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MarTech – as marketers it powers everything we do. Sometimes it can be nearly impossible to distinguish where the marketer ends and the technology begins.

This got us thinking about whether marketing even works – even exists without technology.

We wondered where the experts weighed in on the matter, so we asked them. Here are their thoughts on the following question: 

In your opinion, does marketing exist without technology today? 

The MarTechExec takeaway

Due largely to marketing tech and social media, modern marketing is nearly indistinguishable from the marketing of even ten years ago.

But, at its core marketing always has and should continue to have a human element.

Lana Moore, Founder MarTechExec
Lana K. Moore is one of the fastest trending top martech influencers in the industry. As a marketing technology executive for both Fortune 500 companies and startups, she is passionate about helping marketing technology professionals stay on top of their game. Lana is the executive editor of martechexec.com - a place to learn, share and discuss marketing technology topics and solutions.

The expert takeaways

  • Marketing exists without tech. It’s about humans, feelings, and emotion.
  • Marketing exists without text. Yelling - err, word of mouth, yo!
  • It exists without it, but tech gives it power.
  • You can market without tech, but you won’t get much done.
  • Marketing exists without tech, but you can’t forget your roots!
  • Marketing? Without tech? In 2017?
  • Simply put: no.Yes.
  • Marketing without tech? You can’t even tell them apart anymore. And it’s awesome.

The experts


Marketing exists without tech. It’s about humans, feelings, and emotion.

“Absolutely, marketing exists without technology. Have you been hit up by a recent school fundraiser? Children going door to door selling chocolate bars or standing near town hall holding up car wash signs are technology free examples of marketing in action.

And it’s not just for school fundraisers. Small businesses or those launching a new product or service might find themselves focused on guerilla marketing techniques. In those cases, highly personalized communications and intimate interactions are highly effective, and mostly technology free. For example, at small scale a simple spreadsheet might be sufficient to manage your database.

However, for most businesses I don’t recommend taking a technology free path. Technology helps us scale in ways that we cannot do with wholly manual processes. It can be used to better understand our audience, automate operations and align data silos.”

Samantha Stone, Founder The Marketing Advisory Network
Samantha Stone is a revenue catalyst who helps unleash the possible in organizations that have complex selling processes. She’s a fast-growth, B2B marketing junkie, author, speaker, consultant, and persona coach who has also managed to find time to raise four boys with her husband, David. In 2012 she founded The Marketing Advisory Network to help savvy business leaders unleash the possible within their enterprises.
“Marketing has been and always will be based on people influencing and engaging with other people. While marketing will necessitate automation and intelligent systems for a company to maintain positive growth, we cannot forget that human-to-human interaction via digital channels is ever evolving. The relationship is still paramount.”
Anand Thaker, Founder of IntelliPhi
Anand Thaker is a 15-year veteran in marketing technology and growth strategy. His expertise includes sales enablement, marketing operations, data-analytics management, intelligent systems as well as deep knowledge in the energy and financial industries.He founded IntelliPhi to research, develop and improve human and digital decision making in an increasingly dynamic marketplace, data and use of intelligent solutions.

“Technology is vital to marketing today. Every facet of marketing uses technology. Technology and tools exist across a broad spectrum that includes social media, email, lead generation, customer relationships, personalization, advertising and data analysis to name a few.

Technology can enhance marketing but marketing still depends on the creativity and experience of talented marketers. Technology on it’s own is not enough and smart marketers don’t let it get in the way.

Marketing has always been about human connection. Customers want to know the story behind the brand. Successful companies establish a meaningful relationship with their customers to build brand loyalty and trust.

Technology can be used to assist in this process but it can’t replace the human touch. The stand out businesses are those that value human relationships and use technology to enhance the human relationship rather than replace it.”

Sandra Giffin, Co-founder of MondoPlayer
Sandra Giffin is the co-founder of MondoPlayer, an app for content marketers to curate video rich content for content marketing. She is a tech entrepreneur and intellectual property lawyer. She blogs at MediaVidi.com

Marketing exists without text. Yelling - err, word of mouth, yo!

