By Wendy Weatherford-Marks
AMA New York joined AMA Austin, AMA Triangle, AMA Washington DC and AMA members from the tri-state chapters August 27 in a virtual Happy Hour to talk about marketing technology (MarTech), upcoming marketing trends and challenges. Hosted by our partner Greenbook, close to 100 marketers joined the festivities and toasted to the end of the summer with tropical cocktails in hand.
How has COVID-19 affected MarTech’s landscape? Less than a decade ago, marketers had a few hundred solutions from which to choose. Now, we have over 8,000 solutions.
Technology has enabled a series of productive pivots, allowing organizations to do what they didn’t think possible, especially in the age of COVID-19. MarTech is a powerful force. In the past six months, team communication (i.e. Cisco Webex, Zoom, Google Meet, Slack, Microsoft Teams) and telehealth have been pushed to the forefront. Learning new technology requires training, and learning remotely can be challenging. But, we’re doing it. This will ultimately transform thinking and break long standing cycles. A year ago, was the word ‘Zoom’ a part of your daily vocabulary? Now, it and companies like Salesforce, HubSpot, Hootsuite, Mailchimp and Pardot are discussed much more in daily business conversations.
E-commerce is booming. Everyone is shopping online to some extent. Groceries, family and parenting, home and garden, are categories that have exploded. Did anyone try to buy a lawn chair online this summer? #soldout.
A healthy discussion at our MarTech Virtual Happy Hour ensued as we considered how to reinvent some older marketing strategies in this new world. Out-of-home advertising allows businesses to stay connected to their communities. Digital out-of-home messaging responds in real-time to the changing world around us. Email and advertising within it is pulling its weight as a fraud-free environment. And members shared their love of receiving snail mail, emphasizing direct mail as a viable option to break through the clutter.
In summary, note these five key takeaways we heard from the 15 breakout rooms:
- The role of marketing has become more complex and expanded, now incorporating data science, technology, sales and customer experience. Yet, marketing is still seen as an expendable cost center that only gains importance and traction when a “fix” is required. A change in mindset must start at the CEO level.
- Brands focusing on empathy, nurturing, transparency and being helpful vs. driving a hard sell are resonating deeply with consumers. Listen and respect your customers’ behaviors and activities in order to make meaningful connections. They have different needs now.
- People are returning to comfort. Nurturing has value.
- Looking to the future, marketing leaders will focus their budgets on innovation, a more agile, compressed cycle, demand generation, cost reduction and website improvements.
- Find the right MarTech tool to fit what you need. Don’t try to make it do what it’s not meant to do. Harness the power of data.
Our second 2020 Cocktails in the Greenroom event offered attendees an opportunity to build deeper, more meaningful networking opportunities. As we wrap the sixth month of social distancing and staying at home during coronavirus, much uncertainty still surrounds us. Human nature has an overarching need for interactivity – whether it be in marketing, events, or just connecting with others. Technology can help us cultivate purposeful connections.
We were so happy to partner with our sister chapters, AMA Austin, AMA Triangle and AMA Washington DC to bring our brilliant marketing members together for networking at our MarTech Virtual Happy Hour. Huge thanks to our AMA breakout room moderators: Joy Levin, Wendy Price, Aimee Stern, Patrick King, Mark DeVito, Andrea Smith, Hayden Brooks, Stan Phelps, Misty Wilson, Sara Breuer, Jesus Trujillo, Pat Cooper, Emaan Abdelbaki, Cole Finney, Vicki McCullough, Karen McFarlane and Esther Elkouss.
We look forward to seeing you again Thursday, December 10, for our next Cocktails in the Greenroom. Cheers and #staysafe.