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Martech implementation is no picnic, so focus on the people | B2B Marketing

A major theme of B2B Marketing’s Get Stacked conference was the need to focus on people if you’re going to make martech implementation work. Paul Snell reports

Recently I came across the acronym PICNIC, used by IT experts when trying to solve issues for their colleagues. PICNIC stands for ‘problem in chair, not in computer’, suggesting the user, rather than the tech, is the cause of the fault.

This sprang to mind while taking in the presentations at Get Stacked – The B2B Marketing Technology Conference. When there’s so much focus on the tech, its features and its integration, it’s all too easy to forget about the human in the chair who’ll be the end-user.  

If I were to hazard a guess as to why that is, I’d suggest it’s partly down to fatigue. Purchasing a piece of martech can be torturous – the multiple approvals, budget sign off, technical integration, etc – that by the time you actually get it in front of staff, you just want to get started (and start delivering that ROI you promised).

In B2B Marketing’s

recently published

Martech Audit


, 18% of marketers cited staff changes and the need for continuous changes as the biggest deployment challenge. The skills gap is also the biggest reason why organisations are forced to rely on third parties such as agencies.

Martech implementation often comes in parallel with digital transformation initiatives. In these instances the focus on tech should really be secondary to the focus on people.

Take it from Paul Stevenson, head of marketing operations and technology at O2. He says

technology only accounts for 20% of the change

– the other 80% is down to process and people, and how you can get them ready for that change.

O2 structured its digital transformation around five pillars: Data, structure, people, process and reporting. Of these, two are crucial, according to Rebecca Le Grange, managing partner at Sojurn Solutions, the consultancy that assisted O2 with its transformation project.

The first of these is data, and in particular taking the time to understand what you have, what needs cleaning, and to build your strategy with that knowledge. Many organisations don’t do this upfront, causing problems later on.

The second successful foundation was the firm’s focus on its people. “Martech and any strategy around that is only as good as the people you have in your team,” she says. “The investment in O2’s marketing operations – building that team, making sure they were trained, enabled and had an accountability for what they were doing for the organisation – has been so helpful.”

3 key areas of martech skills development

Simon Daniels speaking at B2B Marketing Get Stacked 2019

According to

marketing operations consultant Simon Daniels

(pictured above), there are three areas where you should concentrate skills development: platforms, digital and Agile.

When it comes to training staff on particular platforms, the crucial thing is to ensure the training is specific, he says. “It’s very easy to say we’ll send you on a Marketo course, you’ll be fine. Then they come back and their instance of Marketo is customised, and doesn’t work exactly like it does out of the box. It’s crucial that aspect of training is for you.”

Digital encompasses best practice techniques across digital marketing, social media and web optimisation, ensuring staff are at the cutting edge of these practices.

As for Agile, Simon says this is

more an overarching approach to marketing

, which feeds back into your approach to using technology. It takes leadership and isn’t something people can learn on their own.

Embracing the discipline of Agile was exciting, according to IBM Europe CMO Alison Orsi, but it did require a complete mindset shift for staff. The company conducted two quarters of Agile training, both virtual and face-to-face, and 5000 marketers and 500 leaders have been instructed in Agile principles.

“We wanted to make sure teams worked with trust, openness, courage and respect. I can’t recommend it enough as a way of working. It’s so much fun, and we have teams falling over themselves to become agile champions and encourage others to do so.”

But she concedes it wasn’t the easiest of journeys, even for a large multinational such as IBM and the resources at its disposal. “The commitment we made to teams was we’ll make you the best marketers you can be, giving you the best skills for your careers. And that’s attracting a whole new set of marketers,” she added.

The Martech Audit: How’s your tech stacking up? 

We know that curating a martech stack can be a nightmare. This guide, a review of the industry’s martech use, is here to help.

Uncover more martech insights

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