Takeaways from a Week in San Francisco

Takeaways from a Week in San Francisco

After a week in the hub of tech and the starting point of a lot of digital trends, there are a few things worth noting.

A couple of weeks ago, I was in San Francisco for the Social Media Strategies Summit. There, I had the treat of meeting up with a few peers from around the industry and listening to some great presentations. There were a couple of interesting digital trends that I noted while I was there, and I thought the very least I could do is share those here.

Marketing Tech is on the Rise

The world of marketing technology is as exciting as it is complex. There is so much happening in the world of marketing (specific) tech, that it can often be hard to keep up.

One of the most interesting presentations I sat in on during the conference was my friend Travis Wright‘s presentation on the future of marketing technology. He covered some of the most advanced topics I’ve heard covered on the subject (at least at a social media event like this one) and it was refreshing to see this kind of content being shared with a more general public.

Digital trends marketing technology

What exactly is marketing technology, anyway?

The world of MarTec, as it’s commonly referred, relates to the technologies that we use in order to execute our marketing efforts in a more efficient manner. It is the collection of technologies that we, as marketers, use on a daily basis. It is a fairly avant garde topic that is a heavy focus of some of the most cutting edge brands, and it is great to see that it is making its way into the mainstream.

Employee Activation

One thing that became abundantly clear while I was in San Francisco is that brand (even larger ones) are starting to embrace the idea of employee activation. This is one of those digital trends that has been making waves in SMBs, but it hasn’t yet made its way up to the top. That’s all starting to change.

Several large brands spoke about their own employee activation programs. What is employee activation? Essentially, it is the idea of empowering your internal army of brand advocates to represent the brand on social media with their own accounts. There are clear drawbacks: what is the brand is poorly represented? This is an obvious deterrent from brands adopting the practice.

What companies have done is implement best practice guides. They have chosen the right employees based on evaluation process and provided them with the training they need in order to implement the program effectively. The results have been pretty impressive so far, and once these programs are scaled, major brands will be even more prevalent on social media than they already are.

Predictive Analytics is Defining Strategy

More and more, I talk about the rise of data. As many of you know, I am a huge supporter of the use of data for the purposes of developing strategy. Well, it seems less and less like I am a part of a minority. Another major focus at the event in San Francisco was the use of predictive analytics for the purposes of developing more successful strategies.

Predictive analytics are exciting, but can be somewhat complex. The reason is not that there is a lack of data – far from it. But we are seeing a move in a direction that embraces these data and analyzes them more effectively than ever before. There are plenty of tools that exist on the market offering these kinds of services, and they are now becoming more detailed and valuable.

Though predictive analytics still has a bit of a ways to go, it is clear that this is a trend that is on the rise. It shouldn’t be long before we see everyone – from Fortune 500s to mom n’ pop shops – adopting the use of these insights.


Spending time in the origin spot for so many digital trends provides a ton of insight into the direction this industry is taking. It is exciting to see that, for the most part, everyone is moving in the same direction.

Digital trends noted in San Francisco

One clear indicator of this is the rapid expansion of so many fields. Whereas it took years to hit a few dozen marketing tech providers, there are now nearly a thousand (the number having tripled in just three years). It is exciting to think where we might be at this time next year if this rate of innovation is maintained.

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Corey Padveen is a data-oriented marketing professional with a focus on statistical analyses of human behavior. This specialization has led him to speak and present at dozens of conferences around the world, to write for a variety of reputable online and print publications, and recently, to publish ‘Marketing to Millennials For Dummies’ as part of the world-renowned ‘For Dummies’ series. He regularly shares real world examples and findings from his research, and discusses how members of society are evolving as consumers, communicators, and a global network as a whole.
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