Marketers are the first to feel the pressure of emerging technology. It comes from all sides; from competitors, as new tools come to market, are adopted, and become essential for effective strategies; and from customers, as individuals and businesses show preferences for new channels and methods of communication.
As the number of channels grows, the potential touchpoints through which marketers can engage customers and understand their behaviors is rapidly expanding. Formally, we refer to it as “proliferation,” but I think of it as a blizzard.
Yes, a blizzard of data that marketers need to sift through to determine what matters and what doesn’t. The ones that matter I think of as the “beacons in the blizzard.”
To learn more about how marketers and their customers are approaching emerging technology and this subsequent blizzard, Marketo surveyed members of the Marketing Nation and non-Marketo users from around the world on their priorities for 2017. We broke down the data by region. Thankfully, everyone is excited about the potential for new touchpoints, but marketers in the United States shared different priorities from their counterparts in Australia, France, Germany, and the United Kingdom.
Typically, American marketers adopt new technology categories faster than their global counterparts. However, while U.S. teams are more focused on figuring out the “why’s” behind customer behavior, European marketers in particular are usually ahead of the curve in adopting “cool” technology. This may account for some of the disparities that we see below.
Among the findings:
- 57% of all respondents in the U.S. believe predictive analytics will be the primary technology they leverage in order to best engage with their customers, compared to only 11% of international marketers.
- 50% of U.S. marketers believe their customers will be utilizing machine learning next year, while only a quarter of international marketers believe their customers will be using machine learning.
- As marketers continue to prove demonstrable value and ROI, they cite reporting and analytics as a critical need, with 37% of everyone surveyed listing it as a top priority; interestingly, however, U.S. marketers feel more strongly about this need than their international counterparts (42% vs. 34%).
- 31% of international marketers believe IoT would be the primary channel for interacting with customers in 2017, while only 16% of U.S. marketers believe the same.
- 37% of all marketers feel better reporting and analytics to make sense of all the data is the key to successfully maintaining customer relationships, while 33% say they require a platform to keep up with the speed and volume of interactions.
- American marketers are more pessimistic about the impact of new touchpoints on their engagement with customers, with only 48% saying they are excited compared to 62% of marketers around the world.
- More than a quarter (26%) of U.S. respondents feel they don’t have a handle on existing touch points, juxtaposed with only 14% of international marketers reporting the same concern.
So yes, it is a blizzard, but it’s one that’s full of opportunity, not only to weather the storm but to find and capitalize on those beacons. And don’t let the disparities between U.S. and international marketers concern you, even if your team spans multiple continents. The channels of communication and technology means may vary, but it is important to keep yourself laser-focused on the ultimate goal: winning the battle for the hearts and minds of your customers.
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