2016 in review, and what lies ahead for Martech in 2017

As 2016 comes to a close, we take a look back at the year’s top four trends in Martech, and which trends we expect to take off in 2017

Account-based marketing (ABM) software

2016 saw B2B vendors across all industries falling over themselves to add ABM to their suite of online marketing solutions. But the search for the perfect vendor can prove overwhelming. In a market where every provider claims to be a leader in the space, it can be difficult to determine which solutions really are the best.

In the MA space, software industry leaders’ HubSpot, Marketo, Pardot and Eloqua emerged as the best in field.

Customer experience (CX)

Over the last years, the quality of analytics data has progressed significantly. Better data analytics means better access to customer insight, and businesses need to harness this to deliver a better customer experience. 

Customer is king, and every aspect of business from strategy through to organisational structure is being reworked in order to fit a customer-centric model. Marketers often get so caught up in vanity metrics that they fail to really listen to what their customers want. This is a serious error, because ultimately the success of your business depends on the customer and how you treat them. Customers are increasingly influenced by brand experience, as opposed to brand messaging.

In our modern business environment, people have become less tolerant of poor brand encounters than ever before. Thanks to the nature of social media, bad reviews can spread like wildfire, and these negative comments can have a significant impact on the reputation of your organisation. Customers are willing to pay a premium for great customer service, and it pays to keep customers happy.

Nurture frameworks

Lead nurturing has formed a fundamental part of a successful marketing strategy, particularly when building relationships with potential buyers across channels – even if they are not currently looking to purchase a product or service. Modern marketing takes time, buyers don’t become customers overnight. Potential customers do their research, they want to build a trust and rapport with a company before working with them, and lead nurturing helps companies to build this. Lead nurturing helps marketers to maintain constant communication with buyers throughout the sales cycle, from first contact through to purchase. 

Martech stack

In 2016, marketers began to group together the technologies that they were using to conduct and improve their day-to-day marketing activity to create a ‘martech stack’. The idea behind this tech stack is to drive more efficient spending and streamline difficult processes.

The marketing technology landscape is constantly changing, and with so many choices, it’s vital that marketers have a clear understanding of which technologies are most suited to their business.

Predictions for 2017

Account-based marketing (ABM) reporting

Companies couldn’t get enough of ABM software in 2016, and next year, it’s all about the reporting. By 2017, most companies will have integrated ABM into their marketing tech stack, and will be looking to see a ROI. With ABM, it’s so important to connect engagement data to revenue, and we simply can’t hit revenue goals and understand how to make informed marketing investments without revenue measurement. 

AI, machine learning and predictive modelling

Artificial intelligence (AI) has appeared in the news agenda throughout 2016, and marketing is no exception. Increasingly we expect to see AI, machine learning and predictive modelling impact the types of jobs marketers do and the ways in which campaigns are run and measured.

Technology is constantly altering the role of the modern marketer: SEO consultants, web designers, social media experts and mobile / app developers are all marketing roles that didn’t even exist a decade or two ago. The sheer volume of data that new marketing platforms generate has a significant impact on the dynamic of the marketing department. Companies are now employing big data analysts and data scientists as part of the marketing team to uncover insights that will drive business decisions. 

Tech and business strategy

Technology has never been so integral to business strategy as it is in the digital age. Tech is being used to remodel businesses, products and services, and enhance existing offerings to create more rewarding customer experiences. Businesses need to adopt and develop the right technology and IT strategy for success from the off-set, with the flexibility to take new developments in their stride.

General data protection regulation (GDPR)

Earlier in 2016, the GDPR was passed with the intention of strengthening and unifying data protection for individuals within the European Union. While the UK voted to leave the EU, we still have to comply with the GDPR until the process is complete. By 2017, we expect the regulation to be in full swing, and for data governance strategies to be much stricter.