What do you get when you spend a couple of days with a blessing of marketing technology unicorns?
I just got back from attending the MarTech, marketing technology conference in San Francisco. I was surrounded by hundreds of practioners, consultants, vendors and fellow travelers on the marketing technology path. Scott Brinker, who organized the conference, coined the term marketing technologist. He likes to refer to those of us who live one foot in marketing and one foot in technology as unicorns and so this is the first time I’ve ever been able to say I was surrounded by a blessing of unicorns.
Aside from the image of copywriting and coding unicorns, why is this interesting? The current throughout the keynotes, vendor presentations and case studies was not so much, this is important, there is general consensus about the value of marketing technology. In the opening keynote, Scott Brinker showed a recent study where over 90% believed that the marketing technology landscape has evolved significantly over the last 3 years. The laugh was more about the 3% who reported that there wasn’t much evolution, proof that you can still hide under a rock.
The more important theme was that marketing technology is the handmaiden to driving better customer experiences, which in turn is what produces business outcomes. Laura Ramos of Forrester Research stated the obvious, “customer obsession is your only competitive advantage.” The problem isn’t the goal, the challenge is making it happen.
Joseph Kurian of Aetna, showed us all what it took to built a marketing technology organization, which sits between marketing and IT and is responsible to both the customer and the business. But I think the message was best summed up in a quote from John Wooden, the hall of fame basketball coach. He said, “Never mistake activity for achievement.” It’s delivering value and producing results that matter.
At Tahzoo, we often talk about producing business outcomes, not just outputs. We mean exactly what coach Wooden was saying. It’s not enough to just invest in a lot of software, create big teams and come up with executive pronouncements like, “this is the year of the customer.” For if this truly is the year of the customer what happened last year and what will happen next year. It’s not the saying that matters, it’s the doing.
And this was the real value of the MarTech conference. There were hundreds of us, from all sorts of disciplines, all believing in our ability to make a difference and that was in itself, a blessing.