Last week I was asked what the biggest opportunities and gaps are in the MarTech stack. It’s an interesting question when one considers all the technology that’s available in the market. While I could opine on features and functions that I’d like to see, what really bugs me is the fact that so much of the overarching promise of marketing technology remains unfulfilled.
Efficiency has been the primary focus on MarTech since its beginning. If you look at early marketing automation, heck even much of what you see today, the focus is on getting rid of the manual efforts of marketing professionals. It feels sometimes like the tech is focused on helping marketers “make it up on volume”. Yes, automated testing will discover the best content to be delivered in a campaign, but the best relative to what? What grows revenue? More often “better” means some top-of-funnel activity.
That’s good for a start but the promise of marketing technology is delivering marketing activity that more directly connects to the business results. That’s the thing we were all sold way back at the beginning of this thing. Tim Peter and I talked recently about how MarTech is essential to website personalization. Marketing technology was supposed to make marketers more relevant to the business. More focused on business results. More connected to the things that CEOs care about. It feels like the struggle is still very real.
Connecting marketing data to the things that happen downstream — sales, fulfillment, support — is another one of the promises of the marketing technology revolution. Most tech today is fairly open. APIs are abundant.
In addition, there are ecosystems such as Salesforce and Hubspot that allow you to easily connect marketing and sales data. The great irony in all this is that it’s easier today for a small business to have a highly integrated marketing stack than it is for a large enterprise.
Much of the promise of integrated suites is undelivered. I’ve heard marketing execs talk about how they are unable to deploy some feature in their marketing stack because it requires some wiring that has to be performed by their IT team. The vendor calls it “configuration” but to marketing pros it’s still IT.
Data integration is a start, but having systems talk to one another only serves a purpose if it drives a process. You can’t make outcomes better if your business processes don’t support actions driven by the data that is being presented.
The intersection of marketing and sales is a prime example. Long an area of contention — sales teams don’t move quickly enough on the leads presented by marketing and marketing teams don’t give quality leads worth progressing — nothing gets better despite data integration unless the processes are tightly integrated.
Process integration doesn’t happen because tools are wired together. Process integration happens when humans work together to design processes that support shared goals and shared methods. Only then can data and tech help make the business outcomes better.
These three challenges aren’t new. They may be the unattainable holy grails of business. That said, they are worth chasing. Vendors focused on outcomes and data supporting optimized processes are the things that will drive business growth even if we’re never able to achieve the perfection that we seek.
To learn how to improve conversions by putting your data to work with automation — connect with me.