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Letter from San Francisco: MarTech and the second age of the machine

08 May 2016, www.marketingsociety.com
By Florence Garnier, Senior Consultant London & Partner France, The Observatory International

In the 70s, San Francisco was a Global hub of culture, known worldwide for hippies and radicals… Nowadays San Francisco is home to a staggering 2000 tech companies, including the likes of Twitter and Instagram. Some say that is changing the “soul” of the city…


As I landed in San Francisco’s airport to attend MarTech 2016, it struck me that this evolution of the city is similar to the changes impacting the marketing industry, as Marketing and Technology are no longer two separate worlds…

Dealing with data, the ‘always-on’ customer relationship and the need for dynamic, bespoke content requires software to support marketing operations.  So the Martech industry is now booming.  And three times a year, marketing and technology experts gather in San Francisco, Boston, and London for the international Martech Fair.

The Martech supplier landscape has grown from 150 to 3,500 vendors in just 5 years
Scott Brinker, speaker at the conference and head of the Chiefmartec blog informed the audience that the Martech arena has grown from 150 to 3500 vendors in just 5 years… The San Francisco event was focused on “machine learning” – the study of pattern recognition and computational learning theory in artificial intelligence. Machine learning is evolving fast in the marketing industry, as automated marketing grows.

Everything starts with data
Search, location, social, interest, purchase and consumption data are key to understanding customers’ behavior, needs and aspirations. Martech vendors are building tools to offer a unified vision of multiple data sources, and predictive data analysis and modeling tools to exploit patterns and identify risks and opportunities.

In the near future, cognitive software, (software that mimics the functioning of the human brain) will allow chat bots (chatting robots), virtual sales representatives and much more based on recognition of human emotions by machines.

Content is coordinated, distributed and repurposed by software
Creating content can be difficult and expensive for marketers. New martech is coming to the market for storing, performance monitoring and repurposing content. Other vendors are focusing on making specific assets more visible and efficient such as videos and also language optimisation.  Specialised content management software for B-to-B and local advertising is also quickly developing.

CMOs must develop their Martech strategy and assess impact on marketing resources
Just as San Francisco is absorbing and developing its new identity as a technology leader, so too must CMOs adapt as the next big marketing industry priority by absorbing resources in-house, develop their software “stack”, and integrating their agencies, suppliers and technology vendors to this new ecosystem.

It’s the second age of the CMO…

Read the article here

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