Check out the MarTech preview!

Twice a year, I face a dilemma.

Presented with hundreds of nominated speakers and topics for an upcoming MarTech® conference, I have to choose only a few dozen to fit into a two-day, three-track event.

It’s a dilemma for a couple of reasons.

First, the vast majority of pitches we get from martech practitioners and experts are really good. Having to turn down most of them, simply due to the limits of time and space, kills me. I’m so grateful to everyone who sends in proposals, and I’m sorry we can’t accommodate you all. Believe me, I wish we could.

But there’s a bigger challenge: how can I best serve you as a MarTech attendee?

Martech is such an expansive and diverse field that it’s impossible to cover all of it. Especially because we don’t think of martech as merely a collection of tools and technologies. That is massive enough on its own. But we think of martech more holistically as a new discipline, the innovation of marketing, technology, and management combined.

That’s a pretty wide lens. So out of all the possible topics and case studies we could cover, how do we select only a subset of them to make MarTech most valuable to you?

Do we go broad and scan everything at a 50,000-foot level? Or do we pick one or two concepts and dive deep on them? Focus on B2B or B2C? Program for senior executives or hands-on marketing operations managers? Those starting digital transformation or those far along the journey? Big enterprises or small start-ups?

That’s a lot of either/or divisions.

The easiest thing to do, from a conference positioning point of view, would be to narrow down to a specific martech category and a specific audience segment. In fact, there are a ton of great conferences that do just that. For instance, Third Door Media, the producers of MarTech, also run the SMX Advanced show that’s focused on expert-level techniques for SEO and paid search marketing.

But I think there’s a powerful need for something different.

Mr. MarTech, Tear Down These Walls

I’ve come to believe that two of the biggest barriers to growth in a rapidly changing marketing environment are siloed specialization and false dichotomies.

Specialization is good, but comes with an increased risk of tunnel vision. You can pay so much attention to what’s happening in one narrow slice of marketing, studying only strategies and tactics that are analogous to yours, that you miss disruptions coming at you from completely different angles.

The truth is that the biggest challenge in modern marketing isn’t mastering search engine optimization, analytics, personalization, or any one tactic. The hard challenge is connecting all of those pieces together into a cohesive whole. It’s seeing the forest for the trees.

False dichotomies can be just as blinding. Centralize or decentralize. Automate or humanize. Suite or best-of-breed. Software or services. Build or buy.

I’ve railed against these either/or choices in numerous articles on the new rules of marketing technology and operations, the compatibility of strategy and agile marketing, the simultaneous expansion and consolidation of martech, and the three trends driving the Second Golden Age of Martech.

Because most of the time, these black-or-white, either/or choices are wrong. They’re called false dichotomies — false choices — because, well, they’re false. It’s not only that there’s an entire spectrum of colorful possibilities between the two opposite poles, although that’s true. It’s that in many cases you can actually achieve both/and simultaneously. The two ends can be connected together to unleash incredible innovation.

One of my main objectives with MarTech is to help attendees bust out of such siloed segments and break through such artificial either/or barriers. To accomplish that, we’ve adopted several guiding principles with the conference program:

  1. Explore an intentionally diverse range of martech topics — a curated tour across the entire spectrum of the field. Attendees not only learn new things. They should have unexpected discoveries.
  2. Aim for “graduate level” presentations on those topics. Better to be stretched a little beyond your comfort zone than to be bored with rudimentary notions that you’ve already heard or read about a dozen times.
  3. Program three kinds of sessions: marketing concepts and cases that leverage technology (Marketing Track), the more technical dimension of marketing operations and emerging technologies (Technology Track), and organizational and managerial approaches that help people leverage these technologies effectively (Management Track). Encourage everyone to hop among the tracks.
  4. Cross-pollinate ideas across B2B and B2C examples, executive-level viewpoints and in-the-trenches practitioner perspectives, digitally native high-tech unicorns and digitally transforming traditional businesses, enterprises and start-ups and firms of all sizes and stages in their lifecycle.

Every presentation shares strands of DNA for the intersection of marketing, technology, and management. But the expression of that DNA is wildly diverse from session to session. That diversity — and the combinatorial innovation it ignites — is one of the things that makes MarTech special.

What You Can Expect at MarTech, April 3-5 in San Jose

The upcoming MarTech conference in the Bay Area, April 3-5, will deliver on the promise of an in-depth, vendor-agnostic, BS-free program that will help you better lead marketing technology and operations at your own company.

You’ll hear first-hand accounts of martech innovation from leaders at Aetna, Autodesk, Cisco Meraki, Docker, Epsilon, Freshly, Fuze, IDC, LinkedIn, Livongo, LogMeIn, Netflix, The New York Times, Nordstrom, NPR, Plantronics, PwC, Riverbed Technology, Sub-Zero, Zendesk, Zillow, and more.

