Inside Gartner Digital Marketing Conference 2017

Gartner analysts explore the new normal of marketing and empower leaders to embrace change.

A visual storyteller attended different sessions and graphically captured key takeaways and insights in visual story form. See select drawings throughout the article.

Marketers lead in the age of disruption

The new normal for marketers is a constant state of change where machines, humans and “things” interact to meet and exceed customer needs. Enduring customer loyalty is the prize for marketers who create rich and engaging experiences that anticipate and fulfill customers’ needs. We’re at the dawn of an age of disruption and marketers are in the driver’s seat, said Yvonne Genovese, Gartner for Marketers group vice president, in the opening keynote at Gartner Digital Marketing Conference 2017.

This year’s conference marked the first time Gartner offered a track specifically designed to arm senior-most marketing leaders with the data-driven insights and best practices needed to set a vision for marketing leadership, along with the plans, people and processes needed to deliver on that vision. In her session “Evangelize Digital in Every Part of Your Organization,” Elizabeth Shaw, research director, pinpointed how CMOs can navigate digital disruption by crafting a compelling future vision and preparing stakeholders for digital change.

A graphic depiction of the Marketers Take the Lead theme from the Gartner Digital Marketing Conference 2017.
A graphic depiction of the Marketers Take the Lead theme from the Gartner Digital Marketing Conference 2017.

Optimize marketing technology

“With more than a quarter of every marketing dollar spent on technology, CMOs are on track to spend more on technology than their CIO counterparts,” said Jake Sorofman, research vice president. Kirsten Newbold-Knipp, research director, and Bryan Yeager, research director, highlighted how when it comes to leveraging and deploying marketing technology, marketers are both missing the mark and facing hidden opportunities to create differentiated advantage. Significant differences exist between B2B, B2C and B2B2C marketers in terms of core “systems of record” and systems designed to deliver innovation.

In his session on building a marketing technology roadmap for the future, Mr. Yeager discussed five best practices marketers can use to improve their roadmap planning, including know your audience, provide context and define key performance indicators (KPIs).

Insights drive innovation

In Ms. Shaw’s session outlining what enterprise CMOs can learn from startup CMOs, participants discussed growth, culture, and the role of data and technology in delivering that growth. Charles Golvin, research director, urged marketers to use bots as a means to navigate the changing environment and advised them to be proactive in adopting bot technology now to evolve the skills and experience needed to compete in the future.

Graphical depiction of how marketers should harness innovation at the Gartner Digital Marketing Conference 2017.
A depiction of how marketers should harness innovation at the Gartner Digital Marketing Conference 2017.

Extract insights from data

Lizzy Foo Kune, principal research analyst, showcased the power of effective marketing dashboards in her session “The Evolution of Marketing Dashboards.” Fifty-eight percent of marketers use a marketing dashboard tool, and dashboards have the lowest abandonment rate of the 29 categories studied in the Gartner Marketing Technology Survey. Noah Elkin, research director, outlined five steps to build a successful account-based marketing (ABM) strategy to win more “megadeals” and increase customer lifetime value. A key step in the ABM journey is building a foundation of connected customer data from across the organization.

Images of the marketing dashboard theme at Gartner Digital Marketing Conference 2017.
Images of the marketing dashboard theme at Gartner Digital Marketing Conference 2017.

Customer experience foundation

Customer experience is the battleground of the age of disruption. Augie Ray, research director, and Ewan McIntyre, research director, described how CMOs need customer experience metrics that describe not just what is happening, but also what will happen. The key lies in focusing on internal metrics such as employee engagement, as well as external measures such as customer advocacy.

Jane-Anne Mennella, research director, described how the role of the marketing leader has changed to emphasize advocacy and crossing organizational silos to deliver a seamless experience. It’s critical to secure stakeholder support because, even though 51% of marketers say some aspect of customer experience reports into the CMO, the actual owner of the overall experience often doesn’t report to the CMO.

Ms. Genovese challenged marketers to take note, and to take heart: “Digital disruption is a state you will be in for a long time and is defined by the disrupters and the disruptions in the marketplace,” said Ms. Genovese.

Get Smarter

Client Research
Gartner for Marketers clients can read more in CMO Spend Survey 2016-2017: Budgets Climb (Again!) to 12% of Revenue as Marketers Juggle More Demands by Jake Sorofman.

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