My Top 5 Modern MarTech Predictions of 2020

I had an opportunity to write a piece for the folks at MarTech Advisor to share my reflections on the last decade… As an old marketing “G” aka digital gangster… it’s so cool to finally be at 2020… for the last decade all our stats and charts have been tracking towards what X will have evolved to in 2020… 2020 has been a marker we have quoted for the last decade and now we’re here… READ THE FULL ARTICLE.


Over the past decade, the voice of the customer grew stronger than ever before. It was a decade where the customer reshaped the buyer’s journey, and digital spend outpaced traditional channels. It was a decade where the power of madmen faded. They were unseated by “mathmen” as decision making in marketing moved from subjective to objective, data-driven truths. It was a decade that birthed new, cross-functional roles such as Chief Experience Officer, Growth Marketer and Data Scientist. We saw brand building go from a long, multi-million dollar process to a break-neck speed, almost formulaic process where iconic brands have been supplanted by new brands crowned by social media and coronated to unicorn status in no time. Finally, it was a decade where traditional frameworks were reinvented to become “modern” to differentiate innovative disciplines from the status quo.

In 2020, I predict that marketers will go beyond “modern” in these five areas:

1. Beyond Marketing Automation

As a digital marketer, I believe that there has never been a more exciting time to be in the marketing profession.

Technology is enabling the digitization of the art of persuasion and measurement of marketing success to a greater degree of precision than ever before. But, I never really bought into the notion of being able to have technology nurture the consumer or prospect down a straight, clear path. Over the past decade as consumer expectations rose, it became clear that the idea of scoring actions and steering the consumer along the buyer journey was only a dream. In reality, there was a lot of guesswork and arbitrary decisions.

With this in mind, I predict that AI-driven experiments will increase in 2020 as more companies simplify their MarTech stack and use predictive analytics to provide sales and marketing with better signals around which customers and prospects to prioritize.

As the amount of unstructured customer data that brands need to process continues to grow, the secret sauce will be in the ability to predict actions – not just the ability to automate. Marketers and technologists will toggle between building in-house models and buying next-generation marketing tools that enable prospect prioritization and sales cycle acceleration.

2. Beyond The Funnel

It’s interesting to me that the word “funnel” has become a dirty word in some circles. Apparently “The Funnel is Dead.” Much is written about its demise and replacement with the Flywheel or some variation in the last decade.

The most exciting part of this discussion around the “funnel” is that marketers are collectively realizing the fact that a brand’s best acquisition actually starts at the end of a traditional funnel – with customers. Delivering for customers IS an acquisition tactic. Getting customers to become advocates and refer a product or service should be a marketers best net new customer acquisition tactic.

What works in Business to Consumer (B2C) now works in Business to Business (B2B). I predict that in the B2B space there will be more brands focused on the power of reviews in their paid, owned and earned initiatives and invest in a formal referral marketing program to scale word-of-mouth awareness.

This means that in the same way marketing automation made sales and marketing align efforts, it will become necessary for marketing and customer success to work more closely. Marketers should be looking to invest in tools that focus on supporting this alignment.


3. Beyond Online 

The last decade has been an absolute delight for digital marketers. The ability to instrument on the touchpoints in the buyer’s journey advanced, making the ability to track and report channel performance more precisely.

What excites me about the next decade is the ability to connect the science of marketing with the art of marketing – aligning the work that is driving demand seamlessly with the work that is focused on driving awareness.

Going deeper into the data, beyond demographics and into behavioral and psychographic data, will continue to help marketers improve performance. For example, I predict that as smart TV adoption increases we will see a blurring of targeting between the online and offline mediums as marketers will be able to target TV/streaming audiences with greater precision. This will impact the approach to creative development for offline channels. Marketers will use a broader set of insights to drive creative strategy. And, marketing between online and offline worlds from a data and targeting perspective will continue to converge.



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