Here’s an overview of what you can expect…

Keynotes: Framing the Big Picture

I’ll open with a keynote revealing the 2019 marketing technology landscape in collaboration with Jeff Eckman of Blue Green, the latest martech salary survey results, and a framework for the evolution of marketing operations and technology heading into 2020.

We’ll follow with a fireside chat with the remarkable Ann Lewnes, CMO of Adobe, discussing the balance of creative and analytics, the interplay of technology and talent, ways in which marketing organizations are evolving structurally, and the trends in the industry that inspire her most.

That afternoon, we’ll have back-to-back keynotes from two martech pioneers: Mayur Gupta, the CMO of Freshly, and Terence Kawaja, the CEO of LUMA Partners. Terence will talk about the disruptive innovation of direct-to-consumer (D2C) brands, how they’re harnessing marketing technology to beat incumbent brands, and what marketers across all markets can learn from them. Mayur will share lessons from his career journey, rising from a marketing engineer to a CMO, spanning work at Sapient, Kimberly-Clark, Healthgrades, Spotify and now the D2C brand Freshly.

The next morning will begin with Shauna Shapiro, a professor at Santa Clara University and a world-renowned expert on mindfulness. Co-author of the recent Harvard Business Review article How Mindfulness Can Help Engineers Solve Problems, she’ll discuss mindfulness for innovation and change management.

Talk about unexpectedly connecting dots: yes, it’s martech and mindfulness.

Matthew Lieberman, CMO of PwC, will present on marketing enablement and empowerment, sharing the story of how his organization underwent its own digital transformation — with an empowered marketing team leading the way. Kathleen Schaub, leader of the CMO and customer experience practices at IDC, will offer her insights into guided decentralization: safely scaling customer-facing empowerment.

Tom Fishburne, the brilliant marketer-turned-cartoonist Marketoonist, will deliver the closing keynote for the conference that afternoon, with an interactive presentation of Look! Squirrel! Beyond the Shiny New Thing to Sustained Organizational Change. Aside from guaranteed laughs, Tom will help make the ideas you take back from your MarTech experience actionable.

Marketing Track: Real-World, Vendor-Independent Case Studies

Meg Goldthwaite, CMO of NPR, will explain how voice-driven AI technologies are changing behavior – and what that means, not only for businesses and marketers, but for society as a whole — in The New Era of V-Commerce: What Marketers Need to Know about Alexa, Siri and the AI Revolution.

Debbie Qaqish, Chief Strategy Officer at The Pedowitz Group, will address the challenges of Combining Marketing Operations and Sales Operations for Customer Magic. She’ll examine the pros and cons of a variety of organizational models while also learning how to best manage both old and new martech and salestech stacks and data.

Marketing technology legend Brian Kardon, CMO at Fuze, will share his real-world experience in leveraging AI across his own marketing organization in NextGen Marketing: How Artificial Intelligence Is Accelerating Marketing Performance. He’ll answer these questions about harnessing AI in your martech stack:

  • Which stages of the buyer journey are best suited to AI?
  • How can you better align sales and marketing with AI?
  • How can you best measure the impact of AI on your sales and marketing performance?
  • Which new skills are required of your marketing team to successfully implement AI?
  • What specific applications of AI are most successful?

Subbu Iyer, CMO of Riverbed Technology, will discuss how he’s brought focus to implementing martech solutions for digital transformation, streamlining operations, improving lead generation, and optimizing channels with a talk on The Cure for Shiny Object Syndrome: Human-Centered Digital Strategies. Subbu’s high-level advice includes:

  • Adopt a people-first approach to decision-making.
  • Use the full power of digital technology to build cognitive empathy.
  • Habitually observe human interactions in context to feed innovation practices.
  • Continually monitor and fine-tune the human experience.

Cyndi Marty of Sub-Zero and Alexandre Pelletier of Perkuto will jointly present What’s Cookin’ in Citizen Technology: Sub-Zero’s Journey Toward Decentralized Marketing. Cyndi has been leading a year-long project to transform from a centralized marketing model to a hybrid approach that takes advantage of decentralizing campaign marketing capabilities. She’ll describe her decision to make the transition, share challenges (both technological and organizational) they overcame, and provide insights into the ROI of the transition for the company and its sales network.

With devices like Amazon Alexa and Google Home’s voice-enabled options, consumers are relying more and more on browserless interactions. Now is the time to rethink how you reach and engage your customers in this emerging environment. Tricia DelGaudio, Strategy Director at Epsilon, will further explain new technology-powered strategies for Marketing in the Age of Assistants.

