Several years ago, Laura McLellan, an analyst at Gartner, made a bold prediction: By 2017, CMOs will spend more on technology than CIOs. Well, we’ve finally made it to 2017, and it’s looking more and more like that ambitious prediction will pan out.
So where does that leave us? As technology has become part of the DNA of the modern marketing department, how do we expect it to evolve over the coming years? How will CMOs and other marketers fold data, technology, and analytics tools even more deeply into their strategy and execution? What are the tech trends in 2017 that forward-thinking CMOs should watch out for?
In this post, we explore why technology has become so instrumental to marketing success, and how this partnership is likely to unfold in the near future. We’ll also dive into some of the specific technologies that can help CMOs stay ahead of the curve, taking an especially close look at social media analytics, which Gartner has called out as one of the most important MarTech trends for CMOs to understand.
how the MarTech provider list has grown in the last 10 years, via Chief MarTech
It all starts with data.
Technology has become more important for CMOs because data has become more important for CMOs. Data confirms that the hunch built from years of experience isn’t simply a hunch, it’s validated through insights as the right choice. Implementing changes or expanding your market share without data backing you up is like sailing without an actual sail–there’s no way to direct yourself, and suddenly you are at the mercy of the seas.
So we know data’s important, but what data matters? It’s as simple as it is complicated to find: clean, historically-relevant data. Data provides context for decisions, giving you the ability to look backward and therefore, forward, to lead your team towards a more successful 2017. If you can’t rely on the veracity of the data, then it’s not worth anything to you. So make sure you’re in a good place with your data set before you start using it to strategize.
Measuring those intangible feelings that your marketing gut tells you occurred, but that your standard financial numbers aren’t reflecting, can be tough. This is where social data thrives. Consumer conversations, parsed into customizable categories can show you the chatter you care about while eliminating unnecessary noise.
By bringing in the best-of-breed data providers together and building the stack that makes sense for your business is crucial, rather than reaching for the providers that will “offer it all”. Simply put, an all-in-one solutions won’t meet your creative team’s needs. Do you want to direct the tip of the spear with the best marketing decisions around? Find the tool that provides the insights you need.
Data shows that best-of-breed is redefining the marketing stack.
What makes up a great marketing technology stack in 2017?
To be clear, every business is different, with a variety of needs and priorities. But all great marketing teams, regardless of their industry or structure, have common needs. This is what we’ve determined to be the most important software components for today’s marketing teams. There are a few key components that you need to make a technology stack for your marketing pros:
- CMS – A CMS (content management system) that works for your team is crucial. An efficient system that’s regularly updated drives engagement and leads for your business, as well as the ability to control the public perception of your brand. Find the right solution for you.
- CRM – A customer relationship management tool helps to track marketing attributable support for sales pipeline as well as customer retention and growth. This might be a necessary tool for B2B businesses than B2C, but it’s crucial to understanding your entire sales lifecycle, including advocates and evangelists.
- Email/Nurture software – Marketing automation software or inbound marketing systems are important for storing, tracking, and engaging leads throughout their lifecycles. Many systems fold together with CRMs as well.
- Acquisition/Advertising software – There are so many available systems that can help drive top of funnel leads, whether it’s through SEM, ad tracking, display ads, retargeting ads, attribution reporting or many other platforms. Decide what’s most important for your team to get noticed.
- Optimization/SEO software – Optimization is where marketers can find value in personalized experiences and user testing for their programs. These systems usually start A/B testing capabilities, SEO and goes on from there.
- Social Media Analytics software – Better understand what consumers are saying about your brand, your advertisements, and more, by analyzing the major social media platforms. Want to know how you compare to your competitors in terms of social presence? Trying to understand who makes up your audience? Need to know the next big trend to affect your industry? That’s where social media analytics can help you.
How can the right stack help with today’s marketing objectives?
So what do all of these tools allow marketers to accomplish in 2017? CMOs discussing their top priorities for 2017 prioritize two major concepts: Personalization and Voice of Customer insights. Let’s explain how and why social analytics helps marketers achieve these goals.
“2017 will be the year of personalization. In our experience personalization has shown an increase of 10% in conversion rates. Smart CMOs and organizations know this and will use new and unique ways to engage sales leads with uniquely striking messaging/collateral/gifts/etc. Due to personalization.”
— Corey Quinn, CMO, Scorpion Internet Marketing
According to OneSpot, Nearly two-thirds of consumers say they are more likely to recommend a brand if it does a great job of delivering personally relevant content. There is no other option: Knowing your audience means creating relevant email, social and paid marketing strategies. All of the elements of the perfect stack laid out above help you target your audience with the right content for them — from sending them tailored emails to showing them customized ads and pages, to creating content perfect for them based on their social profiles and demographics.
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The User (Consumer or Customer) Always Comes First
UGC Content has redefined interactivity for brands over social. One of Crimson’s clients, VML, worked with one of the top athletic sport drink brands to provide a revolutionary UGC campaign that tied superheroes and comic books to sports. The response was enormous. At over 132% of goal, VML’s UGC campaign was one of the largest for the brand and the agency.
Achieving goals like these requires a precise understanding of what consumers want to see and hear. Leveraging social to tap into those audiences is the easiest way to validate a potential ad strategy. It’s also a crucial to look back historically and see what’s been the most successful in connecting to users: what did they share and why? What else does your audience care about besides your brand, and how can you use that information to give them the experience they crave? It all comes back to the power of social.
Folding these priorities in with the right data-driven systems to track and understand data that matter to their businesses, today’s CMOs will make monumental strides to reaching customers on a deeper, personalized level. As the voice of the customer continues to drive many CMO priorities in 2017, we know that executives everywhere must be armed with the most powerful insights from the largest source of consumer opinion today to achieve their goals: the data derived from social media.
Looking for more? Here’s a guide on what to look for when buying a social analytics tool.