“Yes. There are so many ways. Word of mouth, for example, is one of the most powerful types of marketing.”

Rafi Chowdhury, Founder of Chowdhury’s Digital and co-founder of myCampusHacks
Rafi Chowdhury is the founder of Chowdhury’s Digital and co-founder of myCampusHacks. He helps companies like Vapetek, Shapes Brow Bar, Win Hyundai, Wound Care Surgeons, and Easley Transportation grow their revenue. He was recognized by the University of Memphis for creating one of the most innovative start-up websites for the students.
“Yes - word of mouth still exists.”
Mark Rushworth, SEO Expert
Mark Rushworth handles SEO for a top award-winning UK digital marketing agency. He has 18 years’ experience in the industry.
“Of course! We've found in our business still above beyond one of the greatest ways our company grows is from word of mouth. If you have a great product or service you do not need technology to spread the word. Great example of this is Tesla.”
Nathan Chan, CEO of Foundr Magazine
Nathan Chan is the CEO of Foundr Magazine. Keep up with his work at www.foundrmag.com or follow him on Twitter @nathanchan.

It exists without it, but tech gives it power.

“Technology is woven into the fabric of our lives and every facet of business today. As marketers, we choose the most effective tools, techniques and channels to convey our message, so we better make sure to take advantage of everything that is available to us.”
Jens Marut, Founder & CEO of Ovark, Creator of AgileinMotion
Jens Marut is the founder and CEO of Ovark and the creator of AgileinMotion. As a true marketing and technology hybrid, he founded the agile marketing agency and created his new project to help companies in the industry which is so deeply ingrained in his life.
“A marketing strategy that doesn't include technology wouldn't be capable of monitoring the success or failure of the campaign and without technology how would you communicate your marketing message?”
Bonnie Sainsbury, Digital Business Strategist, Online Marketing Advisor
Bonnie Sainsbury is a digital business strategist, online marketing advisor, and award-winning social media influencer.
"Marketing is marketing, and technology is helping up reach new audiences in profound. But old school tactics still work 100% of the time."
Mike Street, Senior Digital Strategist and host of the podcast SmartBrownVoices
Mike Street is a Harlem-based senior digital strategist and host of the podcast Smart Brown Voices. His podcast focuses on providing marketing advice and news, tips on growth hacking, and more. He covers all of this while also promoting diversity within the marketing comunity. 

You can market without tech, but you won’t get much done.

“Technology is a means not a goal. Probably the most important part of marketing is the product itself - that matters much more than how good you are at tracking conversions, sharing on social media or optimizing spend.

Once you've got that right, the next step is great content to help your customer make the most out of your product. Once you have those two, technology is how you get the word out in the most efficient way.

So, the answer is yes, marketing can exist without tech, though I wouldn't recommend not using technology regardless!”

Ziv Eliraz, CEO of Infolinks
Ziv Eliraz is the CEO of Infolinks. Prior to Infolinks, he held various management and business development roles with Internet tech companies. Ziv holds an LLB degree from Hebrew University, Jerusalem.

“The Internet is so integral to all marketing efforts now that any effort to market without technology is at best missing a huge opportunity and at worst is fundamentally flawed.

If we consider low tech marketing efforts like flyer distribution or even TV and Radio the next logical step would be to drive someone to a website. This then should help drive leads or sign ups to social or newsletters. It's all technology and it's all connected.

Of course. There are businesses that run from flyers and phone numbers but any serious company has a website and is on the pathway to a more technologically advanced marketing platform."

Marcus Miller, Head of Digital Marketing at Bowler Hat
Marcus Miller is the Head of Digital Marketing at Bowler Hat, where he covers Web Design, SEO, PPC, Social and Content Marketing.

“Absolutely. Marketing covers any type of communication in any medium with the goal of creating a transaction. It is certainly not limited to any type of technology.

