Improve your martech stack through a strategic approach
Here is a reminder of the damning insights we’ve gleaned in this report:
- Only 13% of respondents consider their martech stack to be good enough.
- The number one issue with martech is the lack of staff and skills to fully-use the software.
- Most stack elements are siloed and not integrated within marketing, let alone to the rest of the company.
How did we get here?
The cause of this is a combination of various factors:
- A rapid adoption of martech without due consideration of necessary process changes and resource planning (trained staff).
- A stack approach, collecting shiny new objects to fill out a highly schematic and theoretical architecture without first considering specific business objectives and having a plan.
- Rogue and individual SaaS subscripting to a plethora of discrete marketing apps
- Allowing vendors to diagnose problems and blindly believing their solution prescriptions.
If anything, this scenario has been exacerbated by a renowned and often celebrated churn in marketing executive positions, leading to a wind of martech change every time a new CMO or marketing director is installed and they promote their favourite software partners.
How will a martech strategy help?
A clear, strategic approach to the martech stack ensures that spending across the whole marketing budget is optimally invested. Marketing has become primarily digital and requires technology to operate effectively – a suitable martech infrastructure is needed to achieve that goal. But equally, digital marketing also requires the appropriate organisation and framework of business processes to be effective in operating and leveraging that infrastructure.
“Many companies are not fully utilising the martech they already have, but still want to buy something new,” Marc Keating, chief innovation officer, Stein IAS said.
The overall marketing strategy is a business plan emerging from the goals and strategies defined for the business it’s representing. Ideally, a martech strategy could be documented onto an empty playing field, a greenfield site, where the optimal solution can be selected for each business process.
However, the reality is that it must also be informed by the current set of technologies installed, so a full technology audit is fundamental. The audit should record all installed technologies, how much they are used, the benefits that result and what they cost to operate.
Having a martech strategy raises accountability and governance
An important benefit of formally creating and discussing a martech strategy is that you have one or several members of staff who take responsibility. The CMO or marketing director must assign this responsibility to a senior member of their staff. In larger organisations, a separate group for marketing operations is created to manage the technology – the leader of that group could be the owner of the martech strategy.
The martech strategy, when complete, becomes a framework for all marketing staff (and possibly IT staff) who are involved with the technology. Digital marketing means there are many categories of marketing staff now involved: marketing application end-users, marketing operations staff and executives who need reports and dashboards. But also involved are citizen developers of digital experiences or external marketing apps; or those potential rogue buyers of marketing software (such as analytics) for individual use. In a modern democratic business environment, there is no way to stop the individual investments, but establishing a framework will limit any potential damage that is caused to integration, security, noncompliance or privacy breaches.
It’s the process that counts
The true value of a martech strategy is not that it is documented and placed on a bookshelf. It is the meetings, communications and negotiations that are needed to develop the plan. That continuous dialogue helps everybody understand the importance of planning and then aligning to that plan – and will probably limit resource and integration issues in the future. A martech strategy should be a continuous work-in-progress and openly accessible to all of the marketing staff.