Wow, you can’t scroll a mobile screenful on Twitter these days without hitting at least three predictions for 2016. I’ve got a few bubbling in the back of my head — my recent posts on the 5 stages of maturity in marketing technology categories and the race for the #1 and #2 marketing technology brands give some hint to what I think the year ahead may bring.
But there’s one marketing tech prediction I can offer with 100% certainty: the next MarTech conference in San Francisco, March 21-22, will be, by and far, the best one yet.
Yes, I’m biased. But if you read the following, I think you’ll agree.
With upwards of 2,000 attendees expected for this next event, we decided to move to a two-track format for the program. This was game changing for the agenda, as it enables us to have nearly twice as much content — 38 sessions in total (actually 44 counting the sponsored presentations at the lunches).
I’ll share some of the highlights with you in a minute, and you can also browse detailed descriptions for most of the sessions on the agenda on the conference site now (the few TBA spots are being finalized and will be up shortly).
But first, I want to thank all the people who submitted presentation ideas in our call-for-speakers — and, sadly, apologize to the vast majority them. While the flood of brilliant suggestions that people sent in was nothing short of astounding — so many fantastic stories in the marketing tech world these days! — due to the constraints of a two-day agenda, even with two tracks, we were only able to accept 8%.
Crikey, it’s easier to get into Juilliard. And it’s heartbreaking, because so many of the 92% that were not accepted were truly terrific suggestions, from top-notch speakers with seriously cool topics to share. If the boundaries of time and space were not so intractable, we’d have accepted 10X as many.
So if you sent in a suggestion that wasn’t accepted, please know that I am sincerely grateful for the effort you invested — I admire what so many of you are doing — and I am sorry that we couldn’t accommodate you in the program.
Okay, enough about what’s not in. To give you a sense of what is in, let me first briefly tell you about the plenary “keynotes” that will open and close each day:
- I’ll open up Monday with a presentation that will cover both the shifting dynamics of the 2016 marketing technology landscape as well as my forthcoming book, Hacking Marketing. I’ll have more to tell you about the book soon, but its basic premise is this: given the entanglement of marketing and software, what management frameworks can modern marketers borrow and adapt from the software community? Agile marketing is one great example of this cross-pollination of management concepts, but there are actually dozens of others that I’m really excited to share with you.
- On Monday afternoon, we’ll dive deeper into agile and lean practices with a roundtable discussion on Agile Marketing: How to Really Make It Thrive. I’m psyched to have Jascha Kaykas-Wolff, the CMO of Mozilla and one of the original pioneers of the agile marketing movement, as well as Barre Hardy of CMG Partners and David Lesué of Workfront — and one other special guest to be announced soon — join me for an in-depth discussion of the most effective and innovative agile techniques they’ve seen succeed in the real world — and how to overcome the myriad of challenges that teams face when adopting an agile cadence.
- We’ll close Monday with a fireside chat between myself and Monique Bonner, the dynamic Global Vice President for Digital, Technology and Innovation at Dell to discuss her experience in marketing transformation, covering topics such centralization vs. decentralization, the evolution of martech stacks, programs to nurture marketing talent in this new environment, building human connections through digital touchpoints, governing brand and security issues while empowering staff with new martech capabilities, and breaking down silos between internal and external groups collaborating on a global scale.
- On Tuesday morning, we’ll open up with a presentation by Ram Krishnan, SVP & CMO at Frito-Lay North America on Frito-Lay’s D3 Convergence in Marketing: Design, Digital, and Demand. Ram will describe the company’s pioneering D3 Studios initiative that brings together a divergent set of contributors — designers, creative people, data scientists, and people who can actually code — to “make magic happen” across exciting new marketing programs and projects.
- Next up, David Edelman, the Global Co-Leader of McKinsey Digital, Marketing and Sales, at McKinsey & Company, who has helped many of the world’s top brands transform their companies to thrive in this age of digitally empowered consumers will given a presentation on how to lead the vision and management of end-to-end customer journeys in this new environment. He will share how getting the value from marketing technology is a team sport, and what that should mean for your investment priorities in 2016.
- We’ll then close the Tuesday morning plenary sessions with a fireside chat between myself and growth hacker extrodinaire Andrew Chen, who now heads up efforts to spur viral growth in “supply” at Uber. Andrew is a living legend in the growth hacking community — and one of my personal heros — who has advised a number of the fastest growing companies in Silicon Valley. In this candid discussion, we’ll dive into a range of topics around the interseciton of marketing, technology, “growth” management, talent development, digital strategy, and more.
- Finally, on Tuesday afternoon, we will close out the conference with two back-to-back roundtables: a Vendor Roundtable on the Future of Marketing Tech and a Venture Capital Roundtable on the Future of Marketing Tech. While the far majority of the sessions at MarTech are focused on what you can actually do today at the intersection of marketing and technology — which is already mind-blowing, given all the innovation we’ve seen over the past year — these two sessions will bring together many of the leading minds in the industry, those who have billions of dollars at stake, for a completely open debate about the future of our industry.
But those plenary sessions are really just the tip of the iceberg. It’s the 30 additional sessions across the two tracks that will be running for the rest of the two days that contain the heart of MarTech — all 20-minute TED-style presentations that are designed to impart actionable insight and learning on highly focused topics, led by renowned experts and brand leaders.
You’ll hear from an amazing line-up of speakers on a diverse range of marketing tech related subjects, from top brands such as Walt Disney, Cisco, Heineken, PBS, Zendesk, DHL, Box, Clorox, Intuit, Coca-Cola, New Relic, Tableau, LinkedIn, SapientNtiro, ShoreTel, Healthgrades, Akamai, Publicis, LogMeIn, McKesson, CA Technologies, Zurich NA, and more. You’ll also hear from top industry analysts and experts such as David Raab, Mayur Gupta, Christopher Penn, Travis Wright, Laura Patterson, Tony Bryne at Real Story Group, Gerry Murray at IDC, Pat LaPointe of Growth Calculus.
There will be more marketing tech brilliance jammed into the Hilton San Francisco Union Square than in any other city block in history.
And all those speakers are just one slice of it…
We’re also expecting nearly 100 leading marketing technology vendors who will participate in a vibrant and innovative exhibit hall. This will be a terrific chance to meet many of your favorite companies face-to-face, as well as serendipitously discover dozens of new ones.
And, of course, above all, there will be the opportunity to meet hundreds of your peers, make new connections in the industry, and enjoy a whirlwind 48 hours of marketing technology nirvana in the heart of San Francisco.
I’m 1,500 words into this post, and I am only skimming the surface of what will transpire at this event. I will stand by my prediction: this will be the best MarTech ever.
A full-access pass will be $1,895 on site. However, you can save $500 if you register before January 9. This will be the best deal on MarTech tickets. (There are also deeper discounts for teams in this “alpha rate” time window.) So if you want to attend, and you have the option to reserve your spot now, I would highly encourage you to do so.
I hope to see you there!