Even industries that once resisted adopting new technology have been increasingly digitizing their operations in recent years, and MarTech—especially in the SaaS sector—is booming as a result. This exponential development has led to shifts in everything from martech recruiting to how marketers acquire and use customer data.
It’s not yet time to talk about these shifts in the past tense, either. The digital landscape is still evolving, and with it how consumers interact with that space. Staying on top of the latest trends is crucial for any business leader in the martech sector who wants to position their business for maximum growth. In that spirit, let’s look at the big news in marketing technology today.
Virtual Events Are Going To the Next Level
The idea of Zooming in to a networking event or social gathering is no longer novel. Now, companies across industries are leveraging new ways to combat attendee fatigue and resolve the early issues with virtual conferences, trade fairs, and launches. In the process, they’re re-shaping what attendees expect when they log in to a virtual event.
These strategies to improve virtual events are as varied as the companies hosting them. The Essence Festival in summer 2021 used an innovative hybrid format, including surprise content for both virtual and on-the-ground attendees that helped everyone feel welcome and engaged. With Sephora’s all-virtual 2021 event, a 3D environment with ample live content sought to re-create the live event experience in an entirely virtual space.
The bottom line is, virtual and hybrid events can be a powerful tool for customer engagement—but those customers have increasingly high expectations. The bar has been raised, and attendees no longer have the patience for boring pre-recorded content, bland programming, and bad audio they had in 2020.
Major Brands Are Restricting Cross-app Tracking
In mid-February, Google announced they would be introducing new user privacy measures on Android phones through their Android Privacy Sandbox, including restrictions on cross-app tracking. Along with this, they plan to limit third-party data sharing and explore options for blocking covert data collection. This follows in the footsteps of the anti-tracking measures taken by Apple with their September 2020 iPhone update.
Companies that rely on this data to add value to their audiences, most notably Facebook’s rebranded Meta universe, are already seeing a significant revenue hit from the Apple update. Once Android users can also opt out of tracking, they’re likely to take another blow. Martech companies that utilize tracking will need to get creative and find new ways to gather their consumer data if they want to avoid a similar loss.
Marketers Want Better Marketing Automation Platforms
Recently released research from the growth marketing provider Act-On shows that 55% of marketing professionals don’t feel their needs are met by their current automation platform, and 18% don’t feel confident in their contact database.
What are these users looking for from their automation platform? First and foremost: customer support, which 95% of respondents cited as a key factor. This was followed by ease of use (40%) and the platform’s analytic and reporting capability (29%).
While these findings might look like bad news for SaaS martech companies, they also represent an opportunity. More than half of current marketing automation platform users want something better. Software developers that can ease current users’ pain points will be best positioned to keep these customers (or steal them from the competition).
Staying Informed to Seize Opportunities
A 2021 poll of more than 1,000 marketers worldwide found that 76% used martech tools in 2021, and more than ¼ of those who didn’t planned to add it to their strategy. At the same time, marketers are shifting how they engage with customers. While 82% of respondents currently invested in social media marketing campaigns, only 39% planned to continue doing so in the coming year. Instead, companies are investing in more personalized approaches, with 70% of respondents using Account Based Marketing, up from 15% in 2020.
These major shifts in how marketers target customers also changes what they need in their marketing technology, and there have been similar shifts in how customer data is collected and analyzed. It’s more crucial than ever that martech companies keep up with industry news so they can adapt to changes as they happen.