Marketing operations - Is your technology foundation solid?
5 min read
Before updating to the newest and trendiest technologies, here's how to ensure you're getting the most out of your existing tech stack.
Everyone knows to stay ahead in the market, investing in technology is crucial. But before looking into the newest and trendiest technologies - are you really making the most out of your existing tech stack?
For those who don’t already know, the tech stack is all the different platforms, services, applications and systems an organisation may be using to run operations. When developed for marketing operations, it is known as your martech stack - short for marketing technology stack. An organisation’s martech stack, regardless of industry may include automation, digital asset management, task assignment, CRM etc.
A Gartner survey found that “…marketing organisations still utilise only 58% of their martech stack’s full breadth of capabilities – a level that has remained flat since 2019". That’s quite a lot of wasted resources.
Why the waste? There could be a number of reasons:
- Systems may not be collaborating well enough across functions
- The range of technology solutions included in the stack are unsuitable
- Poor management of data
Is your system upgradeable?
Accenture published a report that suggested “technology-driven partnerships” could be a solution, as they create growth in today's digital economy. However, it also pointed out that these previous business systems were not built to support these partnerships on a large scale.
As such, it makes sense for legacy systems to be replaced company wide, particularly for marketing departments retaining and attracting new customers. If old legacy systems were not built to support the incoming and new technologies, it also makes sense to invest in systems that can.
What martech set up is needed?
There are two main ways to set up a martech stack, a selection of breed solutions or an integrated system of solutions. A best of breed solution is where the solution is the best or one of the best in its particular niche or category from one particular provider. The martech stack is created by individually identifying what’s needed to create a bespoke system from a range of different providers. