In this opinion piece, Ben Shapiro, founder and Managing Director of CX and MarTech company Triggerfish, reflects on how companies can better utilise software capabilities.
Marketing is quickly becoming one of the most technology-dependant functions of a business, so much so it’s given rise to the highly specialised function of MarTech, now worth a reported $121.5 billion worldwide.
What is MarTech? Put simply, it’s the blending of marketing and technology and applies to any major business initiative that utilises technology to achieve marketing and commercial goals.
When used effectively, it’s a powerful toolkit that can significantly enhance a customer’s online brand experience (CX) and drive true business transformation.
Fuelled by the impact of COVID-19 and the need for businesses to adapt, the past twelve months has seen MarTech projects rise up the corporate priority list with businesses accelerating investments in technology and digital experiences that would have normally taken them years.
This was certainly a refreshing development for the industry. However, what we also saw, was many businesses not maximising these investments and arguably wasting valuable marketing budget by only utilising about five per cent of their MarTech stack or software capabilities.
While marketing technology can help fuel business transformation, it’s also a highly complex landscape that requires specialist skills, in-depth knowledge and understanding, and the right partnerships to be truly effective.
Oftentimes, a business’s shortfall on having the right internal capabilities to drive the MarTech, can impact their view of success which sees them settle for “good enough” – simply because they haven’t experienced what a return on investment could look like.
The State of MarTech Implementations in Australia
For those considering their own organisational capabilities, having worked in the enterprise technology sector for the past 25 years, my view is that the MarTech maturity of Australian businesses can be categories into the following four distinct groups:
TOOLS JUNKIES: Tools Junkies operate on the myth that more tools will solve their problems. They buy tools without concern and the teams are often uncoordinated and conflict driven. There is no measurement, no prioritisation of activity which often results in no change to the business.
PROJECT PROS: Project Pros operate on the myth that people and processes are more important than technology. Teams are tactics-led, often guessing, and initiating projects to build capabilities. While they have a MarTech stack, they only utilise about five per cent and its often old and out of date.
OPS FOCUSSED: Ops Focussed teams use data to inform their decision making. They have a plan and are confident it will drive results. They have a core data stack, their tools are up to date and the tech is ‘out of the way’ so marketers can focus on marketing. However, businesses can be limited by thinking this is “good enough” and that they’re already achieving their full potential.
GROWTH MINDED: The holy grail, Growth Minded organisations understand that operational speed and certainty is the key to growth. They focus on transforming capabilities, achieving commercial goals and working as one.
They achieve velocity and scale by taking an ‘always on’ approach, and their people and processes being in harmony with tools. They are agile and efficient and only focus on the things that make a difference (ROI).
So how do Australian businesses fare? As a generalisation, the majority are likely to fall into the Tools Junkies and Project Pros categories, meaning tech (and budget) wastage is commonplace, with many organisations wasting up to ninety-five per cent of their MarTech capabilities. However, this also means that greater potential exists.
Five Per Cent Utilisation Means Ninety-Five Per Cent More Possibilities.
With MarTech under-utilisation widespread, I always encourage businesses to consider what commercial success could be achieved if the technology was fully maximised, the people and processes were working in harmony with the tools, and there was a constant process of testing and learning in order to amplify outcomes.
And all of this is absolutely achievable. The challenge, however, is getting senior marketers to elevate their expectations and redefine success in their business.
They need to know that this level of success is possible, but that it does require the right internal capabilities and agency partners to work collaboratively on driving the transformation and commercial outcomes.
Speed and Certainty Key to Success.
Despite traditional thinking, this kind of success should not take months or even years to achieve. While traditional MarTech agencies can take up to nine months and sometimes even longer to plan and deploy (in which time business motivation can decline), our model of speed and certainty – built around a fast execution cadence and guaranteed outcomes – works to a ninety day launch and business transformation, which has clients enjoying commercial growth in a third of the time.
Clients demonstrably see what ROI can look like, then we built on that success.
How do we do this? Instead of a campaign or project-specific way of working, we take an ‘always-on’, agile approach which enables us to constantly test, learn, adapt, and improve, ensuring that results are delivered, and business transformation is achieved.
Fundamental to success is having C-suite buy-in from the outset. This helps to ensure that everyone is working to a defined business strategy and both the marketing and technology teams are aligned on the goals.
We also focus only on the things that matter (things that drive ROI) and say no to the things that don’t. It’s a pragmatic approach that works.
The truth is that the tech will only get you so far. What businesses also need is the right people, processes and operational approach to maximise the technology and drive business outcomes.
Having these elements in place is what will help businesses move from a Project Pro or Ops Focussed mentality, to become truly “Growth Minded”; something that will help senior marketers redefine success in their business and experience true business transformation.
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