Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR), Artificial Intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT)…the acronyms are endless, and we marketers are experiencing tech overload. As sponsors of Atlanta’s American Marketing Association (AMA) Innovation Marketing group, Hothouse curated an event designed to provide local marketers with the insights needed to develop effective campaigns that utilize the Martech solutions that are an increasingly necessary part of our world.

Gathering at the Delta Flight Museum, we brought together a panel of top Martech experts to discuss how they’ve been able to implement these solutions within their own companies, and how marketers can make sure their clients and brands aren’t missing the mark.

Moderator, Nicole Jones, Global Innovation Leader at Delta Air Lines, kicked off the night by asking the panelists how they think marketing technology is impacting the traditional way of thinking within the industry. Everyone agreed that Martech is forcing us to embrace change and uncover new innovative solutions. The panelist also revealed a common theme that helped set the stage for the rest of the night’s discussion:  The needs of our audience should influence the Martech solutions we pursue.  

When asked how marketers can get ahead of the ever-changing trends and topics within the Martech space, panelist Joanie Twersky, Senior Product Marketing Manager, 5G Innovation—Mobility & Entertainment at AT&T, believes that the key to staying on top of the changing technologies is to identify experts in the field that are capable of translating their tech talk.

As marketers, it’s our job to ensure that our communications are displayed in a way that allows our audiences to understand and connect back to it. If the technologies are too complex for our audiences to grasp, the power of the solution becomes irrelevant. One of Joanie’s key takeaways was to ensure that it’s the audience that’s at the center of the solution, rather than the technology. By putting ourselves in the shoes of our audience, and experiencing the Martech first hand, we will have a better understanding of what types of Martech solutions our consumers want and need.

Panelist Jason Brett, Offering Management Director for IBM Watson Marketing’s Personalized Marketing SaaS portfolio, followed up on Joanie’s theme by saying that it’s necessary to find the relevant thread that connects the technology to our consumer, and that it’s our job to understand the impact that the technology is having on them. While solutions like AI are innovative and captivating, we still need the human touch to ensure that it’s having a positive impact on those that are interacting with it. According to Jason, it all comes back to understanding the history of your audience and understanding how they traditionally interact with certain types of technology.

“If you’re not experimenting, you will be left behind,” Panelist Tod Szewczyk, VP, Director of Emerging Technology and Innovation at Leo Burnett, Chicago. Tod stressed that as, innovative marketers, it’s our jobs to take risks that will help develop the technologies that our consumers want and need. By studying our audiences, and learning more about their actual needs, we’re able to be better informed on what types of Martech solutions will resonate with them. We’ll also learn more about what types of solutions they need and want that don’t yet exist. By reminding us that prototypes become a piece of the final solution, Tod encouraged all marketers in the room to think about Martech as not just a trending buzzword, but an innovative solution that will change the way audiences interact with today’s brands and companies.

Event photography: Amy Bley Photography