Experts: These 8 MarTech developments are bound to make your life better

marketing-technology-developments

In part two of the future of marketing software we asked our panel of experts what development in email marketing and marketing automation tools is going to make the life of the marketer easier in the year ahead.

As well as their big wish (either realistic or not) for marketers in 2016. What would you love to see happen in #MarTech in 2016?

Marketing technology developments that will improve the life of marketers

In our previous article, we looked at the trends in email marketing and automation for 2016 and beyond. But what are the developments in email marketing and marketing automation tools that are going to have an impact and make the life of the marketer easier?

Play with new tech through webapps to quickly test your ideas

The easy availability of web apps that perform specific functions easily and quickly. This requires knowledge of ‘what to do’ and some orchestration of the activity (and discussions on security) but the fact you can quickly play with new tech – for example to try A/B testing with Optimizely or quickly create new marketing pages with Unbounce – means that marketers can be much more agile, quickly testing new ideas.

Daniel Kirby, Founder of The Marketing Technology Association and CEO of marketing technology agency Techdept.

Machine learning and predictive analytics free up time for strategy

The concept of suggesting tailored next best actions on a constant basis is intriguing. Such information can be great to generate online leads and level customer retention by offering relevant content and optimizing publications. Furthermore, I am fascinated by automatically customized content and delivery. E.g. a marketing automation to pick the best subject line or best send time for each recipient. With such features marketers can concentrate on what they ought to do: Think about marketing strategy and messaging as well as devise and develop creatives and campaigns.

René Kulka – Email Marketing Evangelist at optivo, Consultant, and author of E-Mail-Marketing: Das umfassende Praxis-Handbuch

Natural language processing technology to evaluate and improve email copy

I believe we’ll see higher use of automation in evaluating and (to a limited degree) actually writing email copy. This will make it easier for marketers to create effective emails. The underlying technology will use natural language processing to “understand” many different attributes of emails – not just key words, but also tone, subjects, writing style, etc. – and how those correlate with results. It will then assess new emails to predict which will work best.

Further, it will “explain” the reasons for its prediction and make suggestions for what to change. Some technology will go still further and actually write the copy, or at least snippets that can be assembled into a complete letter. This will not make copywriters obsolete, but it will free them to create more dramatically different messages, some of which will end up beating the old controls. The machines will only create incremental improvements on existing versions.

David Raab – expert in marketing technology and analytics. Raab Associates publishes VEST, a B2B Marketing Automation Vendor Selection Tool.

Playfully interactive interfaces means we will be in for a Drag and Drop everything

Over the last year, we have seen platforms adapt or improve their drag-and-drop email editors. Beyond what was dubbed WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) and editors that sort of worked (but not always). That is already a great win for production work and does make life easier, while keeping the flexibility. The web has become more interactive and especially the SAAS webapps are taking advantage in offering better interfaces.

I think this visual editing style will spread to other functionalities. Where many might not have them yet, most obvious candidates are setting up campaign flows, segmentation and selections for production as well as reporting and analytics.

Besides that, I am very curious to see if open-source marketing automation software like Mautic will take off and if it does, how it will develop over the coming years.

Jordie van Rijn – Email marketing consultant, MarTech enthusiast and founder of emailvendorselection.com

Built-in automatic testing tools and ROI insights

I think the amount of testing, and using data in our operations will increase. Thats why I am looking forward to vendors that built-in automatic testing tools, dynamic decision mechanisms, and so on. Marketing leadership will also request more insight into the return on investment from marketing campaigns and marketing programs. That’s why vendors that can provide end-to-end insight into marketing ROI will get more attention from marketers.

Tom De Baere – Senior Digital Strategist & Managing Partner, creating customer love at the agency invisible Puppy.

Advanced pattern-matching algorithms to discover trends in your audience base

Trying to figure out which is best causes loads of arguments and uncertainty within email marketing teams. Take the simple subject line. It’s an imperfect battle – due to the huge language variant space, without a robust test-and-learn plan it’s impossible to optimise.

Due to the aforementioned huge variant space, using advanced pattern-matching algorithms to discover trends in your audience base is key… and it saves the email marketer time, and makes them more money. Of course, as CEO of Phrasee, I’m [insanely heavily – red] biased, but that doesn’t make my point incorrect.

Parry Malm is Digital marketing’s Hannibal Smith and CEO of Phrasee; an artificial intelligence subject line optimiser.

Integration of channel attribution within platforms

Platforms have been importing and leveraging outside (of the platform) data for quite some time. One of the coolest things we’ve seen in a long time is the integration of attribution engines that can apply outside data to measure and show channel attribution within the platform via the UI.

John Caldwell – consultant on Email Marketing Vendor Selection, Integration, Operations, and Production at RedPill email.

Content and personalization tools can bring a bit of efficiency

One problem with email marketing is how time consuming it is. The same is true of marketing automation. There aren’t any ways around this, and personalized marketing makes the problem worse, not better. Marketers are going to need to provide more content than ever before in order to ensure that each communication is targeted at the right person.

Some tools are coming along to help make the creation and management of those creative assets easier, but I’m afraid the answer – right now – is that email marketing will continue to have one of the highest total costs of ownership. Fortunately, it is still the channel with the highest return on investment, and personalization increases those revenue opportunities.

Stewart Rogers- director of Marketing Technology at Venturebeat Insight

The big wish…

Next to what we think Martech will bring, what is the big wish for marketers that are involved in email and marketing automation in 2016? We asked the experts for something that they would love to happen for marketers (either realistic or not) for marketers in 2016.

