In 2019, the global marketing technology industry value surpassed US$121bn worldwide, which represented year-on-year growth of more than 22%.
During the past decade, the number of martech solutions grew from 150 in 2011 to more than 8,000 in 2020, according to Statista.
Although this expansion is phenomenal (albeit in the US), in reality, the majority of these solutions are based around data management, social engagement and content marketing – all vital, but not machine learning combined with artificial intelligence (AI) levels of ‘smart’.
Hence why in the UK, when New Statesman Media Group asked senior B2B marketers about their practices, just 14% said they had adopted smart tech including AI and machine learning into their marketing campaigns, with 44% not having considered such a move.
There is clearly a disconnect between the global value of martech and how many campaigns, especially in the UK, are pushing these boundaries.
It is time to break down the barriers.
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Myth 1: It is too expensive
As technology evolves and the martech industry expands, more developers can offer solutions and applications competitively. And it is not the case of outsourcing entire strands of your B2B marketing campaigning to external martech companies, but more about transforming your own stack internally.
Indeed, from automation to data analysis, there are plenty of free to low-priced solutions already on the market.
These are key to any ambitious B2B marketing organisation, helping them stem money loss by managing customer relations, optimising campaign reach and learning how to effectively use data.
According to Invespcro, it is five times less expensive to keep an existing customer than to sell to a new one.
The next step of weaving AI into your workflow will incur cost and is semi-reliant on the data available. Yet, weighed against the initial outlay, there is a multitude of benefits that will bring in new business.
Through better time management, improved customer experiences, and enhanced and evolving personalisation, your lead generation quality is likely to head on an upward curve.
Myth 2: We already have loads of page views and users
To be successful in B2B marketing, there is a need to fully understand your audience, what they want, and when/how they want it. It should also be a case of quality over quantity.
This represents a massive amount of data to analyse and make decisions upon, in order to make it effective as possible.
It is only martech that can turn this deluge of data into meaningful actions.
Behavioural science has always been the perfect fit for B2B marketers; it can help predict a buyer’s most likely actions.
But it is only with the explosion of machine learning (computer-based algorithms that improve automatically through experience) that behavioural science has become a game changer.
You can essentially target your audience at the very moment they are likely to take positive action – better for you, better for the customer/client.
Myth 3: We will give up control on our data privacy
Somehow, the concept of AI or smart tech dealing exclusively with data makes marketers and business owners nervous. Will there be a leak? How can we stop the machines?
The fact remains: human error is key.
While it is true that AI can solve complex problems with a level of consistency and speed unmatched by human intelligence, the same solutions can only learn and dynamically react through an organisation’s cybersecurity protocol in the first place.
After all, AI only exists to empower humans or, in this case, a marketing workforce – we choose the problems it solves. If we get it right, AI can only follow – and improve.
So, as always, the key to data privacy is to be as open as possible.
It should go without saying, but modern marketing, especially B2B, is about a value exchange, and that includes your data.
In 2018, The Direct Marketing Association found that 88% of UK people claimed transparency about how their data is collected and used is important when deciding to share information.
Meanwhile, a recent talk from Gartner concluded that “It is okay to ask your customers for their data… if it is relevant to them in the moment.”
Myth 4: Martech is a fad
We return to the opening statement: Martech is big business. The combined UK and US marketing technology sector is currently worth an estimated $65bn according to Bristol University’s Centre of Digital Futures and WARC.
If this is a fad, it is a rather valuable one.
The key to accepting martech is here to stay – and to making the most of the almost endless cycle of tech available – is for the entirety of an organisation to become far more data-savvy.
As Anand Thaker, martech industry expert and growth adviser, wraps up when speaking to the Martech Alliance in 2020: “Marketing leaders with highly collaborative teams making smarter decisions are critical to brands. AI-enablement and empowerment will magnify you and your team’s strengths.”
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