MarTech East & Masters of Marketing: 3 Key Takeaways

Over the course of October, I had the opportunity to attend two different conferences: MarTech East, hosted in Boston, and the ANA Masters of Marketing in Orlando. Attending both within weeks of each other provided a unique view on two sides of the “connected experiences” coin: MarTech East shared the visions for a connected future from tech giants like Salesforce and IBM, while Masters of Marketing shared the triumphs and learning from pioneers in this space like Disney.

Throughout both conferences, one thing was clear: The fourth industrial revolution is happening now. Here are three other things I learned:

  1. 1. Business Priorities Are Shifting Beyond Bottom-Line Sales

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    As the emphasis on creating connected experiences continues to grow, a shift in success measurement has started to take place that puts a larger emphasis on customer metrics (i.e., satisfaction scores, NPS, lifetime value) than business metrics (i.e., sales, revenue, profit).

    Customers now expect businesses and brands to meet their needs through more than just the product or service sold. As mentioned in “State of the Connected Customer” (a Salesforce study cited at MarTech East), “80% of customers say the experience a company provides is as important as its products and services.” In addition, “70% of customers say connected processes are very important to winning their business.”

    The expectation is that a brand will take care of them throughout their journey and facilitate their experience with the product or service seamlessly.

    As brands, in conjunction with strong technology partners, start meeting these needs, there is certainly an increase in immediate sales; however, the bigger impact is in the attachment a customer develops with the brand—a much higher return on investment than sales alone can provide.

  2. 2. Digital Transformation Requires More Than Money

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    Despite the importance of a connected customer experience, most brands, especially the established behemoths, fail to deliver: 51% of customers (B2B and B2C) say most companies fall short of their expectations for great experiences (“State of the Connected Customer”).

    While financial investment is a large component of successfully executing a digital transformation strategy (advanced technology is not cheap, after all), the true deciding factor is the ability of the organization to evolve and adapt to a customer-first mentality.

    According to a presentation at MarTech East by Eric Rotkow and Kelley Troia, 70% of digital transformation initiatives fail. This seems to be driven largely by a “spend first, organize later” approach.

    Leaders at both MarTech and Masters of Marketing seemed aligned on this: Start with a strong strategy, have a dedicated consumer experience leader/team and ensure that your success metrics align with your transformation goals (see the first point). Creating a connected customer experience requires a connected organization supported by a fully integrated people-based marketing stack, without which your investment is likely to yield little return.

  3. 3. Your Customers Probably Don’t Trust You

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    Trust in big brands is at an all-time low, while expectations for seamless experiences have never been higher. Customers want to have their cake and eat it, too, and so it falls on brands to identify and serve up the correct balance of personalization and privacy.

    Terms and agreements are difficult for the layperson to understand, security breaches have been rampant (Cambridge Analytica, to mention just one of many) and often data is being misused to deliver less-than-relevant messaging. Despite all of this and growing concerns that their data will be compromised, 79% of customers are willing to share relevant information about themselves in exchange for contextualized interactions in which they’re immediately known and understood (“State of the Connected Consumer”).

    What this all boils down to is a delicate balance between transparency and experience. As with any cost-benefit analysis, customers need to feel that the benefits of sharing their data will outweigh the dangers of doing so

Whether as a technology vendor or a brand, when interacting with customers, a personalized, seamless and delightful connected experience is the only way to go if you want your customers’ trust.

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