Last month, CMSWire contributor Cory Munchbach wrote a piece looking back at the year in marketing technology, and summed it all up quite accurately in just a couple of sentences:

“What is absolutely clear is that marketing tech still represents a bit of a paradox,” she wrote. 

“It is a critical staple of the marketing effort and yet under-utilized in terms of its overall potential; a source of major investment with behemoth players, as well as a hugely fragmented landscape with constant new arrivals; a visionary force of integration and seamless customer experience but implemented and purchased by silo and channel.”

Yes, marketing technology is still on the rise, and according to IDC, MarTech spending is expected to grow at a rate of 9 percent each year through 2018. But what will the landscape look like beyond that time?

That’s what CMSWire wanted to find out, so we called in a few experts to give us their take.

The Question

Which marketing technologies will be must-haves five years from now?

The Answers

David Lewis, CEO, DemandGen

david lewis
For more than 20 years, Lewis has been an innovator in digital marketing, overseeing marketing for some of Silicon Valley’s leading technology firms. Founder of San Ramon, Calif.-based DemandGen, he is an industry speaker, thought leader and author. His discusses the transformation of marketing and sales in his book, Manufacturing Demand: The Principles of Successful Lead Management. Tweet to David Lewis.

Our global economy is in the midst of a dramatic transformation where digital marketing and e-commerce are overtaking traditional forms of marketing and selling.

To keep pace with how buyers learn about and purchase products in this digital age, all businesses must be investing in marketing technology (the marketing cloud as it’s now been branded) to leverage tools that automate engagement and streamline sales and marketing operations. The benefits of doing so increase collaboration across these two critical functions to accelerate growth.

It’s easy to predict that marketing teams will embrace dozens of tools and systems to address their expanding role and needs in demand generation, but if we look out five years, the essential tools for modern marketing will no doubt be in the following areas:

  • Content Management Tools for managing the website and content, which is the central hub of engagement
  • Marketing Automation Systems for managing and automating engagement with prospects, customers, and partners
  • Data Management Tools for handling acquisition, appending, and normalization of data
  • Content Creation Tools for building highly interactive and engaging content that is managed and served by the CMS
  • Reporting Tools for providing the insights marketing needs to measure demand generation programs and their impact on the business

Alicia Navarro, CEO and Co-Founder, Skimlinks

alicia navarro
Navarro has always loved technology. She has a computing science degree (for which she won the University Medal), and has been a passionate product manager most of her career in large companies such as Vodafone, IBM, Fairfax Media and Optus, as well as a few tech startups. She is now CEO and co-founder of London-based Skimlinks. Tweet to Alicia Navarro

Cross-device user identification technologies, coupled with multi-attribution suites that model the real impact marketing has on purchase behaviors, will be ubiquitous. 

CMOs of online companies will all be quants [quantitative analysts], and make full use of this technology to run multi-channel marketing campaigns across the whole purchase funnel.

Learning Opportunities

As a deeper appreciation of the awareness, influence and conversion process is understood, companies with both an online and offline presence will use technologies that track the impact of marketing on sales from various channels.

Doug Camplejohn, CEO and Founder, Fliptop

doug camplejohn
Camplejohn is the CEO and founder of Fliptop, a provider of predictive-analytics applications for business-to-business companies. The firm was acquired in 2015 by Mountain View, Calif.-based LinkedIn. Before Fliptop, Camplejohn founded two companies, Mi5 Networks and Myplay, and also held senior roles at Apple, Epiphany and Vontu. Tweet to Doug Camplejohn.

The past year has seen the rise of many new and exciting solutions but, perhaps most notably, it was the year of the “marketing cloud.” Adobe, Salesforce, SAP, IBM and Oracle all have their own take on one-stop enterprise software, promising a complete set of integrated solutions to help marketers maximize and measure impact from a single platform.

While it remains to be seen whether the big players will live up to the one-size-fits-all promise, the marketing cloud’s newfound availability is indicative of the fact that marketing will be increasingly connected across a range of solutions. The following are our must-have technology capabilities for marketers five years from now:

Customer Engagement Platform: Customers increasingly own their buying journey, and your technology stack should be centered around building engagement with the customer. The marketing clouds of today will need to transition to a unified foundation of technology including CRM, marketing automation and even CMS. The current big three in this space stand the highest likelihood of successfully managing the unified customer experience in one platform.

Automated Content Marketing: We live in a customer-first world, and offering increasingly helpful and personalized experiences is critical. As such, we expect to see the rise of automated content creation — offering streamlined, omni-channel publishing that uses data to determine the offer most likely to advance prospects through the buyer’s journey.

Mobile Optimization Platforms: Solutions that allow marketers to deliver valuable experiences across all devices, improve mobile targeting and personalization, and enable marketers to make connections between what happens offline and online.

Predictive Marketing Platforms: Solutions able to collect, merge, and analyze the data from across technologies (and beyond) to enable smarter, data-backed decisions across the organization. By analyzing a combination of past successes, market signals, and user data, predictive solutions will help with campaign optimization, real-time targeting, and budget allocation.