The importance of unleashing marketing and data technology’s true potential

Daniel Telling, managing partner at Bench, advises businesses on how best to unleash marketing and data technology's true potential

Digital transformation and data intelligence are of top priority for B2B organisations at the moment. Digital transformation is redefining not just how companies communicate with their customers, but entire business models too. The sheer volume of data available presents as many opportunities as it does challenges and data is increasingly being acknowledged as an organisation’s biggest asset.

The market is also in a period of hyper growth. There are literally thousands of marketing technology providers, from start-ups who specialise in specific areas, to large, recognised vendors, who are rapidly changing capabilities to enable ‘marketing cloud’ offerings.

The likes of Adobe, IBM, Oracle and Salesforce, for example, have made almost $1 billion worth of acquisitions in recent times. All of this presents a multi-faceted challenge to organisations. Not only are they attempting to embrace new operating models and approaches in order to stay competitive and stave off disruptive forces, they are also faced with a wide array of technology to choose from, as they attempt to both navigate new terrain and implement new marketing and data technology eco-systems.

All too often, marketing, digital and data are seen as departmental issues, when in fact they are enablers for every part of the business. Indeed, for organisations to become truly customer orientated, an overall cultural shift is needed, which is championed by the leadership team.

While only one part of a bigger picture, marketing and data technology has a very important role to play in over-coming the above challenges.

When implemented and integrated correctly, marketing and data technology have the potential to drive digital transformation, enable business intelligence, allow organisations to become truly data led and ultimately transform customer experience for the better.

However, marketing and data technology implementation all too often does not deliver the benefits it should. Recent research from Oracle found that only 8per cent of those questioned felt that marketing technology had been implemented well. 40 per cent did not think technology had been implemented even partially well and 40 per cent were unconvinced by marketing technology’s benefits.

What can organisations do to ensure marketing and data technology success? Start with the customer experience, not with technology. All too often the tendency is to try and solve a need in the quickest way possible by throwing some technology at it. To really get value, organisations need to step back and start with the customer – this is true whether the organisation is B2B or B2C.

In addition, before purchasing any new technology, organisations first need to fully understand the systems they already have. Due to the particularly high turn-over in senior marketing roles, coupled with increasing marketing technology spend, businesses are likely to have multiple systems in place, which are not being utilised properly.

Once you have mapped out your ideal customer experience, examined your existing technology and subsequently identified a specific need for new technology, then comes the challenge of selecting the most appropriate technology for your needs.

When it comes to implementation of new systems or software, many organisations make the mistake of rushing and trying to implement technology too quickly. This is perhaps understandable, as there is often immense pressure to deliver results. Indeed, 55 per cent of big data projects fail as they cannot demonstrate value quickly enough .

However, this approach rarely delivers true value in the long-term and in fact, can often be counter-productive. By rushing implementation, and not effectively managing expectations across the business, the technology is unfairly viewed as a failure.