2017 was definitely the year of MarTech. Thousands of new startups who joined the marketing technologies landscape are pointing on to the tremendous innovation mode that this industry has been experiencing lately. But what does this mean for businesses?

It means that today, more than ever, marketing projects or initiatives can reach outstanding results while using less ad budget and fewer sales personnel than ever before. Relying on contemporary results-oriented technologies is the way to get there.

In this article, I want to outline 6 recent innovations that present huge opportunities for businesses and agile startups who aren’t scared to challenge the most ambitious marketing KPIs.

Conversation Intelligence

Thank God it’s 2018!

Because in 2018, you can have an AI-based whisperer that tells you the right thing to say and when to say it.

The idea of conversation intelligence absolutely blew my mind when I heard about it. Here is why…

I write from an open space office, and I get to hear a lot of sales calls people make, and believe me, when you hear a star sales rep, you know it’s a star sales rep. The thing is that when these guys aren’t on a call, you can’t tell the difference between the best reps and the others. They act the same, work the same hours and don’t laugh from my same jokes.

Therefore, I can understand that the key to boosting sales performance is in the conversation itself. But here’s a question: Can star sales reps effectively teach other reps their killing conversation techniques?

They can’t. There are simply too many factors! Time of day, weather, the prospect’s emotions, etc. all affect the outcome of a sales conversation. No human can keep up with the scale of changes and the amount of data required to analyze sales call keywords, emotions and other external data.

To solve this challenge, Gong.io uses a special engine that analyzes reps’ sales calls in real-time. It shows sales leaders what their top sales reps are saying and doing differently on sales calls and demos, so they can clone those behaviors across the entire sales team.

AI-Powered Lead Gen

Something that most B2B marketers struggle with is qualifying leads. One thing is to implement a great inbound marketing strategy that drives targeted leads to your CRM, but knowing when to act upon them and convert them into an opportunity requires a totally different set of skills.

To me, it always seemed that “skills” isn’t the best word to put here. What’s really missing here is the data and a technological solution that deals with the scale of new leads that keep coming in.

So, let’s celebrate 2018 once again!
Because technology has finally kept up, and now we can qualify leads “hands off.”

With a tool like Cliclap, you can sync all your leads into an AI-powered software that alerts every time that a lead is ready to be converted. It takes your prospect’s social networks behavior, and translates it into a precise lead-nurturing strategy. It tells you the right time to send a newsletter or which piece of content is best to share with your prospect in order to push this prospect deeper into the sales funnel.

On-site Behavioral Targeting

We usually hear about “targeting” as related to outbound communications, such as banner advertising, PPC, or social media ads. But what’s the real key to turning your website a leads or a sales machine?

If you ask me, the key is in optimizing your on-site messaging. To do that, you have to segment website visitors and target each segment with tailored messages.

So, what does 2018 brings?
As simple as it sounds, on-site behavioral targeting technology. Finally, you can customize your on-site communications and engage each website visitor with personalized content and call-to-actions.

But the best thing about it is the all-in-one solution that comes with this targeting technology. Tools like Poptin, for instance, provide digital marketers not only with signup popups, but with A/B testing, autopilot triggering, stats, analytics and drag-and-drop builders for your website elements.

Engagement Optimized Data Warehouse

Optimizing email marketing campaigns on purchase preferences is a common practice. The “recommended for you” section or these “you may also like” suggestions that you read in your email or see at big retail websites – they work really well, but it’s enough.

They are based on purchase history data and are optimized towards keeping the products that have the highest probability to be purchased in front of user’s eyes ALL THE TIME!

But what a huge miss it would be to disregard all pre-purchase customer behavior signals that you collect from multiple non-transactional touchpoints with your customers.

An engagement optimized data warehouse allows you to personalize promotions based on various customer actions, instead of relying only on past purchase behavior.

With advanced marketing automation tools like Solitics, you’ll be able to react to real-time customer signals and deliver targeted and personalized content that will have a greater impact on your sales performance and customer LTV.

Automated Retargeting Segmentation

Retargeting is probably the most powerful form of online advertising ever to be invented.

The ability to show a sequence of ads based on user’s previous ad engagement, and target an audience of a million potential buyers based on a single seed source of just 1,000 customers, was science fiction just 10 years ago.

But what can I say, it’s 2018, and it’s all too real.

The thing is that this almost “futuristic” advertising technology, as many ad professionals came to realize, requires a seemly commitment from the advertiser.

In order to segment distinctive retargeting lists from a diverse website audience, you’re required to: manage website retargeting cookies, collect user pixel events, and analyze dozens of constantly changing user-behavior parameters.

Fortunately, retargeting campaigns has an immediate effect on revenue due to their remarkable performance with bottom-of-the-funnel traffic. Therefore, suitable technological solutions weren’t too late to appear. Fixel, for instance, uses machine learning and predictive analysis to segment website visitors by their engagement level.

2018 is the year when your retargeting lists will become smart and automated. You can finally focus on the creative side of retargeting advertising, instead of focusing on the technical part.

Dark Marketing Competitive Intelligence

Super-fragmented audience segmentation and advanced ads targeting methods, which marketers enjoy today on Facebook, Google, and other large ad platforms, has turned out to be a double-edged sword.

Let’s take a 35-year-old marketing manager for a deodorant brand with a target audience of 18-24-year-old students. Because she is not part of the target audience, she will most likely be unaware of her competitor’s marketing campaigns, and she may not be able to acknowledge the state of competition in real-time and act upon it.

This phenomenon is called “dark marketing”, and it’s becoming a huge problem for marketing and advertising professionals.

The answer comes from cyber security methodologies. BrandTotal implemented that approach along with the use of sophisticated machine-learning algorithms. It analyzes competitive intelligence data and provides real-time insights. “Command Room” lookalike dashboard shows the full picture of competitors’ current marketing campaigns, which allows marketers to strike back at the competitor at the right time and spot.

I know it takes courage to change the way we’ve been using technology in marketing so far, but in 2018, we’ll see more MarTech opportunities than ever before. I’m sure those of us who are really into crushing it this year will find it extremely effective to take advantage of these new technologies and challenge their biggest dreams.