Last week was the FutureM conference in Boston. This conference focused on giving brands insight into the future of marketing. Like any business conference, it was chock-full of jargon like omni-channel, CRM, cross channel, CPC, millennials, CES, etc. However, one theme stood out amongst the laundry list of marketing ideas: Strategy before technology.
Representatives from Alex and Ani, Talbots and Rue La La discussed different technological solutions they had implemented to improve customer experience and drive sales. Notably, each one stressed that they had failed in the past by implementing a technology or a new channel without having a clear reason for why they were doing it. Developing an app, building a mobile website, and investing in social media were all avenues they went down with no real plan: not surprisingly, it did not produce optimal results.
Marketing technology has been evolving rapidly in both the number of channels (Twitter, SnapChat, Instagram, WhatsApp, etc.) and the ways in which marketers can track specific customers. FutureM speakers noted that while marketers have no control over what new channels exist, they can control the way they track customers via these channels.
Lollapalooza’s RFID wristbands, where festival goers could purchase food, drink and merch with just the wristband, are a prime example of simple technology that provided an easily trackable ROI. Marketers stressed the importance of picking a metric they wanted to move, coming up with a strategy to move that metric, then finding the technology to accomplish just that.
From small online retailers to giants like Mastercard, marketers appeared to want to get back to basics. Marketers had a strong desire to cut campaigns that used the newest technology in favor of simple technology that can be easily tracked. It’s ironic that FutureM was less about new technology and more about what has worked in the past.