The Expert Take: Marketing Technology in 2017

Twelve experts name names, weigh in on must-have tools, and predict the future of the customer journey.

Download the free report to see how Segment uses Segment (and nine other tools) to build the modern marketing stack.

We asked, they answered.

Andrew Chen

Growth at Uber and Founder at Reforge

What happens to "growth hacking" in 2017?

"The conversation about growth hacking has tended to center around small tips and tricks that you can use to optimize your numbers. It's been tactical bits like 'use this phrasing for your landing page copy' or 'make your CTA buttons this color' that have defined growth hacking to date.

In 2017, growth hacking will become better understood as a system and model for accelerating growth that looks at the entire loop, from acquisition to product to retention. Growth is fundamentally a team sport that requires collaboration from the entire product organization — including product managers, designers, and developers — who utilize software to drive KPIs."

Andrew Chen

Growth at Uber and Founder at Reforge

In 2017, growth hacking will become better understood as a system and model for accelerating growth that looks at the entire loop, from acquisition to product to retention.

Andrew Chen

Growth at Uber and Founder at Reforge

Insights from leaders at:

Guillaume Cabane

Growth at Segment

What technology/software should marketers be using in 2017?

"The goal with any marketing system or tool is to create personalized experiences that foster authentic rapport with customers. Good marketing campaigns are about people. We automate those campaigns with data to build rapport and trust. We use the marketing software at our disposal to engineer the types of personalized experiences you wish could happen in the real world. We ask ourselves, ‘What would a sales rep do if they had unlimited time and data? How would they handle our leads?’ MarTech tools automate the process to make your marketing feel authentic to the end user.

This important principle — creating authentic rapport — is one of a handful which guide [Segment’s] modern marketing stack. These principles guide our approach data, automation, and interaction with our customers.

Download the whitepaper to see all the principles behind our marketing approach, and the tech stack that supports it."

Guillaume Cabane

Growth at Segment

Soon, customer data will not only tell us what the likelihood is for a conversion, but also recommend the right course of action to increase those odds.

Guillaume Cabane

Growth at Segment

Danielle Morrill

CEO of Mattermark

How do you organize your marketing, sales, and success teams to optimize for the evolving customer journey?

"Customer engagement is the new marketing, and in 2017, we'll see this movement gather more momentum.

For marketers, it will mean evaluating activities in light of potential to drive towards customer success milestones, as well as leveraging data to build authentic narratives for sales prospecting, re-engagement, and upsell.

This is more cross-over than we've ever seen before, but it will achieve one critical end goal: putting the customer front and center."

Danielle Morrill

CEO of Mattermark

Customer engagement is the new marketing, and in 2017, we'll see this movement gather more momentum.

Danielle Morrill

CEO of Mattermark

Hiten Shah

Co-Founder at Quick Sprout, Co-Founded KISSmetrics and Crazy Egg

How do you acquire customers as the SaaS industry continues to get more competitive?

"Every SaaS product today competes with five others that do the same thing. In a crowded market, you don't win with marketing, you win with brand.

In 2017, companies will find success by getting back to basics and focusing on the 'service' part of Software as a Service—with a new-school twist. Lead enrichment will extend from marketing into support, using tools like Clearbit and Mattermark.

With messaging handles, addresses, and phone numbers, companies can talk to customers faster and over more intimate channels. By knowing customers' names, job descriptions, and geographic locations, companies can make support incredibly personal, build relationships, and grow a loyal following."

Hiten Shah

Co-Founder at Quick Sprout, Co-Founded KISSmetrics and Crazy Egg

In a crowded market, you don't win with marketing, you win with brand.

Hiten Shah

Co-Founder at Quick Sprout, Co-Founded KISSmetrics and Crazy Egg

Colin Nederkoorn

CEO of Customer.io

How can you make your entire end-to-end customer journey across multiple platforms seamless, consistent, and representative of your brand?

"People are expecting more natural, human interactions with businesses. They're expecting you as a business to know their previous history of interactions and provide an experience that's not faceless or one-size-fits-all.

That means that the foundation of great marketing is standardizing, aggregating, and streaming data in a way that you can actually leverage to create consistent views of your customers. There are so many best-of-breed tools out there where if you take the first step to invest in the right data flow, you can shape the customer experience to feel really personal.

Using data and automation isn’t to trick consumers into thinking they’re interacting with real humans. The promise of automation and data is to make interacting with your business and brand feel more intuitive, responsive, and contextual."

Colin Nederkoorn

CEO of Customer.io

The promise of automation and data is to make interacting with your business and brand feel more intuitive, responsive, and contextual.

Colin Nederkoorn

CEO of Customer.io

Brian Balfour

Founder/CEO at Reforge, previously the VP of Growth at Hubspot

How do you bridge the gap between technical and non-technical folks when it comes to getting aligned around and being able to use data?

"In 2017, data platforms like Segment will bridge the divide between technical and non-technical for getting your team access to and aligned around data.

In the past, engineers and data analysts wrote SQL and used tools like Looker. Less technical product and marketing team members used Chartio, Mixpanel or some other dashboarding tool to do funnel analysis, segmentation, and cohorts. What you have are two completely different users that need different tools. This leads to having data in in different places saying different things.

With a data platform, you instrument your data gathering and store all of it in something like Amazon Redshift. Then you layer on the right tools for the right users which reduces friction to get the data and empowers everyone in the organization to answer questions using data."

Brian Balfour

Founder/CEO at Reforge, previously the VP of Growth at Hubspot

You layer on the right tools for the right users which reduces friction to get the data and empowers everyone in the organization to answer questions using data.

