Jordan Kretchmer
Sep 30, 2016

The future is social, and martech is finally catching up

Modern marketers must shed the mantle of how things have always been done to embrace what’s actually working, argues Livefyre's Jordan Kretchmer.

Jordan Kretchmer
Jordan Kretchmer

The desire for human connection is hardwired in our DNA. Over the decades, the way people form connections has evolved exponentially. The internet introduced ways of communicating that cavemen could only dream of.

Now, in our socially driven world, people are more connected than ever. Take a look at the numbers: every 60 seconds, 1.25 million images are uploaded across Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, WhatsApp, and Snapchat alone. If that doesn’t amaze you, think about this: 90 percent of the content in the world today has been generated just in the last two years.

On top of people’s inherent need to broadcast their every move on social, they can now do it on their desktop, smartphones, tablets and wearables. This obviously sets marketers between a rock and a hard place. Brands used to be able to broadcast one-way messages to reach their audience, but that doesn’t fly anymore.

‘Multiscreen’ means more than you think

Take just a moment to really think about how many screens you interact with each day. Your phone and computer come to mind first, followed by your TV (which is now an interactive device as well). In addition to these obvious choices, screens now encompass watches, bus-shelter billboards, vehicle dashboards, GPS devices, tablets of every shape and size, kiosks for ordering food or searching for information, self-checkout terminals in stores, and much more.

On most of these screens, you interact with a variety of platforms, including social media, banner ads, and email. Each of those digital interfaces is a touchpoint through which consumers can engage with brands. The average person uses six different devices every day—and those are just the ones he or she owns. Most people have even begun using an average of 2.42 devices simultaneously.

With time at a premium, and distraction at an all-time high, people have to prioritise—unfortunately, consuming branded marketing messages is usually not at the top of their list. With everything considered, it’s no surprise that this reality is causing a tectonic shift in the role of the marketer.

People trust people (just like them)

Consumers trust content that is produced by their peers—user-generated content (UGC)—far more than they trust content that is created by brands.

  • 92 percent of consumers claim they trust earned media, such as word of mouth and recommendations from friends and family members, above all other forms of advertising.
  • 30 percent of millennials spend their time consuming content that is created and curated by peers.
  • 50 percent of all consumers find user-generated content more memorable than brand-produced content.

If you’re a brand trying to gain your audience's trust, you need to be incorporating this content into your marketing strategy. In order to do that, you must have the right tools in place. Unfortunately, the majority of solutions available to marketers aren’t equipped to develop, manage, or curate UGC in one place.

Marketing technology (martech) lags behind the current needs of the digital marketer with point-solution based platforms. How do you expect agile marketers to keep up with consumer demands when they’re juggling dozens of martech solutions to create their campaigns?

Does martech need to embrace this seemingly necessary shift?

Organisations continuing to operate under the old model, buying point-solution after point-solution for each one of their needs, are never going to truly be successful. This dated strategy results in disjointed, expensive, and confusing 10-foot-tall martech stacks that are scattered over multiple dashboards, adding more confusion than clarity.

This leads me to ask the question, “Does marketing have a shopping addiction?

The fact is, marketing technology needs an update to meet the changing needs of both marketers and customers. Modern marketers must shake off the mantle of how things have always been done and embrace what’s actually working in the current environment.

New marketing technologies should avoid supporting channel-led initiatives and, instead, seek content- and engagement-led strategies that allow them to achieve their goals.

The future of social tech is channel-agnostic solutions

If marketers need to deliver omni-channel experiences for their audiences, they need martech that makes it dead simple to perform their digital marketing activity from one place. Most marketers today buy between four and seven different martech solutions.

This leads to significant cost inefficiencies, disconnected analytics and insights, and countless missed opportunities to deliver relevant and timely content to their audiences. Imagine a platform where you can:

  1. Discover, create, enrich, organise, and manage all your content in one place
  2. Publish content to any channel from that same place
  3. Engage consumers online and offline using smarter tools that are connected
  4. Measure outcomes in real-time, and watch your campaign automatically adjust accordingly

Your campaigns should be orchestrated from content and experiences that are completely consistent across all channels.

Be part of the solution

Brands are starting to form Social Centers of Excellence to manage global social efforts and deal with this problem. How can your organisation support this effort?

  1. Become part of the conversation and demand more integrated solutions
  2. Help others understand the importance of simplifying/consolidating social-tech stacks
  3. Make sure omni-channel strategies are being executed
  4. Identify workflow synergies across disconnected teams
  5. Help brands think “experience” first; and
  6. Search for martech that supports robust, integrated marketing initiatives

Adapting to current trends will require letting go of past structures and beliefs, and thinking more holistically about how the technologies you use to deliver social marketing should integrate. The future is here, and it is about experience-led social rather than channel-led social experiences.

Shifting your thinking, and your organisation, toward this model will ensure that you remain part of the action—and not just a memory of how things used to be.

Jordan Kretchmer is senior director and general manager of Livefyre, acquired by Adobe in May 2016.

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