The rise of marketing tech in 2015 and beyond

As we head into the New Year, it’s the season for reflecting on our achievements. So, for my final blog of 2015, I feel it’s apt to explore how this year marketing technology has undergone a massive change - both in perception and in the way it’s used - and why it’s become an integral part of corporate success.

Over the last 20 to 30 years we’ve seen the approach to marketing shift to meet rising customer expectations. In the Mad Men era, B2B companies set out to target a mass audience and the relationship was purely transactional. But now, businesses are realising that maintaining transactional relationships alone is simply not enough. As customer expectations continue to rise, providing a personalised experience is becoming critical for businesses’ long-term success. We’re living in the age of the customer and it’s all about being able to engage on a 1-to-1 basis in order to deliver an excellent experience.

Until now, the B2B customer journey has typically been the responsibility of the marketing team. But today’s journey is non-linear and multi-channel – we’re talking face-to-face, phone, email, blogs, social media and even the corporate website. With such diverse touch points, the marketing team alone cannot deliver a seamless, personalised experience.

In practice, the customer journey is fast becoming the responsibility of everyone in the organisation – from receptionists responding to tweets about parking spaces, to the agents in the call centre, right up to members of the board.

At the same time, improving the customer journey – be it through offering seamless service across different channels or analysing customer data to continually improve services – generally relies on the underlying technology platform. Historically, this technology was deemed as ‘marketing tech’ and often seen as an adjunct or aside to corporate IT.

But, as delivering an excellent customer experience is fast becoming fundamental to business success, so too is the ‘marketing technology’ that is powering it. The two are inextricably linked.

As a result, in the past year, this tech has moved from just being seen as an add-on to become a vital part of the corporate equation, powering the customer experience that businesses live or die by. And over the next twelve months, as not just CMOs, but the whole C-suite hones in on the customer journey, the value that this technology delivers is going to become even more central to business success. So I hope that by the end of next year we won’t think of marketing tech as marketing anymore but simply as a core business enabler.