image source: TechRadar
The technologies that grabbed the spotlight at CES last week present enticing new marketing opportunities. Among the trends highlighted at CES that marketers should pay close attention to:
- 5G, which will boost data download speeds to multigigabit levels
- Smart speakers, such as Echo and Alexa, which are transforming search
- Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, which are speeding the processing of data
- Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality, which are offering new customer experiences
In the short-term, marketers can take advantage of these trending technologies to reach their customers and prospects in new ways. In the long-term, marketers should prepare for these and other new data-driven technologies to bring about massive structural changes in their organizations — primarily by bringing sales and marketing into tighter alignment and eventually by seeing them merge into a single department.
Historically, the sales department and marketing department have feuded. Sales complains that marketing doesn’t deliver good leads; marketing charges that sales doesn’t follow up on leads.
But these days, sales and marketing have learned to get along. A recent LinkedIn study of more than 7,000 marketers and sales professionals found that 79% of them strongly agreed or agreed that there was a culture of collaboration between sales and marketing at their company.
One key reason for this high rate of alignment is the availability of data. These new technologies at CES have become feasible at this point in time because of faster data processing speeds and improvements in data storage.
“The quality of the data offering integral to smart homes, cars, speakers, and more is going to grow, creating a game-changing environment in 2018. This will only be accelerated by the imminent introduction of 5G networks, which will ultimately mean stronger connectivity, and a greater synthesis between our tools and the ability to track user behavior.” – Jason (“Kodi”) Kodish, Global Chief Data Scientist, Digitas//Chief Data Officer, Publicis Spine
Improved access to data has improved the efficiency of both sales and marketing. As a recent McKinsey & Co. story put it, “B2B sales has evolved from an art to a science. By that we mean that sales is data-driven, enabled by digital tools, underpinned by advanced analytics, and focused on really understanding the ‘what, why, and when’ of the customer.”
Heightened access to data has enabled marketers to better target prospects in the upper and lower funnel — and everywhere in between. By leveraging data, marketers can reach potential customers as they educate themselves online.
In the upper funnel, where marketers once used vague demographics in an attempt to reach potential customers in magazines or on television, now they can target their audiences precisely via programmatic and social media advertising, which use actual, not estimated, demographic data. The result is better targeting and less waste.
In the lower funnel, marketers can, for instance, serve targeted content to website visitors who are visiting product pages that are designed to get them to take the next step of reaching out to a salesperson. With other data-enabled techniques that bring sales and marketing closer together, such as account-based marketing, many salespeople are finally seeing what marketers have known all along but couldn’t prove: Marketing works.
This data-driven realization is bringing sales and marketing together, often with the same revenue goals.
“Sales and marketing share a common goal: growth. And while both are important, when sales and marketing join forces, fueled by first-in-class data solutions, they become superpowers. Performance soars, costs decrease, and customer-retention rates rise. Everyone wins.”– Laurent Ezekiel, President, North America & International, Digitas