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This week in Boston’s seaport district the inaugural “Martech” event (aka “the marketing technology conference”) is taking place bringing together a range of brands, ad tech, martech, analysts, authors and developers into sort of an avant garde cultural exchange. Technology, data science and consumer adoption of new patterns are fundamentally changing the marketplace and they way advertising and marketing need to work. Essentially, marketers need to get agile, get relevant or get lost.

Probably the key message from this event is that marketing has to be first and foremost centered around creating an enhanced and personalized customer experience. Technology, storytelling, big data, cross-channel media executions, creativity and a compelling, timely and targeted message are essential ingredients. The event sold-out.

Conference organizers addressed these five questions in the program:

1. What are the innovative technologies impacting marketing today – and tomorrow?
2. How do we support new marketing strategies with the right technology strategies?
3. How can technology transform our marketing operations and customer experiences?
4. What management practices do we need to govern this new breed of marketing?
5. How do we develop talent and culture to leverage marketing technology investments?

One thing marketing is successfully adopting from the software world is the practice of agile development methodology. There is a whole practice area around agile that BIA/Kelsey has been incorporating into its more recent client work. It makes a difference. For more information about agile marketing, see The Agile Marketing Manifesto which provides provides the core value statements and principles as well as a set of resources around this methodology.

Ultimately, it is not really about the technology it is about people and how we use technology to embrace and enhance the customer experience. On this point, I tweeted out one of my favorite quotes from this event when Gartner’s Laura McLellan (famous for her prediction that, “by 2017 the CMO will have a bigger tech budget than the CIO”) said that though she sees a huge future for martech, “until algorithms & avatars get better we’ll still need people.”

Speaker decks when posted are available here.

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