That being said, in the new age of technology, you must adapt in order to compete, with so many new ways of communicating it is important to learn, adapt and understand your audience.”

Eder Holguin, Serial Entrepreneur, Digital Sales and Marketing Expert
Eder Holguin is a Serial Entrepreneur, Digital Sales and Marketing Expert and best-selling author of Dreaming of Hope Street and Street Smarts The Business of Life. He has more than 15 years of industry expertise helping companies scale revenue, optimize sales and marketing processes and improve productivity. His clients range from brand name Fortune 500 companies to innovative start-ups.

“Aside from the very few professions that solely rely on word of mouth marketing, technology can be a massive help to marketing today. Through the vast power of the Internet, marketers can learn more about their prospects and their preferences and approach them in the right Social Media Platform, at the right time and with the right message!

Bottom line: people do business with those they know, like and trust & technology can help us tremendously in this aspect.”

Dennis Koutoudis, Founder & CEO of LinkedSuperPowers
Dennis Koutoudis, is a successful entrepreneur, a recognized LinkedIn expert, a Certified Social Media professional & speaker. He is the Founder & CEO of LinkedSuperPowers, an ISO 9001:2008 Certified Social Media Consulting Company specializing in optimizing the LinkedIn Profiles of both individuals & corporations.

Marketing exists without tech. But you can’t forget your roots!

“The basic principles of marketing remain the same (for the most part) with or without technology.

However, in today's world smart use of technology can massively improve the results of your marketing efforts. But without an understanding of what marketing is about, you may look like one of those auto-DM senders on my twitter who think sending me a link to their book, software or product is smart and automated marketing.”

Syed Irfan Ajmal, Serial entrepreneur, Content Marketing & PR Consultant, Author, Speaker
Syed Irfan Ajmal is a serial entrepreneur, content marketing & PR consultant, author, and speaker. He has bylines in Huff Post, Business.com, SEMrush, and many others. He has done keynote speaking and workshops in Pakistan and Dubai, apart from being a guest on various podcast shows. His blog is: www.SyedIrfanAjmal.com.
“It definitely still exists. Everything we do is marketing something. At the end of the day, the marketing done using technology are still using the same concepts from back in the day. We just have so much more channels now. I guarantee you that if you walk down a street, you'll see a lot of the businesses are still marketing the old fashioned way.”
Dennis Seymour, Co-founder of LeapFroggr and SeriousMD
Dennis Seymour is an SaaS Entrepreneur and Marketer. He is also the co-founder of LeapFroggr and SeriousMD.

“There are certainly aspects of marketing that happen outside of technology's reach, particularly the creative moments that produce really innovative campaigns. But effective execution and measurement is practically impossible without technological support.

Whether it's publication, distribution, amplification, or analytics, tech is an integral part of marketing. With all that said, marketers shouldn't become so dependent on technology that we stop trusting our own experience, intuition, and audience to guide us. Technology should be a means of helping us reach the next level of excellence, not an excuse to remain mired in the status quo.

Take the rise of agile marketing, for instance. Tools can help provide insight into team performance, but they can also produce meaningless metrics that distract us from our most pressing problems. We can get a lot of what we need from analog systems like sticky notes and white boards; technology should come into play when we need it, not just because it's available."

Andrea Fryrear, Chief Content Office at Fox Content, Author, Speaker
Andrea Fryrear is a speaker, author, and the chief content officer for Fox Content, an agile content consultancy. Her most recent book is Death of a Marketer, which tracks marketing’s history and advocates for a more agile future for the profession. She geeks out on all things agile and content.

Marketing? Without tech? In 2017?

“Absolutely not. We're using technology in all parts of our lives from food and health to business and personal development - and marketing is no exception.

Marketing was reborn with the Internet and digital era, and now Inbound marketing is changing the game once again. Marketers are no longer (or at least they REALLY shouldn't be) intrusive and annoying disrupters of activities. With proper technology and methodology in place - like Inbound - marketers are now helpers and problem solvers.

