Ahead of the Stack: Exploring the Future of Engagement at LTR 2017

Todd Grennan By Todd Grennan Apr 28, 2017

One day. 18 sessions. 45 speakers. Hundreds of attendees. And countless insights into today’s customer/brand relationships and the tools and tactics that growth, engagement, and marketing teams can use to keep them strong.

This year’s LTR conference—held yesterday in New York City—took a deep dive into the modern marketing tech stack, exploring the different ways that technology can support brands’ efforts to create and maintain a real, sustainable connection with their customers, then help them leverage that connection to reach their long-term business goals.

LTR Demo

During the event, attendees heard from ABC News, Boxed Wholesale, Dots, iHeartRadio, Lyft, PicsArt, and other leading brands, and took part in sessions on planning and assembling your perfect marketing stack, mastering lifecycle automation, exploring personalization and cross-channel messaging, and what the rise of artificial intelligence means for marketing, among many others.

There were too many interesting conversations and thought-provoking presentations to cover them all, so let’s take a look at a few of the day’s big highlights:

Going Inside the Stack

Myles Kleeger

Appboy President and CRO Myles Kleeger discussing the engagement stack

“There’s no perfect engagement technology stack,” Appboy President and CRO Myles Kleeger told attendees. “There’s only the perfect stack for your business and its marketing needs.” And over the course of two linked presentations, he proceeded to walk attendees through a comprehensive look at all things stack-related: what a stack is, why they matter, how to think about building one, and what they can mean for your business.

Kleeger touched on the core elements of a basic engagement stack—customer interactions (from your app, your website, or other platforms), a data warehouse used in conjunction with business intelligence tools, and a lifecycle engagement platform. With these three layers, you can collect customer data, pull out actionable insights about your audience, and directly engage with each user by powering messaging that’s relevant and valuable to them as individuals, supporting a richer brand experience.

Milan Thakor

Lyft’s Milan Thakor speaking at LTR 2017

During the sessions, leading brands like Dots, Everything But the House, Ibotta, iHeartRadio, Lyft, and OkCupid talked with attendees about their experiences putting together their own unique marketing technology stacks to drive ROI and create amazing customer experiences, and the marketing philosophies and business needs that motivated the decisions they made.

Humanizing relationships

Bonin Bough

CNBC’s B. Bonin Bough speaking at LTR 2017

While technology was at the center of this year’s LTR, the event’s two keynote speakers made sure that attendees never lost sight of the fact that the human side of marketing is every bit as important.

During his opening keynote, CNBC’s B. Bonin Bough explored how brands can use mobile and emerging technology to bring back people-first connections between brands and their customers, driving more impactful communication and creating mutually beneficial relationships based on understanding and value. And closing out the day, writer, entrepreneur and CEO Sarah Kunst used her keynote address to talk through her journey within the worlds of media, technology, and startups, and what those experiences taught her about the growing importance of millennials to these industries and across the business landscape as a whole.

Sarah Kunst’s Sarah Kunst at LTR 2017

This people-focused approach extended even to one of the conference’s most unusual and memorable sessions—a live experience presented by The Skin Deep as part of {The AND}, their interactive documentary about what connects all of us. During that session, TJ Hunter, Rosetta Stone’s senior director of marketing, and Matt Hrushka, mobile marketing manager at Rosetta Stone, explored the collaborative process and how it’s impacted their relationship and their company’s overall business performance, among other topics. It was captivatingly strange—but fun. And very human.

Making connections easier

In keeping with LTR 2017’s focus on the marketing technology stack and the human side of customer/brand relationships, Appboy announced three major product features during the event designed to make it easier for brands to effectively connect the different layers of the marketing tech stack, and to use those technologies to inspire deeper connections with their customers.

Appboy Cofounder and CEO Bill Magnuson announced the new Appboy Location Suite, which bring together a collection of powerful location marketing tools to make it easier to create seamless contextual experiences that feel relevant and personal to customers. The suite includes:

  • Location targeting based on a customer’s last known location
  • Geofence support that makes it possible to trigger real-time messages when customers enter and exit preselected areas
  • Location data enrichment that allows message to be tailored based on the types of locations each user visits over time
  • Location data detection based on global crowdsourced data that supports the orchestration of outreach campaigns as customers go about their day
  • Beacon support that allows for triggered messages when a customer is in close proximity to a given brand’s bluetooth beacons

“It’s always been important for companies to think about their audience,” Magnuson said. “As technology has evolved, it’s become more possible—and more important—for brands to have a deep, personal understanding of each customer.”

Bill Magnuson

Appboy Cofounder and CEO Bill Magnuson at LTR 2017

During the presentation, Kevin Wang, Appboy’s vice president of product, introduced attendees to new artificial intelligence-powered features built into the Appboy Canvas customer lifecycle management tool. “One of our foremost goals is to make it easier for marketers to optimize their strategies automatically, by baking even more intelligence right into the product. That means adding channel optimization, which makes it possible to predict not just the ideal time to reach each user within Canvas, but also the messaging channel they’re most likely to engage with,” Wang said. “We’re also adding Intelligent Selection functionality that will let brands automatically determine the most effective branch of a given Canvas in real time.”

(Update: Canvas with Intelligence is now available. Interested Appboy clients should please contact their customer success manager for more information.)

The presentation also featured the launch of Appboy Currents, a high volume data export tool that allows marketers to connect Appboy directly to other layers of their stack in an instant. “With Currents, your team will be able to better understand your customers by taking advantage of Appboy data across other marketing technologies,” Appboy Cofounder and CTO Jon Hyman said. “Every push notification you send, every email your customers open or click on, every conversion, and more, will be streamed in real time using Appboy Currents into other connected systems.”

For more information on all three product announcements, read our overview blog post.

What’s Next?

Now that this year’s LTR is in the rearview mirror, it’s time to take all of the day’s learnings and put them into practice to strengthen the people-first side of your marketing and built strong relationships with your customers. To get prepared to make the most of today’s marketing tech stack:

Todd Grennan

Todd Grennan

Todd Grennan is a New York-based writer and editor. When he's not writing about mobile marketing, customer retention and emerging technologies for Braze, you can find him trying to read his way through every Wikipedia article related to World War II.

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