Marketing technology in a downturn

Steve Rubel has a positive post titled The Collaboration Economy that encourages marketers to face the current economic downturn as an opportunity to become more efficient, open, and collaborative.

Those drivers have the potential to usher in a new generation of marketing technology, especially geared towards optimizing the communication and coordination between agencies and in-house teams.

Rubel talks about using wikis, internal blogs, and microblogs — which I agree are a great start — to tackle the “huge inefficiencies in the way agencies manage workflow internally and also how they collaborate with clients.”

However, I also think there will be a wave of new marketing-specific applications — primarily offered as software-as-a-service (SaaS) — that help address challenges with implementing and managing:

  • Long Tail strategies in search marketing and online advertising;
  • social media marketing at scale across a plethora of microchannels;
  • closed-loop (or semi-closed-loop) tracking of marketing ROI;

These three areas are, in my opinion, the golden children for the next phase of digital marketing — possibly with semantic marketing, if the business incentives crystallize (for instance, if Semantic Web metadata enables a major boost in search engine optimization).

They also present tremendous opportunities for software to serve as a “force multiplier” in their management and execution.

These next few years should be seminal ones for marketer-technologists — whether in agencies or in-house teams — to merge the art and science of marketing into a new techno-marketing culture. Not one where technology is a condiment to the marketing sausage, but an integral part of what’s fed into the strategic sausage-making machine from the beginning.

Sometimes it’s when things get rough that the biggest changes can be made. The time for chief marketing technologists to rise to leadership is now.

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