Marketing Technology: A 20 Year Perspective

Evolving technology and customizable user experiences are the two biggest drivers of change in lead generation programs. In order to embrace changes in how prospects are seeking and consuming information, businesses—especially those with a growth focus—are adopting new technology almost as quickly as it's evolving.

Ten years ago the first iPhone released, and the idea of mobile engagement was just getting started. It was centered around email. Launching fun and engaging campaigns took budgets larger than average companies had access to. Today mobile is mandatory and reaches far beyond the inbox. Thousands of apps allow any marketer and any budget to create exciting, captivating campaigns.

If you’re feeling nostalgic, check out MarketingSherpa’s Viral Marketing Hall of Fame 2007.

One glance at the now infamous MarTech Landscape graphic and you’ll see why its creator describes it as "mind-boggling."


Marketing Technology Landscape Supergraphic (2016) 


3,874 marketing technology solutions crammed onto a single slide—almost twice as many listings as the previous year’s graphic. the rate that technology is advancing is showing no signs of slowing...but where is it taking us?

The first half of the decade’s technology pumped out data faster than marketers could use it. Then technology emerged that began to process all of the data created and help marketers automate.

We did so faster than we could make sense of what we were doing, and many lost touch with the human aspect of marketing. Not shocking in hindsight, our audiences didn’t want to be blasted with as much information as we could send them. To get engagement required a more personal touch. Today's marketers have become savvy technologists and are the stewards of the largest tech stacks within their organization, often allocating more than a quarter of their budget to tech (Gartner 2016-2017 CMO Spend Survey). 

Most recently technology has taken a try at predicting the future. Emerging technologies use predictive analytics and artificial intelligence to deliver what our audience wants before they even know they want it...we think.

So what’s the future of marketing technology?

This week thousands of practitioners in the marketing technology space will gather in San Francisco for the annual MarTech Conference. Most are hoping for a peak at what cutting edge teams are doing, looking for innovative ways they can help ensure they aren't left behind in the rapidly advancing world of marketing technology. 


Here's a glimpse into what is being said about @MarTechConf 


Only time will reveal her truth, but history would suggest the future of marketing technology is less “big data” and more “smart data”, that the most successful software will solve multiple problems and that open API’s will be a must. Future marketeers will seek to integrate their platforms,  consolidate their data and simplify their tech stacks. Sure new tech will continue to emerge, but we marketers have been drinking from the firehose long enough and I believe the next decade will finally quench our thirst.