But, in general, the IT department should not act as a roadblock to marketing when it comes to building the marketing technology stack. “You want IT to enable marketing productivity,” says Joyce. “The best thing a CIO can do is bring to the CMO’s attention the technologies that can improve the overall effectiveness of marketing.”
Demystifying the martech hype
For marketers, getting past the martech hype with any vendor is a must. “I think any vendor worth its salt should be able to concretely say that by using their platform you will be able to accomplish XYZ,” says Anita J. Brearton, founder and CEO at CabinetM, a discovery platform for the marketing industry. Sometimes it’s not necessarily a financial metric, she explains, but a click-through or conversion metric. It should, however, be a concrete benchmark to aim for: “Otherwise, you install a tool you know everyone is experimenting with and three months later it cost you more to implement it than you achieved by using it,” she says.
Most importantly, she adds, marketers should focus on their business objectives rather than get distracted by the latest new and shiny tech tool. “It can be hell for marketers to try and put all this stuff in perspective,” Brearton says. “But while testing and trying new tools to extend reach and drive down the cost of customer acquisition is important, you need to test the premise of the solution against your marketing strategy and buyer personas. Ask the question — is this tool going to help me reach or connect with my specific buyers?”
Brinker also points out that vendors should be assessed with the possibility in mind that in a couple of years a company’s needs will change or the technology will advance. “Keep in mind when you build your marketing stack that you’ll have to swap out some of those components or add new ones two or three years from now.”
No marketing nirvana with martech
There is no sign of consolidation in the martech space, so for now, marketers need to figure out how to navigate the massive, competitive landscape of platforms and solutions. The most important thing for marketers to keep in mind, says Brinker, is that there is really no “there” there.
“I don’t think there’s a marketing nirvana when it comes to martech,” says Brinker. Instead, he says, there is a typical, cyclical process where a new way of connecting with one’s audiences is invented that didn’t exist before. “The speed is accelerating from the point of early adopters who get an outsized return from that new technology due to its novelty, to the noise explosion in the space that leads to an efficacy drop. And then, everyone just starts hunting for the next breakthrough innovation.”
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