For anyone who is in marketing today, one of the biggest professional fears is falling behind the technological curve. And this fear is not ungrounded.
As marketers, we rely so much on software to better create, manage, automate, and analyze our marketing activities that failure to keep up with the pace of change just doesn’t seem like an option.
Marketers became early adopters and heavy users of technology simply because of the demands of the job – it takes a wide range of marketing tools and platforms to run campaigns that effectively reach audiences across channels and devices and at various stages of their journey to purchase.
When I first started in marketing through this site, I was uncomfortable being called a marketer. I came from a technology background and there were certainly some gaps in my marketing skills that needed to be filled!!! But I eventually found my sweet spot at the intersection of marketing and technology and now I feel quite good about my title – I’m a marketing tech guy!
How comfortable are you with marketing technology? Marketing tech is so vast that no matter your skill level, you’re still going to need to have some tactics in place to keep up to speed.
In this article, we look at different ways to keep up with changes in marketing tech. But first, let’s have a quick look at the martech landscape.
The Exploding MarTech Landscape
If we look at the marketing technology landscape, one thing is blatantly clear – it’s growing at an incredible pace! Scott Brinkers 2016 Marketing Technology Landscape Supergraphic (see below) lists 3,874 marketing solutions covering a range of different marketing technology areas. In 2011, the landscape counted 150 solutions. That’s an amazing growth in just 5 years, and every year the growth just keeps accelerating.
Note: Click on the image if you want to view a larger version.
It’s obvious that marketers now have too many choices, but at the same time too little time to find, learn about and integrate new marketing technologies.
The second annual Walker Sands State of Marketing Technology 2017 report, titled “Closing the Gap between MarTech Innovation and Adoption,” found that 56% of marketers can’t keep up with the pace of change in the martech industry, while 70% of marketers expect their companies’ marketing technology budgets to increase in 2017.
The report also shows that marketers are increasingly going for integrated best-of-breed technology stacks that give them the agility, flexibility, and diversity of technology they can’t find in single solutions.
My take on this is that you need to remain open to change but don’t fall victim to analysis paralysis by researching every new tool that pops up or becomes the new “shiny toy.” You need to understand your own marketing strategy well enough to spot real growth opportunities and any existing gaps that a certain tool can solve for.
In addition, look for solutions that work well with others and allow you to stay flexible – you don’t want to end up locked into a single-vendor solution.
5 Ways to Keep Up with the Latest Changes in MarTech
By now, we’ve established that staying up-to-date on the latest trends and changes in marketing technology is pretty hard. However, that shouldn’t stop you from finding effective ways to keep up with the innovation that’s happening in the industry and learn more about how it can benefit your organization. Take a look at our suggestions below.
1.Focus on what’s relevant to your business.
There’s no lack of innovation, so before I share with you some great ideas on where to look for it, you first need to decide what you’re looking for. It’s only logical that you shouldn’t invest in a new tool just because it seems like it’s ‘working for everyone else.’ Determine which innovations align best with your marketing strategy and your overreaching business objectives.
If you know what you are trying to achieve, it will be much easier to focus on the tools that will a) support your business goals and b) make your job easier.
2. Find martech people and sites to follow.
I just picked up this great book called ‘Digital Sense’ from Travis Wright. The book offers a common sense approach to blending social business strategy, marketing technology, and customer experience. Travis is a really smart martech guy that I follow, and it’s always interesting to see his views on what’s happening in marketing technology.
You need to pick out people that have a lot of knowledge about marketing software that will be your unofficial trusted advisors. Find a list of martech people like Travis and/or find publications that focus on marketing tech.
Here are a few people to kick start your list:
- Steve Dotto – Steve creates awesome videos about how to get the most of our a variety of marketing Tools, check out his Youtube Channel.
- Syed Balkhi – If I want anything about WordPress I’ll always check with Syed. He runs wpbeginner.com (amongst many other sites) and it’s the best resource on the web for WordPress.
- Travis Wright – Travis works more in the enterprise space so if I need to follow up on anything related to marketing technology / social business in larger companies Travis is the man
- Brian Dean – Brian dean is an expert in SEO and always keeps his eye on the best tools available. Check out his latest post on the best SEO tools
- Scott Brinker – Scott blogs over at his site Chiefmartech and helps figure out the overall landscape for marketing tech. He also runs the Martech conference.
- Douglas Karr – Douglas is founder of Martechblog.com which always provides really useful Martech articles
- Brian Fanzo – If there’s a new gadget or piece of software for live streaming Brian knows about it, check out his site.
- Ian Cleary – Who is this guy…. well…. we like to keep on top of marketing tools particularly in the B2B space.
This is just an example of a few people I follow. We might do a full list of recommended people to follow if you want?
Note: Feedly is a great tool for tracking blogs, and you can create a category for marketing tech influencers you want to follow.
3. Listen to relevant conversations online.
Using a monitoring tool will help you identify interesting conversations that you would not otherwise discover. Think about the marketing tech area you are interested in and use a tool, such as Talkwalker, that will allow you to identify trending conversations related to that topic.
For example, if you’re interested in video marketing software you could track conversations using monitoring tools to find interesting conversations from influencers in this space. Buzzsumo is another tool to use to identify these.
4. Continuously build your skills through training.
Some of you may prefer structured learning or having sort of a virtual classroom and a library stocked with all the right resources to help you expand your skills and knowledge and show you what’s coming in the martech arena.
To keep up to speed with all the technology it’s useful to have ongoing training. We provide a group of our subscribers monthly technical training through our RazorBlazers club but there are many others that will help in this area.
When you create your list of marketing tech influencers, keep an eye out for any training that they provide.
5. Join Groups
There are many groups – Slack, Facebook groups, LinkedIn group etc where you can find tech people that hang out. Go to the each of the platforms and find the most relevant groups for your business and start actively engaging. You’ll learn plenty and meet group people.
6. Attend conferences.
Find out where the martech influencers are speaking and attend some of their sessions. This could be online or in-person events.
There is a conference called MarTech which happens twice a year, in Europe and in the US. This is a great conference if you are a large business in the enterprise space, but not if you’re a smaller business. However, there are many marketing conferences that have some technical sessions worth considering.
Plan in advance which conferences and events you’ll attend this year and put them on your calendar. These events are great opportunities to network and learn about the latest trends in digital marketing and technology.
Here’s 3 I’ll be speaking at where I will be sharing some techy stuff!!
Social Media Marketing World – San Diego
The marketing tech industry is moving rapidly and it’s becoming more and more important in marketing. If you’re not keeping up you’re falling behind!
How do you keep up with all the marketing tech changes?