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Good morning, Marketers, the MarTech conference is underway.
There is still a full day ahead of us loaded with talks, panels, meet-and-greets, and ongoing coverage on MarTech Today.
When martech folks get together, there’s a sense of purpose. It could be about the changing demands of the customer or about a theme like omnichannel (remember those days?). Having everyone together digitally seems to amplify this purpose. As several speakers and marketers I’ve spoken with put it, our interactions seem more intentional.
Kim Davis’s conference keynote really spelled it out. Martech has found itself within a “continuum of change.” This means that far from an interruption, the pandemic has been a huge accelerator to change that we were already experiencing. The same goes for the customer — B2C and B2B. They were trying to tell us that digital transformation makes their buying more convenient. During the pandemic, it made all of our lives more manageable and goals more achievable.
Successful marketers this year have embraced the continuum of change in a number of ways, as you’ll see in our Day 1 coverage below. If you missed yesterday’s events, there’s still time to get involved today. See you there!
The customer was already changing
On January 1, 2021, MarTech Editorial Director Kim Davis explained, kicking off the MarTech conference today, “Everything wasn’t suddenly new again. It wasn’t a sudden reset. We’re living and working in a continuum of change — change which was already happening in 2018 and 2019, but took off like a rocket in 2020.”
Now, a year into the pandemic, with recovery and vaccinations on their way, marketers and agencies have upped their game in order to adapt and survive. Brands are more digital and empathetic, and they aren’t giving up ground in these areas. That’s because the changes we all went through were a long time coming, dating back before the first COVID-19 cases.
The transition to digital architecture that has transformed many businesses in the last two decades hit hyperdrive last year. The pandemic gave consumers a voice. The need for empathy skyrocketed during the summer, as the national conversation grew to include the painful recognition of injustice and inequality. The murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis brought about a moment of reckoning for brands, while so many people of all ages responded to what they saw as signs of systemic racism in the country.
In the marketing world, brands realized that the usual product pitches were ill-equipped to meet the moment. Brand conversations had to change.
More creativity from no-code adoption
With no code and AI, marketers can take the critical step from “What if?” to “What about this?” That was the key takeaway from the MarTech keynote delivered by Scott Brinker, editor of chiefmartec.com and VP Platform Ecosystem at HubSpot. The context is the digital workspace, which will surely outlast pandemic restrictions. This workspace is characterized by, for example, flatter and faster organizational structures, distributed (remote) teams, rapid decision making, and of course more technology. In Brinker’s view, the workspace — especially for marketers — will be enabled by no code tools, powered in turn by rapidly developing AI.
Three important and interlinked capabilities no longer require coding skills.
- Automation: The ability to automate routine activities and processes;
- Augmentation: The acquisition of new creative and analytical capabilities; and
- Integration: The connectivity with other tools and data in the workspace.
The new challenge, of course, will be to manage the potential explosion in creativity. “The challenge is not the challenge of no code tools,” says Brinker, “it’s the challenge of this new business environment.” Flatter and faster organizations will require “decentralized self-service.” No longer will projects need to be passed through centralized bureaus like IT. This will remove bottlenecks and create opportunities for anyone on the team with an idea to act on it rather than adding it to a development queue.
Anyword launches solution to find the right words
Performance-driven marketing language company Keywee recently changed its name to Anyword. And now it has introduced a solution that uses AI and natural language processing to generate and optimize text and tie it to performance metrics and KPIs. Marketers can distribute this turbo-charged language through ads, emails, social channels and websites. The company claims it can process and analyze language from human sources and tailor it automatically to resonate with target audiences. Furthermore, the text is coupled with “an intuitive scoring system that ranks copy variations, predicting results so that marketers can measure performance prior to launching a campaign and avoid costly and time-consuming A/B tests.”
Why we care. AI-powered optimization can be a critical piece to any campaign. See the deployment of IBM Watson to power the Ad Council’s vaccine education effort. With digital data points, the Watson technology can automatically see what audiences respond better to creative with, for instance, a blue background, versus a green one. It will then adjust these elements on-the-fly. A solution that specifically manages the performance of language can take the pressure off content marketing teams that use more intuitive methods to reach the same KPIs. With channels so fragmented, marketers can explore creative ways to multiply their messages empathetically and direct them to specific audiences. They can expand the conversation at scale. A solution with natural language processing can also help group together consumer responses so that no communication is missed.
A new CEO for ABM platform MRP
After nearly 19 years of leading the organization, Kevin Cunningham is stepping down as CEO of MRP-Prelytix, the predictive ABM platform he co-founded. Replacing him is Scott Matthews. Matthews was most recently CEO of Crowdtwist, the customer loyalty platform acquired by Oracle. He was also CEO of Webcollage (now Syndigo), a product content platform for retailers. Cunningham will stay on board for several months to ensure a smooth transition.
Quote of the day
“I think the problem in many cases today is that the consumer’s expectation goes up, but the brand experience remains the same. And this creates a gap or an imbalance which then diminishes the perceived value of the brand.” Teresa Barreira, CMO, Publicis Sapient
About The Author
Chris Wood draws on over 15 years of reporting experience as a B2B editor and journalist. At DMN, he served as associate editor, offering original analysis on the evolving marketing tech landscape. He has interviewed leaders in tech and policy, from Canva CEO Melanie Perkins, to former Cisco CEO John Chambers, and Vivek Kundra, appointed by Barack Obama as the country’s first federal CIO. He is especially interested in how new technologies, including voice and blockchain, are disrupting the marketing world as we know it. In 2019, he moderated a panel on “innovation theater” at Fintech Inn, in Vilnius. In addition to his marketing-focused reporting in industry trades like Robotics Trends, Modern Brewery Age and AdNation News, Wood has also written for KIRKUS, and contributes fiction, criticism and poetry to several leading book blogs. He studied English at Fairfield University, and was born in Springfield, Massachusetts. He lives in New York.