Learn to measure the true net impact

I wish they would learn to measure the true net impact of their messages, which I believe would result in a major reduction in volume because so many messages are not just ineffective, but actually damage the long term relationship.

This can happen if technology can tell marketers which messages are really appropriate for each person, so they no longer send everything to everyone, as so often happens today. It also requires better measurement techniques, including rigorous long-term tests, to accurately understand the impact of each message. I think some of this will happen but the improvements won’t be wide spread.

David Raab – expert in marketing technology and analytics. Raab Associates publishes VEST, a B2B Marketing Automation Vendor Selection Tool.

Uniform rendering beyond animated unicode emojis

I wish to have animated unicode emojis in every email client, not just in the browser-based Gmail client. No, I’m just kidding. However, it would be great to have a consistent rendering across all important email clients and devices. It would make work a lot easier for professional email marketers, if Gmail, Outlook and the like finally supported modern web standards. But I guess that the broad adoption of HTML and CSS standards probably remains an illusion also next year…

René Kulka – Email Marketing Evangelist at optivo, Consultant, and author of E-Mail-Marketing: Das umfassende Praxis-Handbuch

Show respect and provide value

From personal experience I find that the more “designed” or “branded” an email, the less I want to read it. Targeting, adding genuine value, and getting to the point is what email marketing (indeed any marketing) should do. People are bombarded by messages across every channel, you should respect their time.
Daniel Kirby, Founder of The Marketing Technology Association and CEO of marketing technology agency Techdept.

Take a step back from what is technologically possible and go for personalized marketing

My big wish? From a technology perspective, there are a lot of ways to leverage email addresses. With an email address, I can know almost everything about you. So if you use that information in the wrong way, it can be damaging for you, and your organization. My big wish is that marketers take a step back from what is “possible” using marketing technology, and that they use it to provide communications that are more human in nature. Instead of blasting an entire audience, how about sending something useful, relevant, timely, and location-aware, while always asking permission to do so. Show the customer the “vanilla” message, and then show them the useful, personalized experience they could get if they opted in to that. Personalized marketing will only help us all to be more effective for our customers if we use it with respect, and permission.

Stewart Rogers – director of Marketing Technology at Venturebeat Insight

Better cross-device and cross-tracking tracking

Overall I’d like to see new tools for better cross-device and cross-tracking tracking of prospects and customers across email on different desktop and mobile devices and on the website and in social media. Google and Facebook to name but two are looking at this, but how can ESPs help here?

Dave Chaffey, author of Total Email Marketing and publisher of Smart Insights.

Enjoy marketing and the responsibility that comes with it

Don’t be afraid of the massive amount of responsibilities that are increasingly given to marketing leaders. The role of marketing in companies is becoming more and more important to the business.

Gone are the days that marketing is seen as the color-department. Today is the best time to be a marketer: enjoy it, become more passionate about it, seek a strong link with the sales department, get aligned, and make it happen for your business !

Tom De Baere – Senior Digital Strategist & Managing Partner, creating customer love at the agency invisible Puppy.

Focus on strategy: Measure twice and cut once

My wish is a focus on strategy in 2016. Follow the “measure twice and cut once” principle to your marketing. There is no quick fix to success, so spend time and resources to determine how to best engage with your audience and build a program that will accomplish your goals. The Email Marketing Trends Survey found the most important objective of an email marketing strategy is to increase engagement. What strategy are you going to implement to increase engagement in 2016?

Todd Lebo – Partner and Chief Marketing Officer at Ascend2 research and marketing professionals.

Challenge the status quo in a real, demonstrable way

I hope that we as an industry start to challenge the status quo in a real, demonstrable way.

Email marketing as a marketing channel hasn’t evolved much since the advent of the launch button. Operationally, it’s an efficient channel. But even the most effective sending platform can’t make a bad message good. So keep an eye on nascent technologies that are being developed by the leading minds in cognitive computing, because that’s the future – not just of email, but of marketing, and perhaps of the world in general.

Parry Malm is Digital marketing’s Hannibal Smith and CEO of Phrasee; an artificial intelligence subject line optimiser.

About Jordie van Rijn


Jordie van Rijn is an independent email marketing consultant and Analyst. He is the Founder of Email Vendor Selection and specializes in smart email marketing, optimisation and RFP / vendor selection. Named on of "50 Online Marketing Influencers to Watch in 2016 " by Entrepreneur magazine.

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  • http://www.reelevant.com Delphine Moulu

    Nice article and very interesting opinions here​!​

    ​René Kulka: I agree with you on automatically delivering a campaign at the best time for each recipient. I can’t believe so many marketers still use mass mailing, sending the same email to their entire list at the very same time. Everyone has a different lifestyle and different habits so this cannot work. How do you do that though? How do you find that individual best time?

    John Caldwell: Regarding platforms leveraging external data, what do you think of contextual data? We’ve seen brands displaying a different content based on each opener’s weather conditions or location in real-time for example. What if marketers could do so within their email marketing platform?

    ​​Stewart Rogers: I ​couldn’t agree ​more on this one: « Instead of blasting an entire audience, how about sending something useful, relevant, timely, and location-aware, while always asking permission to do so. ». I personally hate when I receive an email with an offer, click through and see that the product is no longer available. So frustrating.​ I’d definitely wish​ ​for m​ore up-to-date emails ​in 2016 ;)

    • http://twitter.com/therealsjr Stewart Rogers

      Many thanks Delphine. We’re on the same page here, for sure. The good news is that the technologies that allow for this kind of personalization are getting cheaper and easier-to-use all the time. The bad news is that the vast majority of businesses still struggle with basic customer data management, and that will continue to undermine personalization until that problem is solved.