Brian Balfour

Founder/CEO at Reforge, previously the VP of Growth at Hubspot

Chris Savage

CEO of Wistia

What opportunities do VR, AR, and 360 degree video create for marketers?

"We're on the verge of a world where watching 360 video on your smartphone is as natural as watching 2D video on your laptop. 360 video is a natural form for mobile because you don't have to put on a headset. You just move your phone around, and you get the experience of being physically there.

The problem with 360 video, historically, has been on the production side. But dedicated consumer-grade 360 cameras are coming out at lower price points than ever before, and apps that let users record 360 video straight from their phone are starting to come out too.

Marketers will be able to create virtual home tours, remote test drives, and product demos as easily as they film webinars today. Any marketing that benefits from immersion — including travel, recruiting, retail, entertainment, and more — will find that 360 video helps make for more engaging and compelling experiences."

Chris Savage

CEO of Wistia

Any marketing that benefits from immersion—including travel, recruiting, retail, entertainment, and more—will find that 360 video helps make for more engaging and compelling experiences.

Chris Savage

CEO of Wistia

Mark Ghermezian

CEO of Appboy

In a multichannel world, what is the best approach to reaching and engaging with your users?

"Today's fragmented world — where your customers can interact with your brands across multiple devices — creates a great opportunity for marketers to build long-term relationships with their customers.

The key is to understand the customer and how they like to interact with your brand. On mobile, do they prefer native apps or mobile web? At home, are they on their desktop or tablets? You need data to understand when, how, and where your customers want to be marketed to. That will put you 10x ahead of your competitors.

When you know your customer, you should then work backwards into your multichannel strategy.

The one mistake everyone makes is thinking of multichannel as a collection of their own marketing strategies rather than thinking about it from the customer perspective as one single channel. Today, email, push, in-app/web, and web push all need to complement each other to create an effective, long-lasting customer journey."

Mark Ghermezian

CEO of Appboy

The one mistake everyone makes is thinking of multichannel as a collection of their own marketing strategies rather than thinking about it from the customer perspective as one single channel.

Mark Ghermezian

CEO of Appboy

Derek Steer

CEO of Mode Analytics

How can marketers make their data insights actionable in 2017?

"2017 is the year of exploratory analysis.

In years past, analytics has been about collecting data, setting up dashboards, and figuring out what metrics to track to identify what's wrong with your business. Now that's table stakes. It's time to move on to the good stuff: answering why.

Exploratory analysis means asking:

  • Not just how many signups you have, but whether your customer acquisition strategy is bringing in the right kinds of customers
  • Not just when users drop off during onboarding, but what causes your customers to experience 'ha! moments'
  • Not just what data you can use to profile your customers, but how you should be segmenting them in the first place

It's the questions you don’t know you have that are going to bring you the most value. Today, you're measuring, tracking and counting. Now it's time to go exploring."

Derek Steer

CEO of Mode Analytics

It's the questions you don’t know you have that are going to bring you the most value.

Derek Steer

CEO of Mode Analytics

Douglas Weiss

Product Growth PM at Facebook

What specific types of data will be important to drive business growth?

"At Facebook, we do everything at tremendous scale. That gives us access to a massive amount of data we can use to build products.

The three key types of data for us are:

  • Survey and market data, to define customer needs
  • Performance data, to understand what's ripe for improvement, and
  • Usage data, to see who we're best serving — and who has clearly different needs

However, the data itself is the means to an end. It’s important that we focus on the needs of the customers so that we can align our teams and strategic partners to build products that will drive the maximum amount of value."

Douglas Weiss

Product Growth PM at Facebook

Sharing this information openly with prospective partners and making sure we're a match is key to how we pursue growth.

Douglas Weiss

Product Growth PM at Facebook

Colin Zima

VP of Product at Looker

What's more important than data to your marketing strategy in 2017?

"Better data accessibility, rather than data itself, will be key in 2017.

Point solutions and verticalized tools are dramatically expanding the average company's ability to use data to market products. But when data is localized in different tools, you create friction for the people who need to use it.

In 2017, that data will be centralized and made accessible. It's a problem bots are particularly well-suited to solve — they can give everyone on your team quick access to the information they need through a simple, conversational interface.

While not as sexy as machine learning or heavy tech, new forms of data accessibility will be the bread and butter of any successful data-driven organization."

Colin Zima

VP of Product at Looker

While not as sexy as machine learning or heavy tech, new forms of data accessibility will be the bread and butter of any successful data-driven organization.

Colin Zima

VP of Product at Looker

Arjun Sethi

previously Head of Growth at Yahoo!

How do you organize your marketing, sales, and success teams to optimize for the evolving customer journey?

"A great consumer product is seamless. The value proposition, how people find it, their first time using it, the whimsical moments — it's all part of a singular experience.

The organizations that build great products align themselves around that experience rather than breaking down along functional lines.

They define the story of the customer experience they're trying to achieve. They break down by initiative, not discipline, and get leaders who can understand and communicate that mission. Each team then executes, relentlessly and tactically, to drive the company toward true north.

It's that storytelling that gets them away from having a culture that just scales, and toward a culture that can innovate."

Arjun Sethi

previously Head of Growth at Yahoo!

The value proposition, how people find it, their first time using it, the whimsical moments—it's all part of a singular experience.

Arjun Sethi

previously Head of Growth at Yahoo!

How Segment uses Segment to build the modern marketing stack

Download the whitepaper to see how Segment uses customer data with ten of our favorite tools to drive cutting edge marketing and growth tactics. Warning: not for beginners.

Getting started is easy. Be up and running in minutes.