Jan 06, 2023

How can marketers stay strategic in an evolving MarTech landscape?

Charles Proctor

Charles Proctor

How can marketers stay strategic in an evolving MarTech landscape?

In this blog, we discuss the rise of MarTech solutions, how it affects marketers, and how they can adapt and focus in a sea of continuous change. In 2011, there were 150 Martech solutions. As of 2022, this is total has reached nearly 10,000. The latest 2023 MarTech Map (an initiative by chiefmartec & Martech tribe) shows 10,383 pieces of software associated with all areas of advertising and marketing.

MarTech map 2022

There are five major subject areas for MarTech:

•    Advertising and promotion

•    Content and Experience

•    Management (MMT)

•    Data

•    Social and Relationships

•    Commerce and Sales

These subject areas can be broken down into 49 categories - each focusing on aspects of the Martech Stack. If we break this down even further, we see that:

  • In the category of Marketing Automation and Campaign/Lead Management, there are 353 vendors.

  • The biggest category, with 515 vendors, is Sales Automation.

  • The smallest category is Account-Based Marketing, with only 27 vendors. This is possibly because it overlaps with Sales, and although the Sales philosophy has been around for over 20 years, it only started to attract serious funding for tech development from about 2015.

Listen next: Podcast: Navigating marketing transformation: What is modern marketing today?

What does this mean for marketers and enterprises?

Generally, marketing tech capability has organically built up over time as new capabilities have been added to the tech stack. This has led to various issues for marketers.

Redundancy: The average large enterprise has up to 120 tools, 28% of marketers want to reduce vendors, 36% want fewer tools, and use only 61% of the functionality of their MarTech portfolio. 

There are thousands of marketing technologies to choose from and as a result, redundancy with marketing technology is inevitable. However, marketers need to avoid these redundancies when it is possible to do so. For example, common features such as content, calendars, and analytics occur in multiple platforms, and a marketer should ideally concentrate efforts into one platform whilst ignoring any duplicate functionality. A good example is to use one analytics platform, integrate data from the other platforms, and negotiate to avoid paying for analytics capability that is unused (unless this is useful to the operation of a tool e.g. email statistics).

Velocity83% of marketers replaced / upgraded at least one tool in the last 12 months and 88% want to accelerate the execution of campaigns.

As new products and technology emerges, how do marketers decide what and when to add to their stack?  What is the payback, and can something be removed to compensate? This requires an agile approach to determine which objectives to focus on and build a backlog based around assessment of value to the business, ability to deliver, and cost.

Integration52% of marketers believe that disparate systems are holding their marketing back.

One of the main challenges marketers face is figuring out the solutions their businesses need and integrating these technologies into their strategies by any means necessary. Lots of marketing technology platforms feature open architecture and are easy to technically integrate with specialised solutions, but this needs care and expertise to get right and meet the business’ needs. The weakest part of any MarTech stack are the interfaces where data can be lost, or where coding systems are misaligned. This means working closely with your IT teams to ensure pain-free and secure integration of new tools whilst potentially bringing in MarTech experts to manage the integration and work with the solution provider.

TalentOnly 28% of marketers view their in-house talent and tech as trained and working well. In a survey of 450 digital marketers close to half (48%) chose a lack of skills to operate technology as a top-2 challenge. 

Having good technological maturity within your marketing team is necessary for organisations to grow, and that requires a level of talent. In-house talent can work with the tech stack available, but sometimes another view or alternate experience can be very helpful. This may just be to cover an increase in throughput while capabilities are developed or involve bringing in-house resources up to speed. Getting the right talent at the right time is a constant need.

Demonstrating ROI of marketing activitiesOnly 24% of marketers feel their MarTech solutions are strategic enablers, 65% expect to use MarTech to improve ROI, and 57% expect to improve the efficiency of their marketing.

Measuring the ROI (return on investment) of your marketing activities has remained a top marketing challenge globally year-on-year. Having an integrated strategy, supported by well-crafted OKRs and KPIs, is the first step to achieving this.

How can marketing work to solve some of the overwhelming problems facing them?

There is a lot of opportunity to optimise the MarTech stack and access all of its capability, but most marketers are struggling to get the best out of their stack and keep up with constant change.

Align on objectives

Identify (or re-confirm) the business objectives of your marketing based on the strategic objective of your company. For example, are you in acquisition mode, upselling, cross-selling, or retention? Where are the greatest opportunities for growth? Ensure alignment between business strategy and marketing strategy.

Create a shared vision

Create a company-wide vision and ‘North Star’ for the marketing capabilities so that all parts of the business are aligned around the same goal. Put it in a living document subject to regular review, alignment, and agreement in line with changing business priorities.

Ways of working

Learn and adapt agile methodologies to determine which objectives to focus on and build a backlog based around assessment of value to the business, ability to deliver, and cost. Create a cohesive and collaborative approach with multi-disciplined teams tasked with delivering backlog items.

Build a roadmap and optimise

Build a roadmap of how to move forward in agile steps. As you deliver incremental benefits, optimise the use of the tech stack to deliver against objectives. Embed business driven OKRs and KPIs into your measurement framework to judge the effectiveness of your marketing.

In a nutshell

The MarTech landscape is adapting in response to an ever-changing set of customer wants and needs. To keep up with that constant revolution, marketers must adopt a more agile approach to MarTech delivery and follow the example of the technology industry, which has gradually moved away from waterfall developments.

How we can help

At Credera, we recognise the difficulty in keeping up with the velocity of change in the MarTech landscape and understand that BAU prevents you knowing how 10,000+ apps could optimise your marketing performance.

Our Modern Marketing Transformation team is staffed with subject matter experts whose job it is to know what they all do and how they complement each other best. If you want to assess whether the myriad of logos that make up your tech stack are currently the best value and best fit for your organisation, please get in touch.

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