Shiva Mirhosseini, VP Marketing Technology and Digital Experience at Aetna, will close this track with a session on Reimagining Customer Communications — unifying print and digital touchpoint. She’ll share insights from the project she’s led for this at Aetna, including how to:

  • Map and assess the full spectrum of customer communications in your company
  • Create a strategy for unified communications across digital and print channels
  • Decide where print vs. digital works best from the customer’s point of view
  • Integrate across legacy IT systems and new digital services in the cloud
  • Establish governance models to ensure checks and balances across all customer communications

Technology Track: Technical Insights & Emerging Technologies

Siara Nazir, Head of Digital Marketing at Autodesk, will dig into The Data Dimension of Digital Transformation: How Autodesk Instrumented Its Customer Journey. She’ll describe how they leveraged a CDP to unify and centralize data — and then turned the learnings from it into a better omni-channel strategy.

Mike Pow, Senior Product Manager of Experimentation Platform at Netflix, will reveal in Quasi Experimentation at Netflix how they deploy experiments in which the units of randomization are not people, cookies, or members, but geographical units or time. This experiment design enables Netflix to learn about topics for which a traditional A/B test would be infeasible or impractical. The company is simultaneously building the scientific methodology and platform to maximize the learnings from each experiment, doing it at scale and company-wide.

The one-and-only David Raab, founder of The CDP Institute, will deliver an in-depth session on Customer Data Management 2020 — what you need to know for managing your data this year and next:

  • New options for consent management and tracking
  • Applying the right identity resolution methods for each purpose
  • Balancing privacy and personalization
  • Planning for new data regulations
  • The future of second-party and third-party data
  • Integrating analytics and delivery systems with a central customer database
  • Digital transformation and other uses of customer data outside of marketing
  • What’s next for customer data platforms

Sheryl Schultz, COO of CabinetM, will lead a session with Justin Sharaf, Director of Marketing Operations at LogMeIn, and Zack Alves, Senior Manager of Marketing Technology and Operations at Plantronics, on When Stacks Collide: Rationalizing the Marketing Stack in a Merger & Acquisition Environment. When M&A happens, you’ll learn about:

  • Reshaping the organization in a changing environment.
  • Rationalizing the stack to serve new business requirements.
  • Martech profiling for quick analysis and decision-making.
  • The value of a single source of technology truth for training and onboarding.
  • Best practices for mobilizing combined teams to coalesce around new technologies and stack structures.

Isabelle Hierholtz, User Strategy Director at Digi-Capital, one of the world’s leading AR/VR analyst and consulting firms, will present on Marketing ROI Growth Using Mobile AR. Isabelle will show how mobile AR has been used to drive 11x sales uplifts in lifestyle ecommerce, design mobile AR first retail experiences, revolutionize the shoe buying experience, and gain additional big box retailer facings and grow sales across the US, China, and Europe.

Jason Mestrits, Senior Manager Data Science & Analytics at Nordstrom, will share how leading marketing organizations are winning with a focus on data enablement, customer analytics and AI-driven innovations with Marketing Data Science and Your Data Strategy. You’ll gain insights on how creating a comprehensive data strategy enables your marketing function to do more, focus on driving meaningful competitive advantages, and avoid missed opportunities.

Aaron Wroblewski, AI Software Engineering Manager at Zillow, will present a case study of Personalizing User Experiences: Beyond A/B Testing. He’ll share the business case for a system to dynamically select personalized marketing content and calls to action for each customer. Aaron will also identify potential pitfalls like user behavior changes and data and featurization issues, while also describing the tests, metrics, and solutions that helped Zillow overcome them.

Management Track: At the Crossroads of Talent & Technology

Jennifer Brett, Head of Americas Insights at LinkedIn, will present Measure What Matters: Data Strategy to Drive Results, explaining how to go beyond clicks and engagement metrics to more meaningful measures of success, such as lead quality and closed business.

Pamela Della Motta, Director of Product for Marketing Technology, and Kristian Kristensen, VP for Engineering, for The New York Times will give a talk on Applying Product Management to Martech at The New York Times. Learn how they adopted a product management approach to martech as part of their company-wide transformation into a subscription-first digital product company. You’ll explore the benefits and challenges of a product management model that you can adapt to your organization, including:

  • How to rationalize your martech stack through the lens of product management
  • How to use agile management as a coordinating device across the organization
  • What a day in the life of a “martech product manager” looks like
  • How to manage the touch points between martech and the broader marketing team
  • How to develop and maintain a shared martech roadmap across multiple stakeholders

Rachel Beck, Global Manager of Marketing Ops at Cisco Meraki, will explain how they created a marketing ops function at a fast-growing company in only 12 months with Year One: Building a Marketing Ops Team From the Ground Up.

