Marketing operations is not martech and what is martech anyway?!
As I write this (well ok, not literally as I write, my multi-tasking skills aren’t quite that honed!) I’m preparing my Get Stacked talk where I’ll be presenting highlights from B2B Marketing’s latest report, Moving forwards with a marketing operations function. In addition to this privilege I’ve also enjoyed being part of the research behind the report and the opportunity to learn more about marketing operations in practice has been illuminating.
As I say in my introduction to the report, MOPs is much more than just marketing technology, although it’s certainly a central aspect of its remit. You’ll need to wait for the report itself as well as my session for the detailed research - I know, I’m a terrible tease – so sign-up now, registration is free!
Accepting the importance of marketing technology to Marketing Operations though raises another question, which is what exactly is martech? On the face of it this would seem to be entirely obvious, comprising the tools we use in marketing to manage audiences, execute campaigns, capture response, analyse results and more. Where, though, do tools like work management (Asana, Monday.com, Teamwork), collaboration (Slack, Teams) or even marketing resource management (Allocadia) fit in? Well fair enough, while the latter is an obvious fit the others have applications beyond Marketing, yet what modern marketer wouldn’t consider them a core part of their tool kit? Hearteningly a number of comments that were included with responses to the survey that informs the report mentioned such tools, so clearly there is growing adoption already.
There is a risk though in throwing the net a little too wide and as well as including technologies like work management that clearly have applications outside Marketing, also including generic applications up to and including Microsoft Office! This intuitively can’t be right and so I think we can draw the line a little further back, perhaps at tools that only marketers use to do their jobs? Still, there’s no reason that work management tools should not appear in the marketing stack schematic, but I don't think that means they’re martech as such. The entire discussion may of course be approaching pinhead-dancing territory!
In a similar vein, martech’s little brother salestech is also starting to make its presence felt. While tools exclusively used by Sales are of course nothing new, there seems to be an increasing prevalence and focus on them as a category. This particularly includes Sales enablement and engagement technologies, which also came out in the survey responses. This leads to the question of who should be in charge of all this stuff – Marketing Ops or Sales Ops? Or is it finally time for the fabled and much heralded Revenue Ops to take their place and provide the holistic, end-to-end management that would seem to be required?
One of the other things that struck me from the research – albeit somewhat anecdotally – is the number of people saying they’re using or adopting CRM and marketing automation platform HubSpot. Simultaneously competing as well as playing nicely with de facto industry standard Salesforce.com, HubSpot seems to be making headway with a number of businesses I’ve spoken to recently. A little bit of diversity certainly can’t be a bad thing.
Well, perhaps some of these points and no doubt many more will come up in the discussion with my fellow B2B Marketing Propolis Hive experts Shane Redding and Steve Kemish together with B2B Marketing Editor-in-Chief Joel Harrison when we discuss the research after my talk. I know they will all bring a unique perspective from a strategic and digital execution standpoint and so I commend you to join us if you can!