Must Read MarTech Boston Takeaways

Andrew Holstein, Marketing Operations Manager

October 13, 2017

As Scott Brinker's Marketing Technology Supergraphic has ballooned to over 5,300 MarTech companies, it's no surprise that the MarTech Conference in Boston in the beginning of October was packed with not only attendees and expert presenters, but over 60 vendors competing for attention.

But amid all the clutter was some marketing technology gold, delivered by some of the best minds in marketing. Here are my two biggest takeaways from the conference:

The "Next Big Thing" is... Artificial Intelligence

Everyone always wants to know what the next "big thing" in marketing will be. The next social media platform or the next Google. Well, the consensus at MarTech is that artificial intelligence (AI) is it.

As Gerry Murray, Research Director at IDC, showed, the time is ripe for AI in marketing because of the rise in digitally connected devices such as Alexa, Google Play, Apple Watch, Fitbit, and more. All of these devices are constantly connecting data on consumers that can be used in marketing.

The problem is that it's too much data for any person to process. Therefore, AI will be critical moving forward to help marketers use that data effectively to be better marketers. Some machine learning platforms are already available to the public, such as Demandbase or Marketo's personalization features, but they're only going to get better and better moving forward.

Expanding Beyond Marketing Technology

For a technology conference, it is worth noting how much emphasis was put on branding and storytelling by many of the expert presenters.

Steve Lucas and Matt Zilli of Marketo both talked about the importance value over volume. We've reached a point in human history where our ability to put a message in front of somebody has outpaced our attention spans. While advertisers used to have to compete for ad space, today the challenge is standing out from the over-saturated advertising space. Indeed, we see an average of 800 advertisements per day, but only consciously register 80 of them.

Therefore, we need to make sure our marketing is, as keynote speaker Seth Godin likes to say, remarkable - that is, worth remarking on.

Conference chair Scott Brinker touched on a similar theme, in particular on how marketing organizations need to be aligned and have the technology support them, rather than throwing out new marketing technologies and hiring people to manage it. In support of this idea, Brinker has expanded his fantastic Stackie Awards to now include a marketing organization award.

Rishi Dave of Dun & Bradstreet provided an in-person case study of their marketing organization, and is well worth a look.

This focus on good old-fashioned marketing principles, combined with marketing technology (which will soon include AI) will form a great foundation for some remarkable marketing moving into 2018 and beyond.