• In the rush to beat the competition and achieve market differentiation, it can be difficult to approach challenges with a strategic mindset. This mental gap can cause analysis paralysis – that discomforting feeling of having done all the research but still not knowing where to begin.

    At RampUp on the Road New York, attendees were presented with many ways to think differently about their roadblocks. In particular, attribution, artificial intelligence (AI), and martech investments were mentioned throughout the two-day event, with speakers encouraging audiences to shift their mindsets in these three areas to achieve seamless, optimized customer experiences.

    Attribution: holy grail or holy hell?

    If you’re someone who thinks of marketing attribution as the latter rather than the former, you’re not alone. In a packed ballroom, only a few brave souls raised their hands when Neil O’Keefe, SVP of content & marketing of the Data & Marketing Association, asked who was currently working on an attribution project.

    The key to attribution is to take the plunge and not worry about using imperfect information to start. “Don’t let the perfect get in the way of perfectly good,” Gayatri Bhalla VP, advanced solutions & product management of InfoGroup Media Solutions, advised.

    Her fellow panelists agreed, sharing that even though first touch and last touch are far from ideal measures of marketing attribution, the most important thing is to get started with either and not get bogged down in the semantics of where to begin.

    “Ninety percent of the value comes from 40% of the effort,” Robert Edelman, ‎manager, analytics & data, IBM, said. Attribution helps uncover that sweet spot. By approaching attribution with patience and not expecting an out-of-the-box solution, marketers can uncover the attribution model that works for them.

    AI: artful, not artificial, intelligence

    It wouldn’t be a marketing conference in 2017 without AI. Doug Rozen, chief digital & innovation officer, OMD Worldwide, suggested replacing “artificial” with “artful” to more aptly describe human and machine intelligence working together. Cory Treffiletti, CMO of Voicera, added that people should think of AI as adding marketers’ exoskeleton, enhancing their creativity and thinking in the way that Ironman’s suit makes Tony Stark a superhero.

    People should think of AI as adding marketers’ exoskeleton, enhancing their creativity and thinking in the way that Ironman’s suit makes Tony Stark a superhero.

    A smart approach to AI could involve small experiments in campaign analytics, hyper personalization of content, sentiment analysis, lead scoring, and more. Joe Stanhope, vice president and principal analyst of Forrester, shared five AI capabilities that help marketers close the opportunity gap:

    1. Efficiency
    2. Speed
    3. Smarter decisions
    4. Continuous performance improvement
    5. Customer journey optimization

    With these benefits in mind, marketers can stop worrying about whether machines will take their jobs and actually put that exoskeleton to work.

    Martech purchases: check a business outcome, not a box

    In his keynote, Stanhope revealed that 21% of marketing budget goes to martech. This isn’t necessarily surprising as marketers depend on technology to create the rich, personalized experiences that consumers have come to expect.

    The problem is, many are still fortifying their martech stacks with new platforms and tools without first tying the potential benefits of their purchases to the business problem they claim to address. Without identifying what they hope to achieve with a purchase, many marketers find it difficult to measure the impact of using that shiny new tool or platform on their overall business.

    So while the marketing department’s influence and technology spend increases, individuals throughout the organization, from developers to project managers to the CMO, must take responsibility for making informed investments and proving their value.

    “Someone has to own martech and it’s not always fun. A lot of organizations struggle with who owns this but it doesn’t matter as long as someone owns it. Everything from project management to training can’t be forgotten,” Stanhope said, echoing sentiments Newcombe Taylor, global director of AIG’s Rapid Learning Lab, shared during our Chicago roadshow.

    With these takeaways in mind, we look forward to seeing how AI, attribution, and business-driven martech purchases help marketers generate more value for their brands.

    Follow us on Twitter to read more of the best quotes and takeaways from our New York roadshow, and don’t forget to register for our San Francisco event next March!

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