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2020 MarTech (Marketing Tech) Predictions

by Paco, on 31 January, 2020

Rolling into the 2020's – what’s up next for MarTech

It’s not just the start of a shiny, fresh new year but a whole decade.

Back to the future
So, there’s nothing we like more at MarTech Alliance than to hit up some of martech's finest to find out what they reckon are going to be the hot trends in the months and years to come.

2020 MarTech Predictions

As you might expect in a sector that’s as fast-moving as MarTech (remember godfather of MarTech, Scott Brinker’s MarTech Landscape went from about 150 suppliers in 2011 to more than 7,000 vendors by 2019), when we asked ‘what do you think are going to be the biggest trends for 2020 and beyond’, we got a huge range of responses. 

So that it doesn’t take you til 2021 to discover what our experts said, we’ve distilled the top 5 findings so you know what to look out for and whether or not to leap aboard that particular bandwagon. And, after a year of ever-expanding suppliers with a sometimes baffling array of solutions, it’s probably no surprise that trend number one is all about decluttering your stack…

Getting back to basics

In the race for adoption, the entry point for a sizeable chunk of Brinker’s 7,000-plus MarTech solutions has been pretty frictionless – API-based, plug-and-play and free to start using, or as near as. Inevitably, that has led to a great deal of tech sloshing around in organisations, some without a purpose, some without an understanding – a great deal of it surplus to requirements. Experts expect 2020 to be the year of cleaning house and getting those proverbial ducks in a row.

“In 2020, watching the companies managing their stacks on our platform, we see continued momentum around getting the MarTech fundamentals right. Companies are rapidly moving to centralized oversight of their marketing technology and marketing is bringing IT back into the fold to help with security reviews and data integration,” says Anita Brearton, Founder/CEO, CabinetM.

Sara McNamara, Senior Marketing Operations Manager, Cloudera agrees and feels marketing operations is going to take charge with renewed vigour: “What used to be one person within an organization is growing to entire teams in the enterprise and smaller teams in SMB and mid-size companies. I also see more and more agencies being brought into the fold, to help keep things afloat as internal talent comes and goes.”

She predicts: “With more expensive toys comes more focus on talent to administer them, so I anticipate the demand for marketing technologists to grow exponentially as these purchases take place.”

No such thing as a free (data) crunch

If MarTech 2019 was all about the Freemium model of onboarding tech, then it looks like MarTech 2020 will be the year of ‘you get what you pay for’:

“There is an increasing appetite for paid analytics technology, driven mainly by a realization that data and statistics available from free providers cannot offer the same level of actionable insights as paid-for solutions,” predicts Dr. Christine Bailey, Chief Marketing Officer, Valitor.

Adtech v MarTech – a fight to the death?

Adtech garnered the lion’s share of column inches across the 2010s, latterly not always for the right reasons as privacy and user experience issues abounded. The need for a cohesive strategy across data, communications and customer journey is becoming more apparent and the more joined up MarTech-led approach looks set to dominate:

“2020 Will be the year where adtech takes a huge, probably crippling, hit and martech swallows up everything in its path. You will start to see tech vendor businesses really bolster their martech capabilities and selling into the marketing groups. This will be driven by data and privacy including CCPA and GDPR,” claims Robert Rose, Chief strategy officer, Content Marketing Institute / Chief troublemaker, Content Marketing Advisory.

But Adtech isn't dead it will just change, as Rose adds: “Adtech will start to reposition itself, using privacy first party data and the idea of more internally focused features and benefits which will make it start looking more like MarTech.”

Stop targeting and start communicating

Since the Millennium, tech has undoubtedly revolutionised how close marketers have been able to get to the consumer. Whether the consumer wanted them to or not. MarTech has often meant that brands sometimes just didn’t know when to back off. Figuring out if and when customers want brands to slide into their DMs will be a Twenties tipping point, according to Frans Riemersma, Founder, MarTech Tribe:

“In the third [decade], we’ll see the breakthrough of advanced Journey Orchestration: integrated real-time listening, analyzing and messaging. We’ll finally enter a phase where brands’ messaging reaches the same level of trust and authenticity as friends’ referrals. Content creation will be driven by personality & empathy techniques such as OCEAN and Myers Briggs, where possible supercharged with AI and ML. We’ll not only humanise Martech, but brands as a whole.”

2020’s top MarTech trend – won’t be about tech at all!

MarTech innovations are going to keep on coming. There are always going to be new solutions to problems marketers didn’t know they had. The real skill is going to be in learning how to adapt and assimilate all that new tech into the very human process of selling stuff. For that to happen, marketers are going to have to learn how to upgrade a pretty critical piece of kit – themselves.

Dr Bailey warns: “Every marketer should aim to become more data competent. It is no longer something that can be left to the data scientists; data has become democratized and permeates every aspect of the marketing role.”

Decisiveness is going to be key, according to Anand Thaker, Martech Industry Expert and Growth Advisor. Never easy when there are more than 7,000 options to choose from: “Marketers have enhanced automation, data, and analytics to navigate the complex marketplace. Together with seasoned experience, marketing leaders with highly collaborative teams making smarter decisions are critical to brands. AI-enablement and empowerment will magnify you and your team’s strengths.”

Rockstar CMO Editor Ian Truscott adds: “Perhaps, as we enter a new decade it’s time for marketers to step back from all that is shiny and take a fresh look at their goals, what they actually need to achieve them.” 

And equally a time to rethink work environments: “What will be interesting to see is if, due to the scarcity of available seasoned talent, companies that are more traditional will open up remote positions to secure the best talent. The vast majority of Pardot and Marketo Champions that I know are keen to work remotely and view required onsite work as a chore, as seen in my late 2019 Marketing Operations Compensation Survey results,” McNamara reveals.

Brearton adds: “I’d like to see 2020 become the year of the MarTech professional (and all equivalent titles). To realize the true value of all of the innovative technology available requires training and skills to ensure that systems are fully utilized. I’m hoping that companies will carve out budget for training and invest in their MarTech teams.”

MarTech Alliance, CEO & founder, Carlos Doughty, concurs: "2020 will be the year there is an spike in enterprises restructuring their marketing teams to double down on martech. I'm already seeing this where organisations recognise they have gaps in marketing tech knowledge and experience that they either need to up-skill their teams in or introduce new hires. This shouldn't mean all martech and data thinking though, the timeless marketing fundamentals will remain as important as ever, from people to planning". 

What are your 2020 martech predications?

Topics:MarTechCarlos Doughty