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When many think of Atlanta, sunshine, southern hospitality, and fried green tomatoes may come to mind. However, lately the city has also been seized by a fever of technology, innovation, creativity, startups, and an overwhelming feeling of accomplishment. Since 2011, there has been an explosion of tech startups, incubators, and co-working spaces. In February, a VR/AR event took place that attracted giants like Turner Broadcasting, CNN, and IHG.

Marketers have to watch and be very aware of these trends, as they search for ways to reach new customers and maintain relevancy. Below, ten key leaders in the Atlanta area share their insights on what else is coming for tech in Atlanta.

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#1 MarTech Cluster Keeps Its Anchors
I am confident that Atlanta is going to strengthen its heritage in marketing technology. This MarTech cluster started long ago by first generation interactive companies such as 360i and iXL. Today we are seeing this play out with great anchor companies such as MailChimp, national companies such as Marketo and Salesforce making regional offices in Atlanta, and successful exits among the likes of Pardot and Silverpop. All this feeds the next generation of emerging marketing technology companies like CallRail, SalesLoft, and Springbot, which will continue to feed this virtuous circle.

— Lance Weatherby, Vice President Sales & Marketing, CallRail

#2 Cybersecurity Nucleus Continues To Develop
I see more development in the cybersecurity area. With Governor Nathan Deal’s recent announcement of funding for such activity in Augusta, I look for Atlanta to be the nucleus that supports those efforts. In addition, FinTech and MarTech will continue to gain momentum due to the already well-established base of companies in the area.

 — Jeff Sheehan, Influencer, Marketing & Social Selling Pro

#3 Mobility and Security Stay Key
Atlanta’s key technologies are mobility and security. We have already seen Airwatch start here in Atlanta, grow, and be sold to VMware for $1.5B in 2014. When your cell phone is basically your remote control to the world, we’ll see a lot more technologies launched and created around mobility catering to our on-demand needs. As for security, you can’t go online without reading about a breach. Whether it’s tethered to the presidential election, a utility in Vermont, or a ransomware threat at your neighbors company, we are at the very tip of the iceberg when it comes to security. Security is also no longer only a business concern. As we go deeper into the Internet of Things, security concerns will only grow more and more throughout households.

— Matt Goggin, SVP, Global Marketing at Softvision

#4 VR/AR Join The Game
With Atlanta included as one of the top five cities for Fortune 500 companies and being at the crossroad of higher education and technology, Atlanta is percolating as one of the most important cities for emerging mixed reality technologies. The next year will prove to be critical as to how this story unfolds for Atlanta as it is told through virtual reality, AR, and other mixed realities.

— Dana Xavier Dojnik, Hotel Content Strategy, Innovation and VR, IHG

#5 Millennials Lead The Way To Startups
As millennials progress in their careers and see more success, I suspect investing in Atlanta tech startups to become more and more standard and a smart form of investing one’s capital. Also, since many of us built careers via tech startups, or even saw our first success in tech startups, that nostalgia will lead to more investment as well.

— Kate Clark, Regional Marketing Manager, US & LATM, Cogeco Peer 1

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#6 Co-Working Stays Trendy
Atlanta will continue growing in the tech space. We have more millennials moving to the city each day and because of this, you will see more co-working spaces and incubators like the Atlanta Tech Village. Co-working spaces are a great way to test an idea and lay the groundwork for a new business. They allow startups access to investors, mentors, and collaboration that you can’t find anywhere else.

— Stephanie Wargo, Director of Marketing, PrimeRevenue

#7 Mergers and Acquisitions Abound
The sheer number of marketing technologies available is overwhelming to marketers and the focus of these technologies too narrow. The only logical future is the continued consolidation of problem specific solutions under larger, more strategic companies. Only then will these point solutions reach their full potential as part of a more complete answer to addressing enterprise wide marketing problems.

— Eric Holztclaw, Marketing Expert, Growth Strategist

#8 B2B is Big Game
The greater Atlanta area has a bright future as a technology incubator and leader. In particular, we are seeing some compelling new B2B marketing technologies emerging. One such example is SalesTing, which we are using to help align and strengthen our sales and marketing organization here at Verint.

— Ryan Hollenbeck, Senior Vice President, Marketing, Verint

#9 The Human Connection Remains Crucial
With Georgia Tech as an anchor and their mission to bring forward 100 new startups per year by 2020 (they’re at 40-50 per year now), Atlanta is destined to be at the center of innovation — launching new technologies practically daily that will continue to revolutionize and disrupt industries like media, travel, transactions, telecom, retail, healthcare — virtually every industry at some level.

Our roles as industry leaders may be to ensure that as we adopt new technologies to streamline, simplify and make our lives and industries more efficient and productive that we not lose sight of the importance of layering in human connection and life experiences.  The ability to love, dream, have compassion, passion and empathy cannot be replicated in machines/technology.  Embrace these technology disrupters and free up your time and space to allow for greater human connections.

Liz Gillespie, Partner, VP Marketing, North American Properties

#10. It’s A MarTech Revolution
It’s an exciting time to be in Atlanta. There is so much untapped talent here that is ready to take the Silicon Valley by storm. In the last 18 months, I have seen a resurgence of VC firms making Atlanta their second home for investment, which is very promising.

With companies like Silverpop (acquired by IBM), and Pardot (acquired by Salesforce) and other budding firms like Salesloft and Terminus, we are on a cusp of a revolution. Many companies like Marketo and Salesforce are making a significant investment in both tech and hiring in Atlanta, bringing the city of Atlanta in the limelight.

Sangram Vajre, Co-Founder & CMO at Terminus

SarahVisual of Sarah is a highly regarded PR and marketing communications professional and business leader with extensive experience at launching and growing technology brands across Europe and North America. She is the founder and CEO of Media Frenzy Global, an award winning tech marketing and PR agency with offices in Atlanta and London. Since its inception in 2006, Sarah has led the company’s international developments helping tech companies in Europe and the USA create media frenzy™ and build memorable brands.

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