What will we see emerge this year in marketing? While it’s no surprise that artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) have tied for first place as the top data initiatives for 2019, according to MemSQL’s survey of over 1,600 data specialists, for us marketers, reliable data that informs business decisions, aligning marketing and sales around that data, and being first to get this right will be key trends.

Here’s a closer look:

1. Without Accurate, Reliable Data, Your Business Will Fail (Eventually)

Gone are the days where executive leadership is impressed and appeased with flashy new tactics. In fact, to survive in the future, you are going to have to get serious about the reliability of your data. You are going to need real-time, reliable insights in order to make critical business decisions. In the months ahead, more advanced AI-based tools will help marketing leaders with strategic questions, such as determining what marketing efforts garnish the highest ROI, who is their ideal buyer or buying group, and where the bottlenecks are in the sales process.

It’s action based on data you can trust — and AI is powering it. As part of this, we’ll also see better campaign tracking that will help CMOs manage the entire process, from ideation to execution, and better data for target campaigns  attribution all the way down to closed-won.

Accessing this data will be driven by powerful platforms like People.ai that capture all marketing and sales activity and events and accurately and automatically map them into Salesforce.

2. Sales and Marketing Will Find Harmony in the Data

Sales and marketing really do want to get along. And for many companies, that’s beginning to happen.This year sales and marketing will move closer into alignment as they base decisions on the same set of normalized data (made possible by AI), use the same analytics tools, and work from the same view of the customer. Software maker Gainsight got a jump on this process in 2018 when they rolled out People.ai to better predict their close rates. The platform brought both sales and marketing into closer alignment around revenue projections and deal trends. It’s only a matter of time before other companies become one harmonious team. And when they do, they will be unstoppable.

3. Agility = Differentiation. Period.

Larger enterprises have long had the advantage in marketing due to bigger budgets, more manpower, and wider distribution networks. That’s about to change. Just as the web leveled the playing field in e-commerce because small companies could have killer websites, now CMOs with AI-powered marketing tech will have the agility and a first-mover advantage they need to dominate their verticals. Your size doesn’t matter anymore. Your speed does. It’s time to re-think those sound and reasonable marketing strategies that worked yesterday, because if your competitors react faster than you do, you’ll be at risk.  

To Sum Up…

Customer orientation and differentiated experiences have been the holy grail of marketers for some time now, and we’ve all done our best to create them. Finally, the data management tools we’ve needed have matured enough to create specificity at scale. AI and ML have reached a level of sophistication to offer real time, deep data insights that will change the game entirely.

The end run to 2020 is shaping up to be an neck-and-neck race among the companies led by the most AI-informed, aligned, secure, agile, and customized marketing (and sales!) departments. The early adopters have a head start in applying analytics and business intelligence platforms, but the next wave of implementers are likely to have the biggest impact on industry leadership for the decade to come.

So bring it on 2019, we’re ready for you!

About the Author

Dayle Hall
Chief Marketing Officer

Dayle is a marketing executive with 19+ years’ experience across all marketing disciplines. He is responsible for all strategic marketing activities including branding, product positioning, communications, customer acquisition and go-to-market strategy.

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