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Our Top Three Takeaways from MarTech 2017 in San Francisco

Our Top Three Takeaways from MarTech 2017 in San Francisco

Drew Lewis
By
Drew Lewis

The MarTech Conference in San Francisco wrapped up two weeks ago, and as we help our customers solve the challenges of optimizing omnichannel customer experience, we’re still thinking about some of our key takeaways.

1. There is an explosion of tools and tech (hence, the name MarTech!) — and businesses need an “abstraction layer” to unify the tech stack

If you take a look at Scott Brinker of Chief Martec’s latest Marketing Technology Landscape Supergraphic, you’ll see over 5,000 vendor logos. This profusion of tools means it’s increasingly important — and also more of a challenge — to pick the right MarTech stack to deliver on your business goals and customer’s needs.

The lack of connectedness and interoperability across the entire MarTech stack poses real challenges for marketing technologists — as well as their colleagues across other teams like sales, customer success, finance, and product. Far too often, marketers are beholden to IT to manage complex integrations or unify data from these systems.

Our CEO & Co-Founder Michel Feaster’s session at MarTech highlighted the importance of an abstraction layer to unify these disparate systems. In Usermind’s view, this abstraction layer consists of both a Customer Data Platform (CDP) and a Journey Orchestration Engine (JOE) that sits on top of your existing technology stack.

Key benefits of an abstraction layer:

  • Connect disparate MarTech systems, and make them work in concert to deliver a cohesive, contextual customer experience
  • Unify data from tools and applications outside of the MarTech ecosystem, like customer support, finance, data warehouses, product analytics, and other systems
  • Build a complete 360° view of the customer from both historical data and real-time signals like web browsing or cart abandonment
  • Create business logic that orchestrates end-to-end lifecycles across systems, with analytics, experimentation, and optimization
  • Take the reigns on customer experience, without waiting for extensive, expensive engineering or IT initiatives — an abstraction layer lets marketing and other business teams be self-sufficient

2. Customer journeys have arrived, and for most organizations, are top of mind

We launched Usermind last year at MarTech, and back then only the more mature organizations were thinking about customer experience in terms of managing cross-system, omnichannel journeys. Even fewer companies were implementing journeys.

During the show this year, nearly everyone we spoke to was familiar with customer journeys — and and most people were in various stages of mapping, implementing, and optimizing their journey efforts.

3. Artificial intelligence and machine learning will be the next competitive battleground

While still in their infancy, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) were the big buzzwords at MarTech 2017. From predictive tools like Mintigo to prescriptive ones like Amplero, the opportunity for AI & ML is huge — especially for B2C companies who are always looking for the next best action to serve up to customers.

That said, we don’t believe these tools will be a silver bullet. Instead, they’ll play a key role in the broader MarTech ecosystem, and will need to be plugged in as another input into the abstraction layer.

Missed Michel’s session at MarTech? Join us for our next webinar, which will cover the same topic: 5 Steps to Operationalize the Customer Journey on Thursday, June 22, 2017 at 11am PDT.

Drew Lewis
Drew Lewis
Director of Product Marketing at Usermind

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