Predictions in martech for 2017

SaleCycle chief revenue officer, Chris Brinkworth
By SaleCycle chief revenue officer, Chris Brinkworth | 14 December 2016

As new channels and opportunities for transmitting marketing messages that drive online conversion open up, organisations are likely to fall into the trap of creating 'strategies' to deal with what are effectively just extensions of their marketing mix.

The growth in voice controlled interactions; Siri, Echo/Alexa as well as the mainstreaming of chatbots and 'messenger apps as platforms' will drive brands to think strategically in these areas. The challenge is to rain that in and recognise that they have an existing marketing strategy and it’s about how to apply this strategy to these channels and opportunities.

Moving into emerging communication channels needs to be treated as exploration. When text messaging became a broader marketing opportunity it took a while for organisations to move from batch and blast marketing communications to using the channel for its now major use case of customer service related messaging. The same thinking should be applied to these new channels brands should explore with confidence and not be afraid to get it wrong and start again.

Another risk for businesses is the consolidation of marketing technology suppliers. Buying everything needed to execute against ecommerce and digital marketing goals from one supplier is a bit like buying your evening wear from a supermarket. Sure my local mega hypermarket sells tuxedos, but is that what I would wear to an awards dinner?

The key thing for organisations dealing with the challenge of managing multiple suppliers is that yes it's a good thing to bring some tasks/responsibility in-house, but that doesn't mean you need to consolidate providers into just one or two for those people to manage. Specialists deliver value in their specialism. NASA developed a pen to write in zero gravity, the Russians used pencils. The tools you use need to be the right ones for the job.

In 2017, machine learning will be a new industry buzzword. I think it's worth remembering that machines are still some way from understanding the subtleties of selling products to humans. Using machines to identify patterns in data quicker than a person can, will help many brands, but only if someone who understands the complexity of marketing can then analyse the same data and use it to make decisions. Replacing that in its entirety by robots at this stage might prove too difficult.

By SaleCycle chief revenue officer, Chris Brinkworth

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