On March 21-22 over 2,000 attendees and almost 100 vendors crowded into the Hilton San Francisco Union Square to discuss the state and the future of marketing technology. There were 38 sessions, 6 lunch presentations, and plenty of hallway chatter in between. It’s a testament to an industry that is growing, becoming further understood, and better defined quite rapidly. Tools for email marketing, analytics, SEO or content management, etc., have been around for a while, but it has only been more recently that we group them together. Now MarTech has become “a thing” that we evaluate, staff, and theorize about. We are still in the early days of this development, but the value of MarTech is undeniable, and further increasing.

These are my main 3 takeaways from the conference.

1. Data is the Foundation

You may think it’s old news, but there are still plenty of companies out there losing money and market share because they are not harnessing the power of data for their marketing decisions. What used to be data points in spreadsheets has become Big Data, and the capabilities for data collection and processing are steadily becoming more powerful. This is the data-driven feedback loop: build — measure — learn. Use that data to personalize the web experience, change the way you communicate with your prospects, and take your customers on a life-long journey with your brand.

2. Agile Marketing

If you hear “agile” and think of software development only, you might want to take a closer look at your Marketing organization, and the processes that govern its projects and output. Agile methodologies have started to invigorate marketing processes, promoting clearly defined project requirements, regular production cycles, prioritization, and the concept of continuous iteration and “failing fast.” Agile marketing can come in all shapes and sizes, but it is a trend that will continue to transform how we do marketing.

3. The Customer Journey

So you have made big investments in MarTech, but your ROI is not where you need it to be. A heavily siloed stack is like an orchestra of soloists, when you want to build an efficient and coherent ecosystem of tools. Using data as your foundation, you can begin to create seamless experiences for your customers, taking them on a journey with your brand and products that starts with the first touch but stays open-ended from there, through conversion, buying cycles, and even (hopefully temporary) attrition.

The value of Marketing Technology, within organizations big and small, will keep on increasing, and the larger market will act as a catalyst for more vendors, faster innovation, and bigger disruptors. This is a good time to take a look around your own organization, and to ask yourself: what’s the state of my MarTech?

Roland Meyer is Senior Manager of Digital Experiences at Salesforce.