There are currently a little over 8,000 MarTech solutions available worldwide, a market that has seen considerable growth since 2011 where only 150 tools were available. With the rapid pace of advancements in all industries thanks to technologies such as AI, ML, and RPA, it is natural that these tools have propelled the marketing industry in particular into digital overdrive.
But what exactly is MarTech and how is it benefiting business across the globe? And how can you assess your business’s MarTech stack to eradicate overlap?
What is MarTech?
The term MarTech is a combination of ‘marketing’ and ‘technology’ and refers to the use of digital tools and technologies that marketers deploy to inform, plan, and execute their campaigns. Every piece of technology a business uses to deliver its marketing initiatives is referred to as marketing technology, and when these processes and tools are bundled together they are collectively known as a marketing or tech stack — MarTech.
There are quite literally thousands of MarTech tools and platforms that assist businesses with automating their marketing processes that help save tons of time and money. Many can even connect with other tools so that your whole MarTech stack works seamlessly (Zappier specialises in this). Additionally, most MarTech solutions are compatible with various other department systems, helping marketing teams access previously inaccessible information across entire organisations, improving productivity.
To make sense of the rapidly growing MarTech industry, you can segment the service offerings into 6 main categories, with each having additional sub-categories:
- Advertising & Promotion
- Content & Experience
- Social & Relationships
- Commerce & Sales
Martech solutions offer businesses a wealth of conversion opportunities as more data equals more information about current and potential customers. This provides marketers with the opportunity to analyse, interpret, and aggregate the wealth of data at their disposal to then channel into strategies.
However, with all its promise the MarTech industry is not without its challenges.
Drawbacks of martech
The downside of having so many MarTech tools available is the tendency to overuse and bloat your MarTech stack. According to MarTech guru Scott Brinker, the average Enterprise uses a MarTech stack comprising roughly 90 tools, which is way too many. The reason for this is due to the fact that there aren’t many single platforms that offer all-in-one solutions that are without drawbacks. So, each department will invariably use a MarTech solution that meets its specific needs, which when extrapolated across all departments within an organisation, leads to this high number and considerable bloat.
According to Andrea Cordts of Fetch IMC, “There are very few MarTech tools that perform all of the functions marketing professionals need to do their job [like] research, strategy, execution, [and] reporting. The ones that do offer all of those functions can be extremely expensive [and chew up] our already limited budgets. As a work-around, marketing professionals cobble together a system of tools that we know work well and perform the functions [that we want]”.
Another challenge to adopting MarTech is the discrepancy between technological change and organisational change. Scott Brinker’s ‘Martec’s Law’ shows the challenge that most companies face when adjusting to various levels of enterprise-wide digital transformation. Of course, business culture and approach cannot keep up with the rate of technological advancements, and because MarTech solutions work best when integrated across all departments, a gap is created. Staff training and exposure to this tech will take time, but when it is fully immersed into operations the benefits are unparalleled.
How to assess and make the best use out of martech
Of course, close to 100 MarTech solutions is too many for one business. So how can you assess your current situation to see what to cut and what to keep without impacting your customer experience?
First: assess your tools
The first step is to assess the number and nature of MarTech tools used within each department to identify overlaps and, conversely, gaps. You may find that you have multiple tools that cover the same or similar processes which help to cut the fat at the departmental level. Once you have lean MarTech departments, you can then begin to assess your enterprise-wide/holistic MarTech stack that brings all departments and processes together. Perform the same overlap/gap scenarios to streamline even further. This process will invariably lead to significant trimming of unnecessary MarTech tools in operation. Continue refining this process until you get to a point where all tools in operation are essential.
Then: focus on your goals
A two-prong approach to this involves developing your marketing strategies and goals (short-, mid-, and long-term) to anticipate your MarTech stack needs and requirements. Depending on the direction you are currently in compared to your future roadmap could mean reducing and/or replacing the tools you use.
You can also take this approach in another direction: assess what your business goals and objectives are and work backwards to see how each MarTech tool helps you achieve each goal. This approach helps you identify the intrinsic purpose and performance prerequisite each piece of tech delivers to help you along your journey. Any tool that does not directly assist can be discarded.
Think about assigning a MarTech manager who is responsible for assessing and implementing new MarTech tools into the organisation, rather than each department having a free-for-all type situation. This creates a funnel where each new proposed MarTech addition is considered through the lens of a holistic business approach.
There is no doubt that implementing MarTech solutions is essential for any modern business regardless of size. The ability to extract, analyse, and synthesise data to then be able to automate targeted marketing messaging to audiences is overwhelmingly beneficial to any business in today’s world. Martech offers marketers the ability to increase their reach and draw invaluable data to improve each communication with every iteration. The trick is to use this tech in ways that assist your business objectives rather than hindering them.