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Be the boss of your martech stack

The market is overwhelmed by martech solutions. Metia’s Pete Morgan recommends B2B marketers avoid distractions and focus on a core set of tools that will help them achieve the outcomes their business needs.

One of the clearest demonstrations of the growth in

marketing technology

is provided by’s annual Marketing Technology Landscape graphic, released every April.

The first edition of the graphic was published in 2011, detailing the 150 marketing technology solutions then available. By 2014, the list had reached 1,000. Five years later we’re up to 7,040 – the market awash with tools and surely ripe for consolidation through attrition or acquisition.

According to analyst firm Gartner’s 2019−20 CMO Spend Survey, technology is now the joint-biggest item in CMO budgets – receiving 26 percent of total spend. With overall marketing spend beginning to decrease, increases in recent years have come at the expense of investment elsewhere – including in human capital.

Futurists may point to this trend as marketing’s Terminator moment. The replacement of humans with technology, allowing businesses to bin the Nespresso machine and Christmas party, and place artificial intelligence (AI) behind the wheel.

While the role of automation in marketing is undoubtedly growing, AI is many years from maturity. The companies succeeding with marketing technology today are those focused on making their people more effective – not those working to replace them. Leaders who treat technology as a silver bullet for marketing leave themselves exposed.

Your martech stack needs a considered

customer strategy

developed using insight, data and human capital. Otherwise you risk directing a firehose of ill-considered moments, experiences and journeys at your audiences through your marketing platforms.

Marketers should follow a pragmatic approach to martech procurement.

Given the sheer quantity of solutions, it’s natural for marketers to feel overwhelmed. At Metia, we advise marketers focus investments on a core set of tools that generate value, while respecting customers and the principles on which their brand is built.

  • Investment in tools should be guided by cost-benefit analysis. Ensure clear objectives for any tools you procure and avoid overlap and redundancy. If you commit to investments based on a tool or technique providing just any benefit, you risk wasting money, damaging customer relationships and impacting the bottom line.
  • Retain some budget for experiments to fuel growth. Identify speculative opportunities where technology could help you make big leaps forward. Such investments are risky by nature, so treat them as an opportunity to test and learn quickly. Be relentless in your approach. If tools are successful, adopt them into your core stack. If they fail, discard and move on.
  • Build a regular review cadence for your stack, to ensure tools continue to add value. The landscape is moving quickly. A best-in-class tool one year may be a laggard the next. Be uncompromising in your approach. Differentiation still depends on human intelligence.

Modern technology has increased efficiency in marketing departments, but a reliance on the same platforms and techniques is leading to bland, undifferentiated customer experiences. Look at your inbox for proof – how many of the automated emails you receive stand out? In its infancy, marketing technology provided a route for brands to differentiate their marketing – but this technology has fast become table stakes.

B2B sales

are long and complex. Building and maintaining trust is critical. The role of marketing in this process is to inform, educate and stimulate action. For the time being at least, this requires human intelligence and judgement – empowered through technology and data.

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