In this opinion piece, TBWA\Australia’s director of customer experience, Billy Loizou, gives some pointers on developing the ultimate martech stack.
Today in 2017, the marketing technology boom has birthed over 5,000 software brands… and counting.
As our attention spans have reduced to roughly tweo minutes thanks to the influx of social media content, the sheer concept of selecting a technology provider has become more complicated than ever for marketers of today.
For those of you unfamiliar with the term ‘marketing tech stack’, here is brief description courtesy of Optimizely:
A marketing technology stack is a grouping of technologies that marketers leverage to conduct and improve their marketing activities. Often, the focus of marketing technologies is to make difficult processes easier, and to measure the impact of marketing activities and drive more efficient spending.
In simplest form, it’s any piece of technology a marketer uses to reach a customer. The complex part is in order for them to reach a customer with the right content and be effective they all need to speak to each other.
WHY SHOULD MARKETERS CARE ABOUT THEIR MAR TECH STACK
The whole notion of sending the right message, at the right time, via the right channel underpins the importance of getting you marketing technology stack correct. According to chiefmartech.com, only nine per cent of marketers today have a fully utilised marketing technology stack. The opportunity here is enormous, however, here are the biggest challenges marketers will need to address:
- Technology systems aren’t integrated
With multiple tools, data silos can develop where you can’t extract or combine data from different applications without manual export processes. This causes a lot of ambiguity and can lead to mixed customer messages.
- Data is inconsistent.
We all want the dream of having a single customer view – it’s an aspiration for most businesses. The reality is that data in different business systems will report different values, so there is no single version of the truth.
- Customer journeys can’t be executed or tracked across multiple channels
The customer journey is not linear, is extremely complex and does not only exist on the channels you own. When you start to combine traditional above the line channels, then move to below the line channels across different devices the variables here are almost infinite. Once a marketing automation solution is rolled out across your business, operationally, staff aren’t correctly trained and processes haven’t changed with the times.
Having a clear marketing technology strategy will in essence enable you to start planning for the future and not trying to eat the whole elephant with one mouthful. It takes patience and needs to be a company-wide decision – not just a marketing one.
UNDERSTAND YOUR CURRENT MARTECH STACK
The first place to start is to gather as much information as you can on the current marketing technology stack. A simple way to break it down thanks to Acrolinx (winner of the Stakie award in 2016) is to follow the 5C’s model:
- Contacts: What technology/tools are enabling you as a business to prospect new customers and drive lead generation (i.e sales navigator, prospect.io, LinkedIn)?
- Connections: What technology/tools are enabling you to connect and interact with your customers across multiple channels (i.e marketing automation, social channels, company website)?
- Content: What technology/tools does your company use to create, publish and optimise content (i.e Adobe Creative Suite, iMovie, Canva)?
- Customer: What technology/tools are capturing and storing all your precious customer analytics and data (i.e Salesforce CRM, Google Analytics, HubSpot)?
- Collaboration: What technology/tools does your company use internally to centralise operations, manage projects and workflows (i.e Slack, Sharepoint, Trello, Microsoft Outlook)?
Once you go through this exercise, it is much easier to visualise your current marketing technology stack and how it is starting to come together. See an example below which has utilised the Acrolinx model.
CREATING A FUTURE STATE MARTECH STACK
With so many choices, it’s essential for marketers to have a clear understanding of which technologies are most fundamental to their business goals and to understand how technology can help them positively affect their business and customer experience. In order to understand where to focus your investment here are some key areas to ponder over in order to create a technology roadmap to aspire to:
- Areas of improvement [crawl]: Where do we as a business feel we are under utilising existing technology and not getting a clear return on investment?
- Existing pain points [walk]: Where is our current technology causing bad customer experiences and impacting business growth?
- Technology gaps [run]: Where are our largest technology gaps we need to plug in order to improve our customer experience?
- Areas of opportunity [fly]: Where should we pioneer and leap frog the competition through innovative technology solutions?
Ultimately, starting this transformation requires you to have the right team on board, aligning marketing and IT departments with a shared vision, and lastly, the budget.