“There is a lot of chatter about AI right now, but according to The State of Martech 2018, marketers feel most optimistic about IoT.”
1. Tell us a little bit about your role and how you got here.
I am an account director at Walker Sands, which is a PR and digital marketing firm for B2B technology companies. I work primarily with martech, retail tech and HR tech companies to help them set and execute PR strategies that support their brand awareness and lead generation goals. We started conducting an annual survey of marketers about their use of technology three years ago and have written The State of Martech annually ever since. This is a great benchmark to see how marketers’ priorities have shifted and approaches have evolved.
2. Given the massive proliferation of marketing technology, how do you see the martech market evolving over the next few years?
There is a lot of chatter about AI right now, but according to The State of Martech 2018, marketers feel most optimistic about IoT. Less than half of marketers plan to implement AI; whereas, 53 percent plan or have already implemented IoT solutions. I expect to see that IoT optimism grow in the next year as voice technology, like Amazon’s Alexa, advances. And across the board, as we see new technology advance and prove ROI, we’ll see marketers use them more frequently.
3. What do you see as the single most important technology trend or development that’s going to impact us?
I was most surprised to see how often marketers evaluate their martech stacks. I would have expected more to be on an annual schedule to align with annual marketing budgets. However, half evaluate more often, which means that of the 7,000+ martech solutions out there, marketers are constantly finding new solutions. Vendors need to listen and implement customer feedback to win their loyalty.
4. What’s the biggest challenge that CMOs need to tackle to make marketing technology work?
While two-thirds of marketers believe the martech landscape has evolved rapidly or at light speed this year, only a quarter feel the same about their company’s use of martech. In fact, only 15 percent of marketers find their company to be very agile at embracing new martech solutions. For CMOs, that lack of agility is causing real investment pains. Budget is the biggest barrier to marketers making greater martech investments, and that will likely always be the case. But 27 percent of marketers cite internal resistance to change and an equal number blame difficulties with product implementation for why they don’t adopt more. To succeed in the years ahead, CMOs must align their internal teams and budget to help them implement new technology to help them do their jobs better.
5. What’s your smartest work-related shortcut or productivity hack?
For me, the key to productivity is organization. Technology that helps me stay organized is the best kind of martech. I use the Boomerang Gmail app for everything from reminders for myself to staying on top of deadlines. My team and I also rely on project management and collaboration tools like KanbanFlow and Trello to see where deliverables stand.
6. How do you prepare for an AI-centric world as a marketing leader?
There are thousands of martech solutions, and so many of them have AI capabilities. My advice for marketers who are just starting off is to use technology to streamline the low-hanging fruit first. Things like CRM and social media management that take up time that could be spent thinking more strategically is ideal for martech. As you become more comfortable with your martech, you can build up your stack. Unproven martech like VR is least likely to be implemented – a full 62 percent of marketers have either abandoned or don’t plan to implement VR/AR.
7. What is the core marketing technology capability of your firm that you bring to a marketer? Where does your product fit in vis-a-vis the customer life cycle?
Walker Sands is an integrated PR and digital marketing agency for B2B technology and professional services companies. We help marketers throughout the customer lifecycle, and the two most common goals our clients have are to increase brand awareness and/or generate leads. Our capabilities span media relations, content marketing, design, demand generation, web services and more, and we build our programs to achieve our clients’ unique goals.
8. Are there any new features or upcoming upgrades that you’re excited about and would like to give us a sneak peek into?
We’ve expanded our video services this year to now include case studies, product demos, company culture videos and more, and the timing is perfect. According to State of Martech, 40 percent of marketers are experimenting with video marketing, and we will likely see more marketers made video a core solution in the next few years. We also revamped our website this summer to bring our services to life and improve the user experience.
9. What is your take on the massive explosion of MarTech across so many categories? Do you see competition, opportunities to partner and/or integrate?
Industry leaders have been predicting consolidation among martech for years, but instead, the number of solutions keeps growing. This tells us that marketers are looking for more personalized solutions, and that desire for personalization will only continue to grow. That’s likely why we’re seeing more marketers turn to best-of-breed martech stacks instead of the all-in-one cloud solutions. With best-of-breed stacks, marketers can tailor their solutions to their unique needs, and martech vendors that support this level of integration will succeed.
10. Could you share for our readers, an infographic or description depicting your marketing stack (various marketing software products or platforms your team uses or subscribes to)?
Here’s a list of some of our favorite tools, but it’s not comprehensive:
11. Can you share a screenshot of the homepage of your smartphone (iOS/Android/other)? It would be interesting to see some of the apps you personally use on a daily basis to get things done and stay on top of your day.