Trade | Marketing technology lessons - Avoiding the wasteland
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Marketing technology lessons – Avoiding the wasteland

Effective use of Martech

27 Aug Marketing technology lessons – Avoiding the wasteland


By Catie Starr, Director Customer Acquisition

Credentials: $7B+ in deposits delivered to GE Capital Bank in 21 months

Director, Digital Marketing – GE Capital Bank
Managing Director, Digital – Charles Schwab

According to a recent study published by Ascend2, only 9% of marketers believe that they have all of the tools that they need AND that they fully utilize what they have.1 This leaves the other 91% of us needing more tools and/or more resources to fully realize an ideal marketing technology strategy. Sure, some of the 91% will never be satisfied, but I believe that to be a small percentage. The vast majority of marketers need a clear roadmap to get to the ideal solution.

The ideal stack?

But what is the ideal marketing stack for your business? In Q1 ’15 the marketing technology (MarTech) category had 1,876 companies listed within it. 1,876 companies in 30+ categories. Now that’s overwhelming. How are you supposed to source, let alone run 30 tools in your marketing technology stack?- especially given the ever-increasing pressure on efficiencies in marketing.



The good news? You don’t need 30 and, most likely, that figure includes just a handful, at best. There is a core set of tools that make sense for most companies, but the rest of the categories are pretty niche. The ideal stack all depends on your business, go-to-market strategy, internal capabilities, agency partner ecosystem and the level of investment that you can make. In particular, the investment isn’t so much about how much investment, rather, what does the business case support? The trick is finding the tools that make sense for your business model and determining the priority of bringing them on. But where do you start? My recommendation is to start with what you’ve got.

Start with what you’ve got

I’ve been involved in several different businesses with varying degrees of sophistication as it relates to the marketing stack – from a blank slate to a hodgepodge of systems strung together with duct tape and baling wire. But the most important first step that I’ve always taken is conducting an audit of where and how the data flows between the systems. It’s almost guaranteed that there are quick wins that you can have through this exercise. Before you make another investment in a new tool, look into what you have. You’re most likely to find an opportunity to make your current systems more productive.

For example, most of you will tell me that you have web analytics, right? But is it pulling its weight? Can you track end-to-end marketing efficiency by dollar that you spend? Is it a full closed-loop or are there gaps? The thing that we see the most is that companies have a lot of tools that aren’t properly used. And without closed-loop reporting, you’re flying blind and any tool that you add to the stack will not prove its worth.

Your ideal stack

Once you’ve evaluated your current stack, it’s time to determine if there are gaps in the transparency and optimization capabilities of your data. This is the key to determining where investments should be made and the priorities of those investments. This is a good exercise leading into next year’s strategic planning. Understanding the key business goals and strategies will help clarify where you need to improve and what you need to focus on. Is your business looking to improve it’s Net Promoter Score (NPS)? Maybe you should focus on voice of the customer and social analytics. Is your business focused on the lowest cost of acquisition? Maybe you should focus on conversion optimization and attribution tools? Your investments in technology need to be aligned to your business goals.

This is the fun part. It’s time to envision the ideal stack for your business. It’s time to get to know new technologies, talk to your existing partners and your network. It’s time to build a roadmap to achieve the vision.

Don’t forget about the people

One of the biggest reasons I have witnessed a lack of productivity in the marketing technology stack is a lack of people to run it. Idle tools do you no good. Under-supported tools will be under-productive. You will never reach a state of full utilization without the right people and skills on your team.

When you put together your business case for a technology investment you MUST include the cost of the resource(s) needed to run it. Unless you have the capacity and appropriate skills sitting idle on your team, your investment will also need to include people. It’s an often-overlooked piece of the puzzle that can make or break the productivity of a tool.

It’s a marathon

The process of getting to an ideal and fully-utilized marketing technology stack is a long one. It’s not a sprint. It’s not something that you can accomplish overnight or even over the course of a year. As more and more tools and technologies come on the scene and as your existing platforms mature or don’t – unfortunately in certain cases, it will continue to be an ongoing process of evaluating what’s available and determining if you need it to accomplish your businesses goals.

The keys to making your stack as productive as possible include: Understanding what you have and ensuring it is being utilized properly; constantly learning about and evaluating what is available to you; and surrounding yourself with smart people who are also looking to make sure that their system can stack up.

To learn more about how Trade can assist your organization, contact 404-900-5592

To contact the author

Catie Starr, Director, Customer Acquisition


1 Ascend2: Marketing Technology Strategy – Survey Summary Report

Robert Morris
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