Each MarTech conference kicks off with Scott Brinker sharing the state of the marketing-technology landscape and this year’s conference was no different. As the mar tech landscape continues to grow at astounding rates, there are now almost 5,000 companies in the industry. That’s a huge jump from the 150 companies that made up the mar tech landscape back in 2011 when this analysis was first put together.

Not surprising, this revelation created a lot of buzz and chatter over the past week about the ever-changing buyer’s journey. With this many companies occupying the same space, many of the MarTech speakers discussed the increased competition over a buyer’s attention.

Below, we’ll share our top takeaways from the conference, as well as some tips for keeping your buyers engaged.

Takeaway #1: Know Thy Customer

We are living in the age of the customer. These days modern marketers live and die by the success or failure of a lead through the funnel. In his session on “identity resolution”, Joe Stanhope, the VP Principal Analyst at Forrester said that, “consumers expect to get what they want in their immediate context and moment of need.” With a fierce competition for attention, Joe said that 2017 will be the year in which smart marketers realize that to know and reach their customer, they will first have to identify ideal customer personas.

To be successful, Joe recommends that you, “understand the customer journey and the tipping points to engage with the right customer, at the right time.” He added that marketers need to realize that we are working in a competitive battleground. All the strategies and tactics that marketers use–landing pages, emails, and more–are not exclusive to any one company or industry. So when it comes to breaking through the noise to win more customers, we need to know thy customer first.

Expect this tactic to gain momentum just like account-based marketing has. According to Joe, “identity resolution” will become the key enabler for marketers to add more qualified leads to their pipeline by connecting what your customers want to the needs your platform, and serving up relevant content to the buyer on the right channel, at the right time.

Takeaway #2: Personalize Each Step of the Way

Think about the last time you were on the phone as a customer–you probably expected great customer service. You had an initial conversation with someone on the other end of the line and you want each person you speak to after that to have all the details of your issue or concern, right? Well Michel Feaster of Usermind, reminded us in her session that B2B marketers are committing a marketing sin by not passing along personalized details down the buyer’s journey.

Building on the theme of customers first, they stressed that marketers need to deliver a powerful end-to-end customer experience. Michel added that it’s important for sales and marketing to come together on this matter so that from the very first discovery call to each check-in call you have with a customer, the information about what they need to succeed is right there for everyone to use. To do so, she recommends adopting a “CRM 3.0” strategy, which combines real-time interactions, omni-channel delivery, and data and customer journey information to deliver contextual marketing. In other words, anything you discuss with your customer should be in the context of their previously expressed needs and wants.

The 5 steps that Michel recommends for adopting a CRM 3.0 are:

  1. Identify your core audience
  2. Develop your customer narrative
  3. Sequence and take note of key milestones along the way
  4. Build your in-house stack to support real-time customer personalization
  5. Orchestrate, scale, optimize and repeat.

Takeaway #3: Attention is a Gift

Social media influencer and guru Gary Vaynerchuk talks about this all the time, so I wasn’t surprised when a few speakers nodded to his theory that we’re living in the attention economy. If you’re unfamiliar with Gary V, he essentially believes that businesses, brands, and influencers alike need to go where people’s attention already is in order to make a good impression. In other words, focusing more on mobile and social apps rather than lengthy TV commercials that just get fast-forwarded.

Melissa Nazar of SnapApp applied this theory to B2B when she asked the audience, “when have you ever read a white paper and had a life-changing epiphany on the way you’re marketing or running your business?” The room responded with a chuckle, and let’s face it, you have maybe downloaded 10-15 ebooks as a B2B marketer but only once or twice have you actually used those insights to improve the way you market to customers.

Bharath Srinivasan of Nimble Storage also added to this concept in his session by stating that, “it’s difficult these days to catch a buyer’s attention with just one email or call to action.” With nearly 5,000 companies in Scott Brinker’s B2B landscape, Bharath is definitely hitting it right on the mark. He added, “our executive team (at Nimble Storage) doesn’t want to put in more dollars to marketing if we’re not showing the impact.”

So how do both Melissa and Bharath recommend capturing your target audience’s attention? The advice is two-fold. First, take a new approach to your content delivery. If no one’s going to have a life-changing epiphany from reading a lengthy white paper, why not send them a targeted, customized one-sheet on how your business meets their needs instead? Second, measure everything. And we mean, everything. Both speakers mentioned that the single most metric you should be tracking right now is marketing influenced revenue. How will you know what’s working and resonating with your buyers if you aren’t tracking how each and every marketing touch point is impacting their journey?

By getting started on the path of multi-touch attribution, you are able to see where your buyers’ attention is now within your funnel and where you need to focus in order to get that attention. This allows your marking team to easily map out where they should focus their time and effort. If you want to learn more about how multi-touch attribution can work, check out this customer cast study we did with Nimble Storage!

See you all in October for MarTech Boston!