Two weeks ago, B&T attended SaaS vendor Acquia’s APAC conference in Melbourne, where industry leaders and innovators got to the heart of the issues surrounding the martech industry.
On the day, we heard from Luis Serpa Andrade, exploratory innovation & experience design at UL — a global safety science company — who gave us a lesson about the front line of digital platform development.
Wanting to know more about the current and future state of digital experiences, B&T interviewed CMO of UL, Kathy Seegebrecht. Read what she had to say about the biggest marketing disruptors, what the future of the martech industry will look like, and more.
Do you think some brands/companies are trying too hard to be different and innovative that they miss the mark?
I enjoy studying brands and watching their strategies play out. It’s an interesting time to be posed that question. UL celebrates our 125th anniversary this year and we are working hard to not only innovate our business and industry but also to differentiate our brand in commoditized areas of our business.
I don’t really think there’s such a thing as ‘trying too hard’. The critical success factor is identifying critical needs for your stakeholders and customers, and delivering an effective and innovative value proposition. If we get those two things right, getting credit in the marketplace comes down to an effective marketing and communications strategy.
Do you think the idea that content is king is still relevant today? Is it more or less important?
Yes, content is king is still a relevant concept for today. It’s important that it be served up in a way that target audiences want to consume, available on the devices of their choice, and readily accessible when they want to consume it.
Why is it important to have rules and standards across content?
Rules and standards across content are critical to building and reinforcing a brand and its value proposition. Without those rules, users are confused about what a brand means and what it stands for. Content expressing many and varying voices simply undermines brand investments.
What is the biggest disruption the marketing industry is facing today?
I believe AI and big data are two of the biggest sources of disruption for the marketing industry today. This includes both good and bad sides of disruption. On the good side, new and evolving technologies like AI (Artificial Intelligence), ML (Machine Learning) and NLP (Natural Language Processing) have significantly improved the results of marketing efforts, from content creation to search optimization, targeting/personalization and measurement of campaign effectiveness.
On the bad side, the sheer amount of data available on online channels today, coupled with bad data and lack of adequate context, leads to confusing/inconclusive insight or, worst, incorrect predictive models that are still being used to support critical market decisions.
Additionally, this overload of data (and tech options) are driving a forced acceleration of all digital marketing related activities. Most marketing departments are being pressured to provide ever more accurate insights and ROI while facing limitations like redundant tools, agencies/vendors over-promising results and lack of in-house technical resources with deep understanding of these new technologies (and their limitations/traps).
Finally, privacy concerns and stricter global regulations are making it more difficult to ensure that correct data is used in these processes, increasing the risk of relying on inadequate sources and becoming non-compliant.
Being able to architect your digital platforms to fully leverage new technology/capabilities without succumbing to the pressures of our modern fast-paced world pressures (and thus falling victim of ill-thought solution design that compromises all your investments) is the real challenge marketing faces today.
In your opinion, what does the future of the martech industry look like?
That depends a lot on the type of needs or size of the company using martech solutions.
Large global corporations with diversified channels are investing more and more in building internal capabilities because they cannot withstand the constant change and fragmentation of the martech stack and are resorting to building their own ecosystems (or digital platforms) using a mix of open platforms and best-in-class components from the available digital landscape.
This allows these companies to retain the knowledge (or intellectual property) associated with their solutions, support security needs and ensure support to custom processes while minimizing impacts from ups and downs on ever-changing tools and tech in the market.