As the new year kicks off, many CEOs are wary of increased spending in marketing. If they're smart, they'll consider taking new approaches that will pay big dividends in the new year thanks to innovators in the marketing space.
With a new president many fear may change the entire business climate, England's potential exit from the European Union changing trade forever and giant failing startups, spending across the board could lower. Marketing becomes one of the first to go, despite it being a key component of customer acquisition, making CMOs have to get very scrappy when it comes to spending. Sometimes that doesn't mean they're spending less or more; it means they're trying new, intricate ways to understanding their marketplace and approach new customers.
Here are many ways to do so. Here are the creative minds that you should pay attention to in 2017.
Former Apple and Pepsi CEO John Sculley and David Steinberg have become darlings of the marketing tech world, creating a business that provides analytics-driven platform that can also both see the customer's life-cycle, measure ROI and understand your audience for intelligent marketing across the board. The company remains profitable, and made over $300 million in revenue the last year. Considering the cutthroat nature of the business, marketing tech leaders should pay real attention to Sculley and Steinberg as Zeta continues to grow.
An under-the-radar success set to skyrocket in 2017, Africk and Tell's Inmoji places clickable icons across a network of tens of millions of users through SDK installs Oovoo, Tango, Badoo, iMessage 10 and others. Their "inmojis" are like emojis, sent through instant messaging, that access one-pagers with a tap including location-aware data, videos for a movie or a song, and where you can see the movie or band near you. Their clients have included Uniqlo, Disney and Walmart. They provide smart analytics and data back to their customers within their own platform, the first of their kind to do so, and over 9 billion impressions in 2016.
Marketing through social channels can be an incredibly stressful and confusing process. Gascoigne's ultra-transparent company allows you to schedule posts across multiple networks, including their own image-manipulation tool "Pablo" which lets you add overlays, blurs and other effects. They also have their product "Respond," created for the lesser-considered marketing channel of customer response (word of mouth that's negative can become positive if dealt with well). By using tools that create happy customers in the most negative of times, you'll market yourself as a company people want to keep coming back to.
Machine Learning and Deep Learning have become buzzwords in the tech world, but in marketing tech Raviv Turner, serial tech entrepreneur and former Israeli intelligence of CaliberMind, stands out. The company plugs into your CRM and content pipeline and uses psychographic (a huge secret weapon in marketing) profiling of your sales and marketing calls, emails and customers' social feeds to intelligently inform you both how to communicate with them and what content to feed them, such as security content for a security-minded person.
Though it's always hard to recommend consultants specifically, Wright is unavoidable in the marketing influencer space. His new book, Digital Sense, is redefining how companies look at social business strategy, marketing technology, and customer experience, through the lens of digital transformation. Even if you don't spend a dime on his work, his Twitter feed alone provides a treasure trove of useful information. Wright also hosts VentureBeat's VB Engage podcast along with Stewart Rogers, which is one of Inc's top marketing podcasts. He is also an international marketing keynote speaker.
Content marketing has become well documented as an intelligent, long-term strategic way to approach your customers in a human, shareable way. Contently combines a huge network of freelancers with an intelligent publishing platform that can seed it to your blog, social media and newsletter channels. Importantly, as many content leaders fail to recognize, they also provide data on not just who's reading and when they're reading your content, but how long they're paying attention. In the crowded world of content, this is key.
Marketing used to be a channel where you'd perform certain actions and hope for the best. However, as data becomes more readily available and consumable, companies like Origami Logic have created platforms to help collect and discern the meaning of the multiple pieces of data. The company automatically collates channels (everything from Disquis comments to Instagram) show you what is (or isn't) performing for you, and how you can make it work for you better in the future.
Segment is a powerful tool that can help more than just the marketing department, collecting your many customer data sources into one place and allowing the marketing department to actionable data. This may bend the minds of your department at first, but combining data from sources like SalesForce, Stripe, SendGrid and ZenDesk, you may be able to see incredibly complex information. For example, you may never have known that customer spend increased dramatically on one emailed discount campaign, but on another didn't and in fact caused more complaints because the discount wasn't easy to understand.
Search advertising has become a black box for many startups, lumped in with marketing and looked down on as CMOs look to innovate. They have created their own network specifically to get away from the things that people hate about them; ads are created for advertisers with a knowledge of the publishers' content. This means that anything your ad appears on has been thoughtfully placed (versus organized in the traditional X pixel by Y pixel manner) to create an experience that makes both parties happy. Publishers can monetize their content without ruining it with thoughtless, intrusive advertising.
Newsletters are often either an afterthought of a marketing campaign, hastily put together or both. While many like MailChimp, its easy template designer still requires some patience. Smore has boiled down the process to create an attractive, branded and search engine optimized newsletters in minutes without any design experience. They provide, similar to MailChimp, analytics about those who read, click or unsubscribe, as well as where in the wolrd readers are from. Interestingly, their focus on creating old-school flyers lets you turn your newsletter into a physical print if necessary. This makes them an attractive option for educators, as well as local groups.
Built to make a CMO's life less of a headache, Percolate exists to combine many, many marketing functions into one package. While it's usually a good idea to focus on one particular product, Percolate combines a mind-boggling series of features, including planning and collaboration, content marketing and asset management, social media marketing and distribution, and analytics on all of the above connected. Undoubtably more pricy than many of the others in this list, Percolate's Brier can boast having customers such as Amtrak, Mastercard and Western Digital, amongst other Fortune 500 clients.
Live events are great at marketing to people in theory, but incredibly hard to derive real metrics from beyond sales on the floor. DoubleDutch creates a live engagement app; this app encourages attendees on many levels to show what they're doing, take part in live polls on the floor, surveys, or even communicate with each other. This is useful for both sides, as the attendees have more to do than find out what panel to go to next, or what part of the exhibit they want to see, engaging actively with intelligently recommended attendees based on the app. Customers of DoubleDutch can get active data about how people are reacting to the event around them, versus using anecdotal data they'd see with their own eyes on the show floor. The result is a much more successful event, and better planning data for the future.