Marketing and sales are getting harder. Here's what to do.

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Tech companies are on a continuous drive to improve our experiences. From every screen and device we use, there’s an imperative to make things more useful, less annoying, and stickier. And for every marketer or sales rep trying to hit their numbers, there are a host of tools to help them do that. 

But on the other side of that are tech giants intent on making their experiences more pleasant. The Facebooks, Googles and Apples of the world don’t necessarily care that your new tool is giving you an edge over your competitors. If it makes their platforms worse off, you can expect that they’re going to do something about it.

Here are just a few of the examples where we’ve seen tech giants take action against aggressive behaviors from marketers and sales reps:

  • Apple has rolled out new call-blocking features in iOS 13 that will block all calls from numbers that aren’t in a user’s contacts, email, or calendar. For sales teams that still rely  on outbound calls to prospects, this makes cold-calling an iPhone user nearly impossible.
  • Phone carriers are starting to implement new protocols to help block robocalls at a system level. Plus the U.S. House of Representatives has passed legislation to all but stop robocalls. The FCC has been considering action on the matter as well. 
  • Google’s answer boxes and snippets have gotten better at delivering answers to searchers’ questions, resulting in fewer clicks. In fact, Google is currently capturing more than 50% of all search traffic. That means over half of searches do not result in a click or a visit to another site. 
  • In response to consumer concerns about the abuse of email information, Apple is experimenting with a new “sign in with Apple” feature, similar to features used by Facebook and Google. Right now, this is only used in apps, but it’s something to watch. If it takes off, it could mean that marketers end up with anonymous email addresses that are difficult to segment and reach out to. With broad adoption across other websites and services, this could mean a new era of email marketing.
  • As a further response to consumer privacy concerns, Apple announced that it had significantly improved how Safari (the most popular mobile browser) handles cross-site tracking. This means that tracking pixels often used to help marketers target audiences and profile users will be met with privacy patches and additional technical measures to prevent tracking.

All these developments reveal a great paradox for marketing and sales: the things we love as consumers don’t always match with what makes our jobs easier.

It also highlights the general risks of relying too heavily on any one platform for your marketing and sales strategies. Tech has spent quite a few years creating new ways for us to reach prospects. Now it’s trying to make it a little harder so that people don’t revolt. 

What does the future hold? It’s hard to say. But we’re seeing a decline in “hacks”, “tricks” and “quick wins.” Instead, we’re likely to see more investment in brand, long-term strategy, and channels that companies can own. We’ll see companies spread out their investments across multiple channels, and also look for areas where they can own all the pieces, instead of hoping that a big tech company doesn’t make a rule change that knocks you out.