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Three martech trends from #TFM17

Posted by Alex Warren on 28th September 2017

This week the Wildfire team headed over to Olympia to attend TFM, one of the UK’s biggest marketing technology trade shows. At the event we met with marketers, search specialists and even the occasional android, asking them for their views on the future of martech. Following these conversations, here are the top three trends we identified from this year’s show.

1. Integration beats automation

For the last few years, marketers have been obsessed with the idea of automation. From email marketing to landing page development, there are few aspects of marketing that haven’t been simplified by the addition of smart interfaces and intelligent machines. Now however, marketers are faced with a new challenge — integrating all of these automated tools with one consolidated platform.

According to research showcased at TFM, the average marketer must now juggle 12 different tools to manage their “intelligent” marketing initiatives. With this in mind, many of those speaking at the show were keen to look beyond automation and start thinking about how integration can benefit their products, services and brands.

2. Robo-shoppers are a reality

While at TFM we were fortunate enough to bump into Pepper, the multi-purpose android from SoftBank robotics. Being showcased by SAP, Pepper has been reprogrammed to act as a fully functioning shop assistant, helping people pick out items and collect products they’ve bought online.

While the use of Pepper remains a bit of an on-stand gimmick, it does draw attention to a much more important trend in retail and marketing technology — in-store/online crossovers.

More than ever before, consumers are taking an omnichannel approach to shopping, often browsing online and then going in store to try on an item or to make a purchase. Whether through the use of click-and-collect services, data-driven customer service desks or even internet-enabled robot shop assistants, in-store crossover experience formed a major trend at this year’s show.

3. Innovation is struggling for air

One of the biggest things that attending this year’s TFM made us realise was that martech is both bubbling with innovation, and yet, also struggling to breathe among all the competition.

Between the hundreds of email marketing, CMS and cloud-based services on the show floor, it was clear that the differentiating factors between each were becoming ever more irrelevant. Among this mass of generic “solution providers”, however, were a number of genuine innovators trying to break through the noise.

Global-e, Domo and all stood out as adding something genuinely different to the space, providing products and solutions with previously unseen features and clear unique selling points. Despite these benefits however, the sheer volume of providers now operating in the martech space will make it increasingly difficult for these innovators to stand out.

This will be one of the biggest challenges facing martech brands in years to come — that they must work harder than ever before to make a splash and get their products in front of the right audiences.

To find out more, visit the Technology for Marketing show’s website

Alex Warren

Alex Warren is an expert in AI and marketing technologies. He has published two books, Spin Machines, and Technoutopia and is regularly quoted in PR, marketing and technology media. In his role as a Senior Account Director at Wildfire he helps tech brands build creative strategies that deliver results and cut through the marketing BS.