MarTech Insights from SiriusDecisions and #SDTechX

DES-633-Blog-Post-Graphic_Next-Wave-of-MartechWords can’t describe how excited I was when I heard that SiriusDecisions was having a tradeshow dedicated solely to marketing technology. As someone who lives and breathes this space and is huge fan of the work that Sirius does, it was like the perfect match of MarTech geeks converging in one location to talk technologies, process, data and analytics.

So I embarked on my cross-country journey to lovely San Francisco to attend #SDTechX with two real priorities in mind.

First, I wanted to see what Sirius had to say about what to expect in 2016. We’re in the midst of 2016 planning season and any last-minute insight into what I should be thinking about is obviously greatly appreciated.

Secondly, and the real reason I love going to these things, it’s an opportunity to talk to my peers about what they’re doing. I get to learn the various challenges they’re facing and see if I can either share my own experiences to help or get some guidance on my own tribulations.

What SiriusDecisions had to say about MarTech

With only a day-and-an-half to provide content, I thought Sirius did a great job getting the message across quickly and poignantly. Here’s what stuck with me.

1. The Shiny New Toy Syndrome

There are a lot of new and rapidly growing technologies out there that my peers and I are scooping up. We “have to have them” because we’re seeing everyone else add them to their stack.

Well, it was clear that Sirius thinks we should all pump our breaks just a little. They’re not necessarily advocating we stop buying entirely, but just be more thoughtful on what marketing technology we buy, how we buy and ultimately how we implement and use it.

Essentially, it’s key to have a rollout strategy before you buy so you’re not letting your shiny new toy collect dust while you figure things out.

2. Back to the Basics

Having technology isn’t a replacement for marketing fundamentals. For example, it’s a good idea to get away from high-volume, automated email touches and replace that with lower-volume, personalized, contextually triggered outreach across multiple channels.

Moreover, take the effort to align your content to the persona and buying stages. Having the technology is great, and you should certainly leverage it, but that doesn’t mean we can now stop working.

Both points really resonated with me and I’m sure with many others in the audience.

What My Marketing Peers are Talking About

As I mentioned earlier, the thing I like most about these events is the opportunity to connect with my peers and share battle stories. We talk about what we’re doing, where our challenges lie, how we overcame them and revel in our successes.

With over 400 of my fellow MarTech geeks there, it was hard not to get engulfed in conversation. Here are a few that stood out.

1. Katie Martell (Co-Founder & CMO of Cintell)

I was fortunate enough to meet Katie at the network reception on Wednesday night while discussing haboob’s in the Arizona dessert. However, we quickly realized that we’re both from the Boston area and have a common interest, our love for marketing.

We spent some time discussing a very common challenges we’re both facing: growing our teams and tech stacks to satisfy evolving needs. Cintell is a growing startup and they continue to seek the right balance of marketing technology and personnel with talent to help scale. She expressed to me that “finding people with cross-functional tech skills has gone a long way in supporting multiple needs.”

2. Sanjay Gala (Founder & CEO of SMARTe Inc)

I met Sanjay at Dreamforce a few months back and we spend some time reconnecting at Sirius. It was great to connect again because at Dreamforce I mentioned some of our data challenges and he offered some great tips I should consider.

Specifically, he told me, “Find ways to validate your data as much as possible. Whether you’re using technology or humans, ensuring your data is accurate will go a long way in driving credibility with your sales organization.” This sounds pretty obvious, but you’d be surprised how much of your data is compromised when you don’t give quality your full attention.

Well, Sanjay’s words of wisdom motivated me to make data quality a priority, and in a very short time we added some data normalization and augmentation….and it has been very well received! I was happy to mention to him that we’d made big improvements as a result, which certainly seemed to brighten his day. He left me with a few more tips, which I plan on leveraging.

3. Frannie Danzinger (Head of Market Development at 6sense)

I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned before my interest in adding predictive analytics to my tech stack, and Frannie was a pleasure to speak with on this topic.

Frannie and I have connected before from her time at Bizo, but I’m always hesitant to let vendors inform me why I need to be using their solution. Well, Frannie knows me well enough and understands how that tactic doesn’t work with me.

Instead we spent time talking holistically about predictive, the areas the industry that needs improvement, areas where things have really blossomed and what I was looking to get out of a solution.

We also talked a little about best practices, and I really left feeling like I can formulate a strategy. She noted and I agree that “technology across all vendors is getting stronger, but there’s still work to be done around the services piece.” This may be partly due to the fact that most MarTech solutions are so new that the vendors aren’t quite sure of all the ways they may provide accompanying services, but this will surely change in short time.

I had many more conversations, but these three stuck out to me. Some of the other topics I know mentioned were how I was leveraging my business intelligence (BI) tool, and what the things I was looking at were.

I also spent some time encouraging a colleague to get the benefits of the benchmarking service that Sirius offers to give their organization goals they’d like to achieve and locate areas of improvements.

Of course, there were some other non-professional relationships that while didn’t necessarily drive strategy, they did help strengthen the bond and relationships I foster by attending these events.

The inaugural #SDTechX was a smashing success, and I’m counting down the days (359 days and counting) to Austin Texas next year!

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