customer profiles that can be shared across marketing execution systems for in-the-moment action.
These profiles, comprising rich first-party data, contain details about the customer’s brand interactions across channels and devices and can be put into play based on historical activity and behavior-based rules. This is not a new concept, but in 2016, marketers will strive to put the one-profile strategy into practice.
3. Marketers Will Begin To Embrace Mobile Martech
The number of solutions that can be used on mobile apps pales in comparison to those that can be used on the traditional web, but there are some, mostly related to optimization, attribution, advertising and, of course, analytics.
However, until recently, marketers have been slow to embrace these solutions, especially when it comes to mobile app measurement. According to a recent Forrester Research report, only 43 percent of digital business professionals use mobile analytics.
So what will change in 2016? Tag management providers that simplify martech deployments have neatly extended to mobile apps, making it easy to deploy analytics and other third-party tools without having to rebuild and re-certify the app through the platform provider.
4. Marketers Will Be More Wary Of Martech-Related Data Privacy Issues
There’s been an awakening — of data privacy issues among marketers. Have you felt it? With apologies to “Star Wars,” the issue of data privacy — long simmering in the US — is about to boil over, thanks to several key trends, including new privacy regulations, increased consumer awareness and a more connected global marketplace.
Last month, European officials announced plans for strict new fines for companies that don’t adequately inform users about what information is being collected about them and what they plan to do with it.
The marketing technology “stack” is a vortex of customer data. Is it being properly managed? This is a question marketers will increasingly wrap their heads around in 2016.
5. Marketers Will A/B Test Technologies Before Buying Them
In keeping with the theme of getting more from their technology investments, marketers will increasingly test and compare new applications before buying them. This is made possible by the emergence of tag management providers, which make it easy to add or remove digital marketing solutions from web and mobile channels, compared with manual tagging.
This helps marketers dramatically shorten deployments, from months to hours, and avoid traditional “vendor lock-in,” where the time and cost to replace one solution with another really wasn’t worth the hassle, especially across a large digital presence.
This is the year savvy marketers will learn to test drive their shiny new solutions, even A/B testing the performance of different vendors, before buying them.
Although marketers may have hit “peak martech,” according to Brinker, technology will continue to be a major focus among marketers in 2016. We should see these trends play out in the new year and beyond, as marketers feel the pressure to maximize their technology usage, embrace mobile marketing (finally), and pay heed to growing privacy concerns.
Some opinions expressed in this article may be those of a guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land. Staff authors are listed here.
(Some images used under license from Shutterstock.com.)