5 Technology-Driven Takeaways from CES 2016 Day 2

January 7, 2016

Technology has long had an outsized impact on marketing. Radio and TV created new opportunities for marketers in the last century. Now, by enabling new technologies such as email, search engines, social media, and marketing automation software, the Internet has transformed marketing and made CMOs more influential in the C-suite.

In fact, at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this week, Ashu Garg, partner at venture capital firm Foundation Capital, made the case that the next 10 years will be “the decade of the CMO” – in large part due to technology. Here are five takeaways from Day 2 of CES 2016 that illuminate the impact technology is having on the marketing department:

Marketing Technology Spending Is Poised to Explode

Garg estimates that spending on marketing technology will surge from $12 billion last year to $120 billion by 2025. In the same timeframe, the percentage of annual marketing budgets spent on marketing technology will balloon from 1 percent to 10 percent.

In conjunction with the rise in marketing technology, which provides marketers with the capability to deliver more targeted messaging and to more precisely measure results, Garg sees five trends that will give CMOs more influence in the C-suite:

  • CMOs will be able to more precisely demonstrate the business impact of their marketing investments.
  • Marketing departments are increasingly populated with “math men” rather than “Mad Men,” as the ability to understand data becomes increasingly important.
  • Content will become even more important as marketing departments will gain the trust of their prospects and customers via relevant, authentic and engaging content. “You have to think of a marketing organization of having a newsroom at its center,” Garg said.
  • “Mass personalization is not an oxymoron,” Garg said. Using technology, marketing departments can connect with prospects at scale on a one-to-one, personalized basis.
  • CMOs will no longer just be generating leads but closing deals, as e-commerce will increasingly become the norm. “Sales will be orders takers and in some cases disappear completely," he said.

General Electric Is Using Marketing Automation to Deliver Strong Customer Experiences

During a session titled, “C Space Storyteller: LinkedIn and GE,” General Electric’s Andy Markowitz told the tale of how GE uses Marketo’s marketing automation platform in tandem with LinkedIn to deliver targeted messages to prospects. Markowitz said marketing automation has become entrenched at GE in a short period. “Two years ago, no one touched marketing automation,” he said. “Now we have 50 people at GE who are using it.” Markowitz said marketing automation is a key element in helping GE tell its story to the right people at the right time in the right medium. In the same way, marketing automation helps GE anticipate its customers’ needs and deliver an inviting customer experience. Ultimately, he said GE aims to provide an Amazon.com-like experience that includes “click-to-chat” and the website recognizing individuals when they return. “We strive for an consumer-grade, industrial-strength approach,” he said. In addition to improving customer experience, marketing automation also helps CMOs prove the value of their investments. “This is the dawn of the age of accountability,” Markowitz said.

Brands Must Innovate or Face Irrelevance

MediaLink's “Brand Reinvention” session featured a star-studded panel of marketers who have tackled the challenge of bringing their 100 year-old brands into the 21st century. Among these brands: Coca-Cola Company, NBC Universal, Time Inc., iHeartMedia and Playboy. So, how have they remained relevant throughout the decades? The answer: Innovation.

"Every day is a new invention. For brands to stay relevant, innovation and transformation is essential for survival," said Emanuel Seuge, Senior Vice President of Content at Coca-Cola. Rather than being afraid of the possible changes and disruption ahead, we should embrace it, push the limit, and ultimately be memorable, he said.

General Electric's Markowitz added, "You don't want some kid in his garage creating a piece of software to undermine a $10 million dollar program." Be bold. Be brave. It's an exciting time to be a marketer. And now is your chance to create an experience for your audience that will truly surprise and delight.

Experimenting with Innovative Technologies Sometimes Means Embracing Failure

Another insight from the “Brand Reinvention” panel was what companies as diverse as Coca-Cola, NBCUniversal, Playboy, iHeartRadio, and General Electric, agreed upon: Each of these companies noted that failure is a critical part of the journey to reinvention. Reinvention is not a lightning bolt; it takes time and experimentation. As CMO Gayle Troberman, who led the journey of ClearChannel evolving into iHeartRadio said, "You stumble, you make mistakes. That’s the only way you reinvent." GE’s Markowitz said GE uses Slack and has an internal channel called FailComms, where employees can openly share their failure – and most importantly, what they learned from it. 

Technology Poses Challenges for Brands to Remain Authentic in the Long Term

Marketing technology enables marketers to have conversations with customers on a massive scale. The challenge is making sure those automated conversations are relevant and authentic. During a CES panel on Wednesday, Pandora founder Tim Westergren sat down for a chat with tech entrepreneur/entertainer Nick Cannon and authenticity was a topic. Westergren asked the multi-faceted artist about his personal brand and how he maintains his authenticity in the age of the Internet, where so many people rise and fall so quickly. Cannon says he keeps a birdseye perspective around his brand. “It’s not about trending or the hot topic of the day,” says Cannon. “I started to analyze the legends, Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson etc.  We are all fans of their entire career and that’s what matters most.” Cannon says he loves the immediacy of social media, but that’s simply a mood for the day. He recommends focusing on “creating a body of work that will sustain over time.” It’s a concept brands should keep in mind. 

Technology appears poised to have an outsized influence on marketing for the foreseeable future. To keep up to date with the latest in technological advances for marketers, subscribe to the LinkedIn Marketing Solutions blog today!