April 2, 2023

Syed Ahmed is Senior Vice President of Engineering mobile software.

Technological innovations are moving forward at breakneck speed today, and each day heralds the development of the latest AI capabilities that will “change the way you do X.” What usually accompanies this new technology is the assurance that it will positively change your life – assuming you are lucky enough to have access to it. These promises are most prevalent in the business world, where decision makers are inundated with a flood of inbound offers for product demonstrations with artificial intelligence that simultaneously save employees time, attract more customers, and boost profits.

Maybe these tech promises are true in some industries, but in marketing, they can be the word of mouth that makes an industry buzz. When it comes to marketing automation, the hype around hot new technologies doesn’t always match reality, deliver on its promises or address real customer needs or pain points.

Really understand today’s marketing industry

Today, almost all marketing activities are conducted through technology, and marketers spend most of their time on platforms that support marketing database management and marketing automation. Database management is simple – marketers use a “source of truth” database to store and update all relevant information about their marketing contacts. This information may include how contacts interact with the brand’s social channels, what events they have attended in the past 12 months, and what resources they have downloaded from the website.

Marketing automation is more complex than database management, but it’s an integral part of marketers’ daily lives. With automation, marketers can pre-configure entire campaigns—segment audience lists, build email sequences to attract and nurture leads, and implement tracking metrics—and launch them with a single click. This process may sound nuanced, but it’s easier than building and executing the entire campaign manually, and the technology powering these platforms isn’t actually that complex.

What marketers need are simple tools to help them with the operational aspects of marketing — like segment cloners and visual customer journey maps. By delegating administrative tasks to automation, marketers have the opportunity to free up their time and brainpower for more creative, thoughtful work, such as developing advanced personalization strategies, developing complex nurturing campaigns and curriculum revisions based on performance data.

What to Consider When Using Advanced Technology

There is no denying that technological advancement is a good thing, and to its credit, some of the biggest players in the marketing space have taken great strides to develop new high-tech solutions in the name of innovation and customer service. However, sometimes, high-tech products such as performing AI-driven forecasting activities can be more than substance. While an AI-driven platform can tell you which audience segments will be most profitable in six months, this feature is usually reserved for the highest paying subscribers. Also, the user experience can be clunky and confusing. So, in some cases, “advanced technology” in marketing is proving to be less of a “bang” than a “buck”.

Any marketer who has had to defend budgets from stakeholders knows how difficult it is to get funding for basic marketing needs like campaigns and staffing — let alone a premium tech product like artificial intelligence. In fact, most marketers today are using technology stacks that haven’t been updated in years. The truth is that advanced technology is often not available to many end users.

Technology Should Make Your Life Easier

That’s not to say marketers aren’t interested in flashy new technology — most of them probably are. But when it comes to their jobs, marketers are mostly concerned with whether technology will make their work lives easier.

Before marketers can even consider high tech like artificial intelligence, they need to be confident that their tech stack is already optimized for their specific business and customers. Without a custom solution, marketing teams have little control over important factors such as audience segmentation, campaign customization, and behavioral data capture. One-size-fits-all solutions may have proven successful over the past few decades, but today, they are often kept in the dark due to the ubiquity of brand communications in every digital channel. With end-to-end personalization, marketers’ hard work is more likely to translate into more connections with audiences, deeper cross-channel engagement, and more leads to customers.

In the future, artificial intelligence certainly holds promise to shape the marketing industry in a meaningful way. Engineers can leverage the technology to design personalized customer journeys, optimized for each brand’s conversion, upsell and retention strategies. But as important as the technology itself is its accessibility – for any industry-changing technology development, it needs to be priced and designed so that most end users can utilize it effectively.

If the players behind the hottest tech innovations are interested in moving the entire marketing industry forward, they need more than a few early adopters to gain traction. With a more solid understanding of what marketers experience every day, technology developers can better move the industry forward.

in conclusion

Designing new, advanced marketing technology is a good thing, but marketing technology providers should ensure their innovations are accessible to all and easy to implement and learn. Like most professionals, marketers are busy and don’t have enough time to explore the unknown depths of new technology. Ultimately, marketing professionals need simple, efficient technology that lets them get the job done and move on to the next step.

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