MarTech has become a standard part of our vocabulary. In fact, according to Google, it's search over 10,000 times a month in the United States alone. But when it comes to MarTech and Marketing Technology, the terms can mean a lot of things. Let's take a look at what MarTech really means, why it's important, and the challenges facing marketers today.

What is Marketing Technology (MarTech)?

Marketing technology, also known as MarTech, describes a range of software and tools that assist in achieving marketing goals or objectives. When a marketing team utilizes a grouping of marketing technologies, this is known as their marketing technology stack. MarTech has become a staple in digital marketing campaigns, but can also be used to optimize marketing efforts across any marketing channel.

current state of marketing measurement and optimization

Difference Between MarTech and AdTech 

MarTech may sometimes be confused with Adtech. The difference between these programs is similar to the difference between marketing and advertising. While martech refers to technology that helps to create, communicate, and deliver offerings, adtech is strictly used to influence buyer behavior by promoting offerings. For example, Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software is martech, while social ad platforms are adtech.

The Importance of Marketing Technology

In 2012, Gartner predicted that by 2017 CMOs would spend more on technology than CIOs. While this claim was initially very divisive, the gap in spending between these parties has narrowed significantly over the years. This is because technology is playing an increasingly important role in marketing, especially assisting with efforts such as attribution and allocating marketing spend.

With the martech landscape constantly evolving, marketers may be overwhelmed by which option to choose. For that reason, marketers must be sure that they are investing in marketing technology solutions that will facilitate greater growth in their organization. 

Essentials of Marketing Technology

Which technology is best for marketers to invest in is heavily dependent on who they are marketing to. For example, does your organization market products to other businesses (B2B) or to consumers (B2C)? Although your organization’s market has a sizable influence on which martech will be most effective, all marketers should consider implementing the following technologies:

Marketing Attribution Software

As John Wanamaker (1838-1922), a famous US merchant said, “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don't know which half.” Over a century later, this dilemma has not been solved for many companies. Outdated attribution models or failing to account for both offline and online successes are causing companies to miss out on opportunities. Partnering with the right marketing attribution software can help solve this issue.

Email Marketing 

In his book, Perennial Seller, Ryan Holiday discusses the importance of email and cultivating those relationships directly with customers. Since emails are not dependent to algorithm changes or what’s trending, it’s one of the best platforms to reach a target audience. Consider this: In a recent survey, more than 50 percent of US respondents admit to checking their email more than 10 times per day. Email is an effective way for brands to reach to customers.

Content Management System

This technology is able to power both your website and blog. With 88 percent of consumers researching products online before purchasing, investing in a quality website is a necessity. Your website is the backbone to the rest of your digital strategy, since marketing and advertising customers will drive consumers there.

Customer Experience Software 

This part of the marketing technology stack should focus on making the customer’s interaction with your brand better, whether that be by testing out which messaging is the most effective or personalizing their experience. This includes software involved in A/B testing.

Customer Relationship Management Software

This is more common for B2B companies that focus on lead generation, but these platforms can help your company manage leads. CRMs can determine where leads are in the funnel, and assess opportunity levels

Predictions for Marketing Technology

Over time, marketing technology will continue to evolve and become more crucial in modern marketing campaigns. However, martech will need to adapt to a shifting marketing environment. Here are some trends that marketers should be aware of before investing in martech:

  • Shrinking Marketing Budgets - Gartner now predicts that budgets are leveling off for marketing departments. This will require companies to justify their marketing ROI and spend.
  • Focus on Retention - It costs 5 times more to attract a new customer than to keep an existing one. Marketers will begin shifting their focus to not only gaining new customers, but on developing client relationships.
  • Importance of Understanding Marketing Spend – According to Gartner’s Marketing Technology Survey 2018, only 18 percent of marketers understood what multitouch attribution (MTA) was in 2016. In 2018, this number increased to 52 percent, with respondents noting that they used MTA to measure ad effectiveness. However, MTA is limited to only proving online value. Since marketers are under constant pressure to prove ROI on all channels, marketers will need to adopt unified marketing measurement.
  • More Innovation - There is an interesting dichotomy between established enterprise software companies investing in cloud based solutions versus up and coming start-ups. This uptick in competition will lead to more innovation in marketing. Additionally, with the emergence of IoT and continuing development in AI marketing, marketing technology companies will be able to provide clients with more robust solutions to help marketers speak directly with their audiences and establish ROI.

Marketing Technology Challenges

Implementing, maintaining, and optimizing your organization’s martech is not a simple, streamlined process. Rather, organizations should prepare to overcome a few key challenges before they can fully realize the benefits of marketing technology.

Selecting the Right MarTech Platform

Choosing the right platform is difficult since selecting a platform is more than finding the right technology - it extends into finding the right partner. Integrating a new system is often a challenge, and the process of working with internal and external stakeholders to roll out technology can create unexpected hiccups.

Changing Company Culture

For many organizations, changing the way marketing functions can be a big challenge. Working with colleagues to get them trained on new platforms and workflows provides a hindrance to day-to-day activities. As Peter Drucker said, “culture eats strategy for breakfast.” Unfortunately, changing the company culture to utilize martech can often be a formidable obstacle for companies.

Processing Too Much Data

There’s a lot of data in today’s marketing environment. Ciphering through data to determine what is and isn’t important could be a sizable challenge for your organization. Selecting the right vendor and working together with data scientists to help analyze the vast amounts of data can help steer your marketing department in the right direction.

The Importance of Agility

The core objective of any marketing technology plan is to be agile. An agile methodology promotes a project management process that mixes engineering best practices with business development, and utilizes constant communication and adaptation.

Agility allows marketers to be more flexible, with more frequent and shorter cycles of action. Although being agile is traditionally associated with product development, applying this same mentality to marketing can have tremendous results, especially when rolling out products to your internal team members. 93 percent of CMOs who employ agile strategies cite that it has helped increase their speed to market for ideas, campaigns, and products.

What It Means to Be a Marketing Technologist Today 

Marketing technologists are becoming increasingly important in today’s environment. They use technology to combat issues facing their marketing teams. Good marketing technologists do the following

  • Use data to help their teams draft better campaigns and better creative
  • Analyze software capabilities within the needs of the organization
  • Function as the hybrid of marketing and IT
  • Break out of legacy organizational systems as needed

Investments in Martech will become increasingly important as the consumer landscape evolves. With this in mind, marketing teams must ensure they are building out their martech stacks with solutions that offer ROI to the organization, while minimizing and roadblocks around deployment or onboarding that can lengthen time to value.  

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