Improve Your Martech Stack Effectiveness

December 2, 2019
Contributor: Kelly Blum

Marketing leaders continue to invest in marketing technology, yet struggle to utilize the martech stack’s full potential.

Marketing leaders often get a bad rap when it comes to marketing technology (martech) investments, with IT leaders often citing “shiny object syndrome” as a problem. However, that sometimes-chilly relationship between marketing and IT has begun to thaw, and collaboration is at an all-time high as the two teams implement new product adoptions and execute on core marketing functions. Marketing leaders cited IT as a major detractor in the 2017 Gartner CMO Spend Survey, but CMOs now say their IT organization is one of marketing’s top supporters. In fact, 53% of marketing leaders now believe collaborating with IT has no negative impact on meeting their business objectives. 

Still, marketing leaders struggle to make progress in the utilization of their martech stack capabilities. According to the Gartner Marketing Technology Survey 2019, marketing leaders report utilizing only 58% of their martech stack’s potential, down from 61% in 2018. In turn, marketing teams that utilize less of their stack’s capabilities also report a lower level of martech effectiveness in meeting business goals.

“Marketing teams are leaving martech’s potential untapped, imperiling both their credibility and impact,” says Benjamin Bloom, Senior Director Analyst, Gartner. “Translating marketing technology into business effectiveness correlates with martech utilization. With looming economic uncertainty, marketing teams need to focus on becoming more agile — putting extra emphasis on training, talent and system integration.”

Talent and training in need of attention

Twenty-nine percent of marketing leaders report that training and upskilling existing martech talent is a major impediment to their martech stack effectiveness. Meanwhile, 27% believe either system integration or identifying and recruiting the right martech talent is the largest hurdle they must overcome. Talent and skill development are essential for improving technology stack utilization, as increasingly complex technologies require teams to master new tools and interfaces, and develop new marketing workflows.  

These findings are echoed in the Gartner 2019 Multichannel Marketing Survey, which found system integration and talent to be major impediments to achieving business goals. This reinforces the necessity of investing in the users of technology and not merely acquiring more of it. 

Look to bring skill and capability development into martech planning. Team members need time to learn and master the technologies in the martech stack. Marketing leaders should invest in workshops, training courses or conferences that can add new perspective, and develop a business case for these activities based on improved efficiencies.

Leaders favor “best-of-breed” approach for delivering effective martech

Martech teams are overcoming the challenge of system integration by taking a “best-of-breed” approach. Teams that prefer to build their stack through various solutions from different providers report utilizing more of their martech stack on average (60%) than those that prefer an “integrated suite” approach (53%). This “best-of-breed” approach enables marketers to minimize waste from unused or abandoned martech and signals a better collaboration with IT. 

“Avoiding waste is important, but achieving business objectives is critical,” says Bloom. “Those following a best-of-breed approach also report higher levels of martech stack effectiveness over those who follow an integrated approach.” 

To maximize the effectiveness of the martech stack, consider using a best-of-breed strategy that capitalizes on the strengths of multiple solutions. In doing so, it is critical that marketers ensure that the organization’s use of various solutions from multiple vendors remains aligned with overall business goals by formalizing a technology sourcing, procurement and vendor management discipline within the organization.

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