In this series, we’ll unpack our marketing technology deployment strategy. We’ll learn how to properly plan a marketing technology stack rollout, develop a sensible governance model, examine what could go wrong, and succeed on the first try rather than patch and duct tape a disaster repeatedly.
Part 7: The Future of Marketing Technology and Project Management
We’ve covered in enormous amount of ground in this series, from the basics of project management to compliance and enterprise deployment. Let’s now turn our eyes forward and see what the future of marketing technology and project management looks like.
One of the newer developments in project and workflow management is agile marketing. While we will not delve into the details of agile here, the ability to manage multiple, conflicting priorities is an essential part of marketing project management today. No methodology is better suited for the management of multiple priorities than agile development.
In traditional project management, once we have worked out the scope and plan, we execute on the plan. However, one of the limitations of this process is that if circumstances substantially change between the time of planning and the time of execution, we may not be able to adapt quickly to the new environment.
Agile methodology gives us the ability to pivot quickly to new priorities as they become apparent. As a simple example, imagine we are executing on a visual marketing plan using Snapchat Stories. We’re just a week into the project when Instagram releases its new Stories feature. In a traditional project plan, we would finish executing the Snapchat plan regardless of the circumstances; at best, we would try to additional resources to try and adapt what we’re doing with Snapchat on Instagram.
In an agile marketing environment, we would simply add Instagram into the next rapid planning cycle and be ready to go. For more in-depth reading about agile marketing, see this blog post.
From Project to Product
As more marketing initiatives move to cloud-based environments, one additional trend we will continue to see grow is the transition from marketing project management to marketing product management. Developing tools and software for use in-house is becoming more common. Especially at the enterprise level, very few marketing software packages do exactly what we want out of the box. We will often customize software or add additional, custom-developed processes in front of or behind out-of-the-box software.
It requires very little imagination to make the leap between in-house software and product for the mass market. The only major limitation for companies developing their own marketing software and transforming it into a product is whether or not a company wants to be in the SaaS software business.
Regardless of whether a company brings its own custom develop software solutions to market or not, marketing project managers need to incorporate the skills of product managers in order to be as effective as possible.
Risk Mitigation with Machine Learning
Finally, one of the most interesting developments in project management will be the incorporation of advanced machine learning technologies into critical areas such as risk mitigation and compliance. Marketing technology increasingly bumps into regulatory and compliance issues; one such example is the General Data Protection Regulation or GDPR. This regulation, passed in 2016 and enforced in 2018, will significantly limit the amount of third-party data that marketers can use, and place heavy restrictions and compliance requirements on first-party data that market is collect, such as customer information.
Auditing our entire infrastructure for compliance will require massive resources and time; with machine learning technologies such as IBM Watson GRC, we will significantly reduce the amount of time we need to spend bringing our systems into compliance. Watson reads the regulations for us, compares our internal policies, documentation, and systems to the requirements, and shows us where we are out of alignment with regulations.
The Future of Marketing Technology is Bright
While some have been expecting consolidation to occur in the industry and reduce the number of tools available to us, the opposite has been happening. In the most recent version of Scott Brinkner’s Marketing Technology landscape, the total number of vendors in the marketing technology space ballooned 40%, from 3,500 to 5,381. The reason why is simple: customers and consumers are using ever more sophisticated technology in their daily lives. Our marketing technology must continue to adapt and evolve to support those customers.
The ever-increasing pace of change drives the even more rapid evolution of marketing technology. While bewildering, this pace of change is good for us. Rather than be relegated to a few monolithic vendors, we have greater choices available to us to make our marketing as impactful as possible. Far from being a mature market, the future of marketing technology is new and brighter than ever.
Christopher S. Penn
Vice President, Marketing Technology