Alana Hill, Manager of Marketing Applications in IT at Zendesk, will share her advice on managing martech tool proliferation with Don’t be a Packrat: Tips to Clean House and Manage Your Martech Stack More Efficiently. She’ll explain:

  • How to design a robust software intake process
  • How to align IT and marketing to increase operational efficiency
  • How to build a tool management plan rooted in maintaining the right kind of data
  • How to manage the tool renewals process by the numbers

Chris Borkenhagen, CIO, Brian Donaldson, Manager of Development Engineering, and Kelly Horton, Senior Engineer of Marketing Technologies, from Docker will describe how to Maximize Efficiency and Scalability with the Right Team Structure, Data and Stack. In 2017, Docker made a decision to restructure its marketing technologies team and stack in a non-traditional way. It moved all technical roles for marketing and sales technology into IT, improving cross-functional communication, alignment and efficiency. You’ll learn:

  • How to identify roadblocks and friction in organizational structure.
  • How current organizational structure works, why it works and how to improve and evolve.How Docker uses containers to reduce deployment times & support customized API logic.
  • How to manage responsibilities across the stack: CRM, MA, CMS, Data Warehouse, BI tools, peripheral tools.

Patty Spiller, Senior Director of Growth Marketing at Livongo, will share The Secrets to a High Performing Martech Team — methods to turn your great ideas into great team achievements, including:

  • Crafting and communicating a grand vision that your team can rally behind
  • Identifying and executing “early wins” for new teams and new team members
  • Creating an environment where people are willing to experiment and push boundaries
  • Encouraging open feedback and transparency among everyone on the team
  • Empowering people through greater responsibility and ownership — and letting go
  • Building cohesion with remote team members or multi-location teams

Half-Day Pre-Conference Workshops for Deeper Learning

Want an even deeper dive into marketing technology management? Sign up for one of the half-day workshops happening Wednesday, April 3, each led by true experts in their field:

Sponsored Presentations & the Discover MarTech Theater

But wait, there’s more…

In addition to the editorial program for All Access attendees, there’s an incredible set of sponsored sessions and Discover MarTech theater presentations you can attend with a FREE Expo+ pass! Leading martech vendors Oracle, IBM, Demandbase, Dataroma, SurveyMonkey, Workfront, Acquia, Allocadia, Sitecore, ON24, Blueshift, Pitney Bowes, Magnolia, Merkle, Tealium, Percolate, VanillaSoft, Brightcove, Yes Marketing, Arm Treasure Data, Brandcast, Scaled Inference, Akkroo, and more will tackle crucial martech topics, including…

  • A Marketer’s Guide to the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA)
  • Solving The Stack: Building A MarTech Portfolio That Transforms Your Marketing
  • Marketing Technology Today and Tomorrow: Pipe Dreams and Boiled Oceans
  • Inspiring a Data-First Culture Through Internal Activism
  • The Truth About Personalization — Using a CDP to Personalize Marketing
  • ABM & Modern B2B Advertising: Reaching The Buying Committee At Target Accounts
  • How Martec Helped Lands’ End Double Revenue & Streamline Marketing Processes
  • Webify Everything: How to Gain More Control Over Your Customer Journey
  • Driving Growth with AI-driven Segmentation, Personalization, and Optimization
  • B2B Account Based Tactics at Enterprise Scale
  • The Day Marketing Held Sales Accountable
  • Take the Leap: Moving from Random Acts to Impactful Marketing ROI
  • Transform into a Modern B2B Marketing Powerhouse
  • The Five Tensions of Customer Experience
  • Closing the CX Gap: Making Sense of MarTech Sprawl

Tony Byrne, the founder of research and advisory firm Real Story Group, will also host recurring Discover MarTech Theater presentations on The New Omni-Channel Stack, The Right Way to Buy Marketing Technology, Myths Vendors Tell, and Get the Right Vendor Short List.

You’ll also be able to meet with dozens of other martech vendors exhibiting in the Expo Hall.

Reserve Your Tickets Now: Prices Go Up March 2

If you’re looking to achieve the best results from marketing technology in your organization, as a marketing technologist, a marketing operations leader, a marketing executive, or the champion driving digital transformation, this is an event you won’t want to miss.

Our Beta rates end on Saturday, March 2. Reserve your seat now. I’m looking forward to seeing you in April!

P.S. Get a sneak peek at the kinds of insights you can expect at MarTech by joining me Thursday, February 28 at 1:00PM EST for a free webinar: 2019 Martech Trends You Need To Know. Secure your spot today!


Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land. Staff authors are listed here.


About The Author

Scott Brinker is the conference chair of the MarTech® Conference, a vendor-agnostic marketing technology conference and trade show series produced by MarTech Today’s parent company, Third Door Media. The MarTech event grew out of Brinker’s blog, chiefmartec.com, which has chronicled the rise of marketing technology and its changing marketing strategy, management and culture since 2008. In addition to his work on MarTech, Scott serves as the VP platform ecosystem at HubSpot. Previously, he was the co-founder and CTO of ion interactive.

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