Stop Drowning from Your Marketing Technology Stack
A marketing technology (martech) stack is a grouping of technology platforms that enables marketers to manage, execute, deploy and analyze their marketing activities. Conceptually speaking, the idea is to make it simpler and easier to track efficacy, capturing data to make optimization more insightful.
If you are unfamiliar with the term, it is an amalgamation of website providers, digital search technology (search engine optimization and search engine marketing), email platform management, reputation management, social media management, customer relationship management, artificial intelligence (AI) personalization and, ultimately, data insights and analytics.
According to Gartner’s recent “CMO Spend Survey,” spending on marketing technology is down this year, after a steady year-over-year upward trajectory.
There are a couple of possible ways to look at this shift. Budgets are increasingly scrutinized. Marketing departments are moving competencies in-house. Media continues to get more fractured. Attribution is becoming more essential. Teams are facing greater and greater demands. Data is getting overwhelming and unmanageable.
The real reason, I believe, is a lack of cohesion, which creates inefficiency. Having been a marketing director for several brands, and in my current role as chief marketing officer for a technology company that provides marketing and media solutions for brands, I have had firsthand experience with juggling all of this.
A Maelstrom Of Products
According to Gartner, “In 2018, marketers reported they use only 61% of the functionality available in their martech portfolio.” And I know that’s because in order to create a functioning martech stack, realistically you need to have around six to eight different companies and platforms that don’t integrate with one another.
This leaves marketers with different dashboards, statistics, reports, metrics and analyses. It’s up to the marketer to piece it all together and figure out what’s working and what needs to be optimized. And typically, there is a paucity of time to manage all of this with the rest of the workload, so that is why I suspect the functionality is underutilized — it’s a lack of efficiency.
Often, these companies add on one or two other competencies - such as social media management platforms that also pull reputation management and listing services. Or email platforms that post to social media - to justify their monthly software as a service (SaaS) fees.
If a company is a martech company, then one would assume that technology is a part of the fundamental underpinning of what they do. Why, then, are most so focused on just a few aspects? And if they have already developed the technology, why are they charging such exorbitant, ongoing fees, particularly on a location basis, since technology should solve for the number of brands and locations programmatically?
The scalability generated by technology is not being passed on to the brand. These companies are beholden to their venture capital investors. If you are legitimately creating martech automation and leveraging artificial intelligence to identify new solutions, then scalability shouldn’t be costly.
There’s a large investment broker advertising campaign in the market now that positions the question: Why are you charging me these fees without performance? Brilliant campaign. Game-changer, actually. When the commercials air, I’m compelled and question whether my financial advisor is doing this. Same goes for martech companies: How can you improve?
Expanding The Breadth And Depth Of Martech
Unless martech companies can provide more comprehensive and cohesive value to the marketing department, I believe the trend moving forward will be more limited agency and martech spend, with brands increasingly moving things in-house.
Instead of thinking in specialized silos, martech companies should think about how to help the end user — the marketing manager or director — in a more holistic manner. Everyone talks about omnichannel communications, but think what it actually means to orchestrate and execute synergistic content. Layering on different platforms, or stacking platforms, isn’t using technology to its fullest to improve this process. Martech companies should be pushing the technology to provide a comprehensive suite of solutions, instead of plugging just a few holes in the dam.
Marketers should embrace technological solutions and engage with technology companies to help them solve their pain points to create more robust and panoramic solutions that can improve how they manage their brand. I was speaking to a potential client the other day who told me, “I don’t need automation, I have three coordinators who manage all the local opt-in marketing.” Now, I’m not suggesting reducing headcount, but rather, one could move three employees to higher-value work just by using smarter technology.
Ask your martech partners what their vision is for their development. Ask them if they are willing to work with your brand to help solve your problems. Ask them what efficiencies they can create now and in the future. Most importantly, ask them if they are excited by the solutions that their technology provides and if they are driven to push boundaries. That’s the kind of martech partner you want.
Contact Jennifer Moore, Chief Marketing Officer at Silvercrest at 818.475.7624 or email at email@example.com
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