The goal of marketing has to be to empower and educate prospects, guide them through their buyer journey, and help them make the best possible decision.

Technology has irretrievably changed the way companies communicate with prospects, switching from one-way mass-marketing blasting to two-way communication and focused targeting. Successful companies are focusing on providing the right, helpful, and valuable content to the right people at the right time, and technology is making it all possible.”

Maja Jaredic, Marketing Director at Flight Media
Maja Jaredic is the Marketing Director at Flight Media. She is a leader, strategist, and friend. Maja is madly in love with her job, team, and life and is a passionate traveler, coffee addict, and beer enthusiast.
“No way - marketing deeply relies on martech nowadays, even if it's not online marketing.”
Gabor Koncz, CEO of Automizy
Gabor Koncz is the CEO of Automizy. He has more than 10 years of experience in email marketing and marketing automation. He’s a consultant for clients like USA DHL and Bridgestone.

“Imagine a fish without water. Can it survive?

It can’t.

Marketing without technology in today’s age is like that fish. It simply cannot survive on its own. As a marketer, we always try to get that last mile information about our target audience, so we can craft a message or campaign that strike the chord with them.

To get that info, we need to get closer to our target audience. Thanks to the technology, we have so many new channels to get closer to them and understand their needs.

Imagine doing this data collection and analysis without technology.

With technology playing a vital role in almost all the facets of the marketing, we accept it or not, but: ‘Marketing without technology is not marketing at all.’

From creating a mockup to a full-fledged campaign, from integrating various systems via APIs to generate more leads to using advanced marketing automation to make the ‘lead to customer’ journey seamless, marketing and technology go hand in hand at every step."

Colin Klinkert, Founder of SERPed.net
Colin Klinkert is a full-time online business owner, investor, marketer, and entrepreneur. He has found seven-figure success from his online marketing ventures. He invites you to visit him at Serped.com.

Simply put: no.

"No."
Erin Gargan, Founder & CEO of Socialite Agency
Erin Gargan is the founder and CEO of Socialite Agency, a social media marketing agency for trade shows and conferences. She is also the author of Digital Persuasion: Sell Smarter in the Modern Marketplace.

“Many things but winner will be the one who gives you good insight, better user experience and personalization."

Jaydip Parikh, Founder of Tej SolPro, a Digital Marketing Agency
Jaydip Parikh is the founder of Digital Marketing Agency, Tej SolPro. To keep up with Jaydip, follow him on Twitter @jaydipparikh.

Yes.

"Yes."
Matthew Garner, Webmaster, Digital Marketing & Graphic Design Specialist
26-year-old webmaster for Young California. Matthew Garner is a college graduate, specializing in Digital Marketing & Graphic Design.

Marketing without tech? You can’t even tell them apart anymore. And it’s awesome.

“Marketing exists without technology. And yet they are inextricably bound together at the same time. How can this be? Take water. H2O. Water is oxygen and hydrogen.

Oxygen exists apart from hydrogen. They are both individual elements.

And yet they become inextricably linked when they join to become water. A NEW combination of both of these elements. Marketing and technology are exactly the same. They are both individual elements in business. Yet they have combined to create a new compound. Think of it as MARKETING WATER. Or M2T.

It is this new combination that is changing the game of business. M2T DOES NOT replace marketing. This is important. Most people, even professional marketers get confused about this. Marketing is still the process of ‘satisfying customer needs profitably’ (CIM definition). And technology is still, well, technology. But MARKETING WATER, or M2T offers us new and exciting ways to play the game. It allows you to deliver experiences and value in ways that were never before possible."

Colin Scotland, Founder of Logical Fox Marketing
Colin Scotland is a marketing and brand strategist who helps entrepreneurs to embrace bold and visionary marketing strategies that help them to grow their business. He is the founder of Logical Fox Marketing.