Six key takeaways from Gartner’s Digital Marketing Conference

May 22, 2018 | 12:57 PM

Gartner’s Digital Marketing Conference held mid-May 2018 in San Diego, CA attracted approximately 2,500 attendees - from those keen to buy, to sell, and to analyze. Bill Beardslee, General Manager, Magnolia Americas, shares some key takeaways from the event.

1. Customer data is all the buzz.

“Anything that houses customer data seemed to be the darling of the show,” observed Beardslee. “Vendors offer anything from intentionally-siloed customer data platforms (CDPs) to communication-first applications with a bolt-on CDP. It is a very broad category. But everyone is rightly clamoring for insights derived from customer data, even in the GDPR era.”

Here is one look at a customer data-first architecture.

Example of a customer data-first architecture

2. Mobile is back.

Mobile has surfaced as a legitimate conversion channel. According to a recent Gartner survey of 240 clients, 21% of e-commerce transactions were completed on mobile. Organizations are also finding that mobile promotes conversion in other channels such as desktop or apps: meaning that product or service discovery occurs on mobile, while the transaction takes place later on desktop or on an app.

“I heard of some companies moving away from apps in favor of mobile,” said Beardslee. “Budgets are being shifted toward mobile due to better experiences, facilitated by 4G networks, AMP and other technologies that aid faster response time.”

3. Measurement and analytics remain a focal point, AI still fuzzy.

“Marketers are obsessed with measurement and analysis - and rightly so. It is their straightest path to campaign improvement, and a way to justify marketing spend,” said Beardslee. “Most people see AI as a long way from being an everyday reality. Yet it remains a shiny object that everyone seems to want.”

4. Marketers are turning to niche vendors.

These two quotes from Gartner analysts say it all:

“Martech purchases are down 15% in the past year. Too many clients have been bamboozled or tricked by vendors. I sense that clients have bought stuff which they cannot implement or may never use. They are now more cautious about purchases and more focused on sizing up their needs and pairing that with what a vendor has to offer.”

“Some clients are disillusioned with the massive tech offerings. They find these large offerings are just too much to adopt, given their needs and maturity. This results in extremely long implementations, running over budget, or worse, both. Many are now focusing on niche vendors and growing with the niche vendor’s roadmap.”

5. It’s time to adopt the customer journey.

Gartner emphasized customer journey mapping, saying that it was the framework by which many leading organizations are creating and measuring their programs and campaigns. In Gartner’s opinion, customer journey maps help keep a company focused on its customers and not itself.

Here is one example of a customer journey map.

Example of a customer journey map

6. The race is on for multichannel.

Gartner reported that 48% of organizations now have one person who is solely responsible for multichannel, and this includes profit and loss responsibility.

“Interestingly, I did not hear the term ‘omnichannel’ once in the presentations I attended,” said Beardslee. “However, there was a lot of focus on multichannel coordination and how that focus is accelerating.”