The concept of the full-stack marketer is relatively new.
It refers to someone who has a ‘full stack’ of skills – creative, technology, and data – and can deliver in any one of the areas, or across all three.
Such a person will, naturally, tune in to what’s happening across advertising, marketing technology and even data science. But what are the trends which are affecting all three? What’s happening ‘across the stack’?
To find out, we interviewed Emarsys co-founder and Chief Innovation Officer (CINO), Hagai Hartman. To hear what he had to say, watch the video and read a few comments below.
1) Marketing will be (technically) easier in 2017
The video starts off with a statement which goes against many other trend reports. Instead of things becoming more complex, Mr Hartman suggests that marketing technology is actually going to become simpler in 2017 for the first time.
Before considering the implications, it is first good to consider the evidence. Is digital becoming less complex and, as a result, easier to manage?
While it still feels like the digital universe is expanding, there are some signs that change is slowing down.
- All of the growth in US ad revenues between 2015 and 2016 came from Google and Facebook and ‘everyone else’ shrank. Digital advertising is increasingly becoming about these two main players (AKA ‘the duopoly’).
— Jason Kint (@jason_kint) November 1, 2016
- Alternate platforms, such as Snapchat, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and Twitter are struggling to grow revenue and, as a result, are considered ‘frontier’ ad platforms by brand managers.
- Web, email, and mobile technologies seem to have plateaued and new technologies (voice, augmented reality, virtual reality) have not yet reached mass adoption.
So if marketing is technically easier in 2016, the implication for a full-stack marketer is that they will now have more time to get their house in order. They will be able to develop their strategies, tactics, and analytics across channels without having to worry about a new, complicated, and unmeasurable platform appearing on the horizon.
2) Incentives will become more important
The maturing of marketing technology will, according to Mr Hartman, also affect what it is marketing departments actually do with their time. Instead of focusing on just getting things to work, brands will spend more time on incentives and improve the overall customer experience.
This trend has been on the cards for some time. Brands have indicated over the past few years that customer experience is a priority with developing new customer incentives as a key part of that.
Yet at Econsultancy events most discussions revolve around tactical issues and best practices due to the growth in the number of platforms over recent years. As a result, we see that most brands are still struggling to map the customer journey.
Should this growth stop and marketing tech stack mature, though, it is feasible that full-stack marketers will make time to address this gap and spend more time on incentives and improving the overall customer experience.
3) Marketers will use artificial intelligence (AI) to personalise the customer journey
Companies which do understand their customers’ various journeys will, Mr Hartman suggests, use artificial intelligence (AI) to ‘improve communication’ with and ‘deliver personalisation’ to their customers in 2017.
Unlike the previous two, this trend seems to already be happening. Apple was perhaps the first to provide an AI on a mass scale with Siri in 2011 and Google, with its AI-enhanced search, now integrates intelligence into everything it does.
Amazon now has an intelligent assistant, Alexa, in its Echo product and Facebook has said that AI will be part of every user’s experience through chatbots.
But what do these implementations of AI, which are beyond the capabilities of most companies, mean for full-stack brand marketers?
In his overview of marketing and digital trends for 2017, Econsultancy founder Ashley Friedlein said that “you should not ‘do AI’ but you should keep on top of how AI can help make smarter things that you are already doing”.
That is, a full implementation of AI may be out of scope for a full-stack marketer, but they should look at what is available from Google et al and use outside technology to improve their own customer journey.
Whether this means going as far as creating a chatbot to integrate with Facebook Messenger or simply ensuring that your products are ‘Alexa ready’ will be determined by the brand’s requirements and capabilities. But what is true for everyone is that customers will now expect brands to be on par with those who are using AI to provide personalisation and improve the overall experience.
Full-stack marketers, it seems, will still have plenty of work to do in 2017!