How Brands Deploy Marketing Technology

May 11, 2017
Contributor: Chris Pemberton

Survey data reveals different business types deploy marketing technology differently.

B2B, B2C and B2B2C companies approach, fund and leverage investments in marketing technology quite differently, according to marketing technology survey data presented at the 2017 Gartner Digital Marketing Conference in San Diego,

Bryan Yeager, Gartner research director,  and Kirsten Newbold-Knipp, Gartner research director, shared results and analysis from the Gartner Marketing Technology Survey which investigated deployment of 29 types of marketing technologies across five major categories. The survey, which involved over 200 marketing leaders revealed marketers are both missing the mark and facing hidden opportunities to create differentiated advantage.

Eighty percent of companies in the survey either deployed or are in the process of deploying web content management, email marketing and web analytics solutions. As marketers race through the age of disruption, these technologies are “table stakes” for modern marketing. When asked which technologies they value most, marketers across different types of businesses all valued data analysis, modelling and search engine marketing, the latter mostly due to its direct-response nature and ability to measure ROI. Opportunities emerged where the data showed clear divergence of technology adoption and optimization across business types.

Business to business (B2B)

The typical B2B marketing “stack” of technologies emphasizes content and customers. Most B2B brands utilize 12 technologies, including lead management, multichannel campaign management and digital asset management. Survey data showed when compared to peers in other business types, fewer B2B marketers deployed A/B and multivariate testing technologies indicating missed opportunities. Additionally, B2B marketers may be under- investing in data and customer insights compared to B2C peers.

Business to consumer (B2C)

The technology stack of B2C brands is less standardized than B2B brands with 15 technologies competing for attention at consumer-facing brands. Customer data is more complex at B2C brands with digital marketing hubs, customer data platforms, data management platforms and customer identity management all being deployed by over 49% of B2C brands. Consumer brands actively invest in mobile and customer data while possessing opportunities to create differentiated advantage through investments in multichannel execution.

Business to business to consumer (B2B2C)

B2B2C brands under-invest in marketing technology across the board. An example of a B2B2C company is an insurance company (B) that sells through brokers or partners (B) who then sell to end consumers (C). Compared to the 12 technologies deployed by B2B brands and the 15 deployed by B2C brands, B2B2C brands deploy only three core marketing technologies: web content management, email marketing and web analytics solutions. These brands have an opportunity to treat dealers and partners more like customers and deliver superior customer experience through technology that creates a differentiated advantage. Simply because a customer has a relationship with an insurance broker doesn’t mean she doesn’t expect a great experience from the brand the one or two times a year she needs to use the brand’s online services to check a policy claim or pay a bill.

Shared opportunities for improvement

The survey showed areas where marketers across all business types can capitalize on opportunities:

  1. Tag management: Only 53%, 63% and 60% of B2B, B2C and B2B2C brands, respectively, invest in tag management. Implement a tag management solution to accomplish the basic blocking and tackling of a data-driven marketing organization.
  2. Search engine marketing (SEM): SEM tools are considered to be one of the top 5 biggest drivers of ROI for marketing technology investment yet barely 60% of marketers invest in these tools.
  3. Personalization: Nearly the same percentage of marketers invest in personalization solutions as SEM tools yet personalization is a more advanced capability and one that fails to deliver the same perceived ROI benefit as SEM. Marketer are getting ahead of themselves when it comes to investing in personalization. Implement foundational capabilities such as tag management and SEM tools before spending on personalization.
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