Opportunities And Gaps In MarTech

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.

Effectiveness-Focused MarTech 

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 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.

Data Integration

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.

The Deep Dive: What Does Content Marketing Need to Be?

Content marketing can be entertaining, helpful, or informative, or perhaps it can solve your audience’s problem. One good test of content marketing is whether it helps your audience even if they never buy your product or service. Here’s what content marketing needs to be to develop customer commitment.

Companies that avoid change management, eventually change management

Digital transformation is all around us–no company can escape. Most companies recognize this, and focus on managing the change in an effective way. But then there are others that think they can avoid digital.

What Marketers Can Learn From Facebook’s Privacy Mess

In my work at SoloSegment and with individual clients, I spend tons of time working at the intersections of marketing, artificial intelligence, data, and privacy. I suspect the same is true for you too. Of course, that means we all spend lots of time working with — and worrying about — the role played by Amazon, Google, Apple, Microsoft, and especially given their recent missteps with regard to data and privacy, Facebook. Which is why Mark Zuckerberg’s recent opinion piece in the Washington Post proved so fascinating. Zuckerberg talked about Facebook’s challenges, and to address these asked for government regulation in a number of areas:

SearchChat Podcast: How Marketers Can Use Data to Keep Your Seat at the Table

There’s major power for automation within marketing, and not everyone is harnessing it. This episode of SearchChat Steve Zakur and I ask: how can CMOs use both automation and data to keep their seat at the table as companies evolve?

Are You Considering Behavior-Based Personalization?

If you are like most marketers, you’ve probably been salivating over personalizing your website for years. It has always seemed like a good idea, but it’s never seemed possible.

SearchChat Podcast: Customer Intent is New Again

Alternatively: Chicken Soup for the Customer’s Soul

It’s time to start thinking about the value of intent based marketing differently. The idea itself isn’t new, but now the data is finally there for people to solve their business problems.

What is your customer experience like if you could walk into a diner feeling under the weather, and are immediately offered chicken soup? Online companies don’t have to lose that personal touch. 

SearchChat Podcast: Can You Personalize Without Creepy Data?

Is the dream of the visitor journey dying? How do we make journeys more functional without using data people don’t want us to have?

SearchChat Podcast: Ring in the Year by Putting Data to Work

Analytics matter: this is the unavoidable fact of digital marketing, even for those digital marketers that fear it. But are you even measuring the right things? Do you know how to make meaningful improvements?

Clarke had it right, AI is magic

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic

Arthur C Clarke

It seems like AI has been on everyone’s minds lately. It definitely has been on ours, as Tim Peter and I spoke on AI on our latest podcast. AI has been particularly hyped up, with plenty of big ideas emerging about what it can do for website owners. But I’m fearing, that like blockchain, we’re heading for Gartner’s fabled Trough of Disillusionment if we’re not there already. AI can’t solve all your business problems, though there are those that are well suited with the tools that are available today. But like any solution you have to have a valuable problem and the right approach to applying the solution.