The craziness of 2020 led to a massive COVID-19 bubble in the proceeding years. In 2022, the stock market took a slide, inflation went up. And we’re in a recession, but not really in a recession.
The bottom line is budgets are getting cut, and marketers need to channel their inner minimalist and achieve more with less. Your ability to understand what’s effective at any given moment and then adapt has never been more critical.
In this post, we’ll discuss five trends that’ll shape marketing in the coming year. The ideas come from our panel of marketing tech experts who’ve seen just about every MarTech trend to date— Jon Miller, CMO at DemandBase, and Adam Grecco, Product Evangelist at Amplitude Analytics.
Click here to listen to “The Stack” episode where we discuss we discuss these trends here or any of your favorite podcast platforms.
Table of contents:
- Trend #1: The First-Party Data Revolution Continues
- Trend #2: The Rise of the Self-Service Buyer
- Trend #3: Rethink Marketing Attribution and Budgets
- Trend #4: Flexible Tech Stacks with Trimmed Walled Gardens
- Trend #5: The Convergence of Marketing, Sales, and Product Teams
- Are You Ready to Adapt to the Marketing Stack Trends of Tomorrow?
Trend #1: The First-Party Data Revolution Continues
Collecting first-party data will remain a major MarTech trend in 2023, continuing to build upon the significant advancements made over the past decade.
This complements the much-needed decline of third-party data, which has caused many to question their marketing tactics due to privacy concerns and other related issues.
For years, companies have skirted the hard work of creating meaningful customer relationships and instead relied on the convenience of Facebook and Google ads. But recent changes to privacy laws making cookies obsolete are compelling businesses to build more direct one-on-one connections with customers—something that should've happened two decades ago. Required logins for various websites will open up a world where users actively choose who can track them—ultimately improving industry standards across the board.
To be successful in this space, you need to rethink how you collect first-party data. It’s not just about targeting people anymore. It’s about providing an engaging customer experience that results in meaningful data insights and building trust with those customers.
You need to use first, second, and third-party data together.
You have the power to design personalized plans, combine data sources and tap into new technologies from AI, machine learning, and cloud computing—the possibilities are almost endless when it comes to innovating with one-to-one nurtured relationships.
Privacy concerns remain a major issue in B2C markets—individuals are understandably hesitant to share their personal information. Businesses are looking for other sources, including firmographic info, technographic, and intent data, as these focus on accounts rather than individual people. Companies don't have to sacrifice privacy for success in leveraging external datasets. To maximize value from all available resources, investment in CDPs helps collect, clean, and organize customer information without compromising trust—making them invaluable for any company looking to refine their ABM processes today.
- Set up a strong website tagging infrastructure to help leverage your data. Use tools like UTM.io, Amplitude, and GTM to track customer behavior.
- Gather data through surveys and questionnaires.
- Add an SDK to your app to gather data from user actions.
- Use a CDP to clean, organize, and improve customer data accuracy.
- Collect offline data from sources like POS systems or call centers.
- Create lead magnets such as discounts, freebies, newsletters, or other marketing materials to entice people to provide their personal information.
- Partner with B2B companies and services to gain access to their users.
First-party data is not a one-to-one substitution for third-party data. You’re not going to use first-party because they’re coming from different places and handling different information. If you want to compensate for the loss of third-party data, first-party data will be one of your choices.
- David Raab
- CDP Institute
Trend #2: The Rise of the Self-Service Buyer
There has been a dramatic shift towards self-service buyers in the past few years. Millennials and Gen Z demand more control over their buying experience, preferring to research and validate their findings with peers before engaging with a sales team.
The stats are eye-opening—77% of buyers say that once they identified a need, their first step was to do their own research, whether checking review sites, conducting a Google search, reaching out to a peer, or seeking advice from a consultant or analyst. Only 23% contacted a sales representative.
With more Gen Z and Millenials making purchasing decisions, sales techniques are changing. These groups don't want to be talked at by a salesperson; they would rather do their own research and decide independently. That’s driving trends like product-led growth.
These folks are more likely to buy something from you if you have an intuitive and informative product demo followed by a well-crafted trial version.
You need to adjust your practices to cater to the self-service buyer and focus on marketing strategies that enable customers to proceed through their purchasing journey without direct sales involvement.
Product-led marketing and product marketing are two strategies that can help you win the hearts of self-service buyers.
With product marketing, you can create content such as blog posts, videos, and webinars that detail the features and benefits of your offerings. Product-led marketing lets people self-serve through a feature-rich free tier or trial version of your product.
How Can You Take Advantage of the Shift to Self-Service?
- Focus marketing efforts on providing accessible, comprehensive content that answers the questions buyers are likely to have.
- Make demos and free trials available and have a marketing plan to promote them.
- Be in more places beyond your website and offer buyers a variety of sources on their buying journey.
- Cultivate user-generated content to drive peer-to-peer marketing.
Trend #3: Rethink Marketing Attribution and Budgets
Attribution is not a one-size-fits-all marketing model. Every marketing channel serves its purpose and needs to be credited accordingly. Say you posted a video on LinkedIn which got someone talking about your brand in a random conversation.
That conversation led to an online search and, eventually, an email inquiry. In this case, marketing analytics would give credit to search marketing, but should it? Isn’t it the LinkedIn post that started the chain reaction?
