3 Ways Technology is Impacting Marketing Operations

I was reading an article on chiefmartech.com this morning while enjoying my cup of coffee (which I almost spit out) when I read that “The average enterprise uses 1,295 cloud services.” What really caught my attention is that Marketing is at the top of this list, with an average of 120 cloud services used! One hundred twenty?! That escalated quickly. In my day, all you really needed was a website and a good email tool, right? So, this got me counting technologies in my head. You have your marketing automation tools, display and advertising tech, video and content production and hosting…I mean, we’re probably using 120 different technologies on our website alone. I guess 120 marketing technologies wasn’t an exaggeration.

So what does this mean for marketers? Well, with over 7,040 marketing technology options to choose from (I know you’ve seen the graphic), and 120 or so deployed in your organization for marketing functions, the conversation around marketing technology is changing. It’s no longer about getting the “right” tools, it’s more about figuring out how to use them to their full capacity, and more importantly, how to connect them in creative ways to create kick-ass experiences for your customers while ensuring efficiencies for your internal teams. Here are a few ways we see  technology impacting marketing operations and how we need to respond in order to take advantage of them.

Sales joins marketing in unprecedented ways

The traditional lines between sales and marketing are now blurred. Sales Development Reps tend to split their time between sales and marketing,and often switch teams every time there’s a new organizational change (am I right?!). The reason we’re seeing this is because SDRs are performing both a marketing and a sales function. I’m not going to tell you where they should sit, but what’s important is that you consider your SDRs as part of your marketing family. And it doesn’t stop with the SDRs– the rest of sales is starting to do more and more marketing activities as sales technologies continue to grow and mature. Here’s some examples:

Email, SMS and phone campaigns

Sales is using tools like Outreach and Salesloft to automate their email, SMS, and voice messages to prospects. These tools are creating huge efficiencies in lead management and follow up. In an earlier blog post, I wrote about effective lead hand-offs and how important it is for marketing to provide essential information about the prospect to enable sales to follow up appropriately. With so many tools at our fingertips, marketing should no longer need to relay this information manually. Instead, use technology and collaborate with sales to create triggers that will choose the correct follow up messaging and cadence for you–and even better, you can track performance to understand which sales messages are working best!


Buyers are changing. They’re spending more time researching their purchase long before they get on a call with a sales rep, and when they have a question, they want it answered real-time. Enter the rapid growth of platforms like Drift, a chat platform that sits on your website enabling prospects to chat with a company representative in real-time. Customers get answers and sales reps get deeper into the funnel to connect with buyers who are still researching.

Now you may say that chat as a channel has been around for a long time, and you’re right. But the technology is advancing and new trends are emerging. We’re seeing  better targeting so prospective buyers can ask questions in context of where they are on the website without leaving. We’re seeing AI being deployed to automate responses and actually make sense (no more “I’m sorry. I don’t understand.” repeated over and over again). We’re seeing “contact us” webforms being replaced with bot chats who are collecting the same information but with a better user experience. We’re seeing sales reps providing “chat now” links in their communication to prospects. We’re seeing better analytics and data, with platforms being able to pick up and append lead sources, geo location information, UMTs,query strings, and more. And lastly, we’re seeing more advanced and tighter integrations with marketing automation platforms and CRMs allowing you to keep the conversation going after the chat window closes, and track it all to get your ROI.

A lot of exciting things are happening with chat, but this can present itself as a challenge when it doesn’t fit into your current lead management model. Marketing & Sales Operations teams need to work together and look at their lead management and funnel stages with a new set of eyes. If sales reps aren’t responsible for engaging with prospects at the top of the funnel, can you add an exception for chat? An “exception” doesn’t mean you don’t track it or define it. You’ll still need to clearly define when those exceptions are allowed, who’s responsible for what, the rules of engagement, and rules to ensure you’re passing the right data between systems to be able to track the activities, assign “credit” to the marketing campaigns and sales reps involved, and move prospects through the stages based on these new changes. It may sound like a lot, but the good news is that once you define it, you can automate it by connecting your technologies. This creates an amazing experience for your customers and sees higher marketing-generated and influenced deals!

“{{first.Name}}” just isn’t enough 

Marketers have been talking about the importance of personalization in campaigns since the beginning of time. But what we mean by “personalization” is changing and getting more sophisticated. By connecting your Marketing Automation Platforms to tools like Infinity or Tealium, which capture, process, and store virtually unlimited attributes and touchpoints across their audience, marketers are finally able to take their Big Data and transform it into meaningful and actionable data points. This means we need to start pushing the envelope on personalization–adding first name is great, but can we go deeper? Can you dynamically promote the last product they viewed on your website? Can you include imagery that resonates with where they are geographically located? With today’s technology these examples and more can be done in an automated fashion–and at scale. 

This means marketers are now expected to launch large campaigns while providing a personalized experience and 1:1 communication. In order to do this, marketers need to think about what data points are most important for their customers, where those data points are being collected, and how the data needs to integrate in order to create cohesive cross-channel experiences that are unique to each customer. 

AI and predictive marketing

When marketing automation platforms first hit the market, marketers everywhere were ecstatic to be able to use “if..then…” statements in their campaigns and automate multiple journeys or “drip campaigns” based on a set of criteria. While this was a huge win for marketers, we were still limited by fixed assumptions–input, output. But now, Artificial Intelligence Marketing is exploding, and we have the tools to collect and process massive amounts of data in order to make connections, at scale. Companies like Netflix and Amazon are using AI and machine learning to recommend what you may be most interested in watching or purchasing next. Uberlip relies on Bombora buyer intent signals and AI to be able to successfully recommend content that the visitor us most likely interested in. 

For marketers, this changes how we approach lead management strategy. Traditional lead management is about knowing where the lead is in the funnel, and pushing them to the next step. But with AI, we’re not pushing them to their next step, but rather we are predicting their next move and are waiting for them with the content and experience they’re looking for. 

With over 7,000 marketing technologies on the market today, it’s hard to not get distracted by all the shiny objects. If there’s a business need or a new capability you’re looking to unlock that one of your current technologies can’t fulfill, then it’s okay to start looking elsewhere. Otherwise, take a look at your current stack and start identifying how you can maximize them. More importantly, think about how to connect your technologies to create cohesive experiences and delight your customers. As always, Relationship One is here to help. Reach out if you’d like to discuss how marketing technology can enhance your customer’s experience.

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