Today's B2B buying process is far from a linear journey. It's an intricate, multifaceted soccer match with moments of passing the ball back and forth to score the goal. Such complexity makes it extremely challenging for marketers to demonstrate ROI on campaigns as sources are constantly being grouped together. With each player on the field affecting progress toward purchase decisions, defending marketing budgets may be a tougher proposition than ever before.
Marketing teams must move away from last-click (or any click) attribution models and focus on understanding marketing touchpoints, even if they are difficult to quantify. Companies can use AI to help marketing teams better understand which channels and marketing strategies have influenced purchases or leads, even if it’s unclear what the exact influence was.
Incrementality is another tactic to experiment with in marketing stack trends. This type of attribution allows marketing teams to A/B test the impact marketing channels have had on a sale or lead, not just the last marketing channel.
Attribution has been on a downward spiral, and those who claim to be able to measure marketing performance accurately are misguided. By 2023, this trend will be more apparent than ever—with experts relying on manual methods or leveraging AI and machine learning technology for incremental optimization of their advertising efforts instead of expecting significant results from any particular action alone.
What Should You Do with Unreliable Attribution Models in This Economic Environment?
- Leverage qualitative data such as surveys, interviews, and customer feedback to understand marketing performance.
- Focus marketing efforts on marketing tactics that build relationships, such as podcasts, webinars, or virtual events.
- Continually interview your prospects and customers to understand their desires, pain points, and marketing preferences.
- Personalize your email marketing campaigns through split testing and marketing automation.
- Focus on interactive content like polls, quizzes, and assessments — over 80% of B2B users find this type more engaging than static content.
Trend #4: Flexible Tech Stacks with Trimmed Walled Gardens
Building a suite of tools for the ultimate all-in-one solution comes with proprietary benefits for the provider. But with marketers having to be more ruthless with budgets for tech stacks, walled gardens are no longer the most cost-effective option.
Instead, consider open platforms and technologies that allow you to customize and build marketing solutions tailored to your needs. This way, you can “mix and match” marketing tools from different providers, allowing you to pick the best marketing solutions rather than being locked into any one vendor’s offering.
While it can be tempting to make an all-in commitment with a single tech stack, the long-term costs are often too high for mid-market and startup companies. You risk losing out on pricing power without proper oversight during negotiations or when engaging multiple vendors. That's why most SMEs stick to the modern approach, which requires thoughtfully stitching together solutions from different providers—that way, you retain control over prices and remain agile enough to adapt to changes if needed.
How to Take Advantage of Open MarTech Tools
- Start with user data to understand marketing performance and marketing ROI. Use this data to inform marketing decisions and future marketing strategies.
- Focus on automation to streamline marketing processes and free up marketing teams for more strategic tasks.
- Look for easily extensible marketing solutions, allowing marketers to add on marketing tools as needed.
- Invest in solutions that integrate easily with existing marketing tech stacks, avoiding the need for additional coding or complex APIs.
Trend #5: The Convergence of Marketing, Sales, and Product Teams
An organization’s marketing, sales, and product teams traditionally operate in silos. Even when collaborating on marketing activities, it often felt like each team was working independently of the other.
However, with marketing analytics trends showing that marketing, sales, and product teams all drive marketing performance, organizations should look to bridge these silos and create truly integrated marketing teams.
This requires marketing, sales, and product teams to align around common marketing goals and objectives. As marketing analytics evolves, marketing teams should look for ways to capture data across all buying journeys, from marketing to sales and products.
This will enable marketers to drive better performance by optimizing marketing strategies and tactics that support the entire customer journey.
It isn't enough just to have shared goals, cross-functional teams also need a shared way of doing. Take a look at the data sources needed to measure success and uncover insights. First, ask if that data is connected to give you a complete view of the customer journey. Then, challenge how accessible it is for everyone to dig into the analytics, spot opportunities or issues, and take action. Unless you have both, it's unlikely you'll see a meaningful shift in how these groups collaborate.
- Charlie Windschill
- Director of Growth Marketing
How Do You Break Down Organizational Silos for Better Results?
- Establish a shared marketing goal across marketing, sales, and product teams.
- Develop marketing strategies that are designed to drive customer engagement from marketing through sales and products.
- Identify marketing KPIs relevant to the customer journey and measure marketing performance across marketing, sales, and product teams.
- Share marketing analytics insights with marketing, sales, and product teams to drive marketing decisions.
- Invest in marketing technology solutions enabling marketing teams to capture data across the customer journey.
As your company grows, you'll need more people in marketing ops and MarTech. Although they're not quite the same, their skills tend to overlap. Additionally, analytics will become more critical as time goes on. With data sources changing constantly, you'll always need creative workers who can bring new opportunities to light.
- David Raab
- CDP Institute
Are You Ready to Adapt to the Marketing Stack Trends of Tomorrow?
As we move into 2023, it’s critical that you keep a finger on the pulse of marketing stack trends. Next-gen marketers who can anticipate change and pivot accordingly will be well-positioned to weather any storms that come their way and emerge victorious.
At McGaw.io, our team of MarTech experts can help you navigate these waters and ensure your tech stack is primed for success in the year ahead. Ready to learn more? Contact us today to get started.
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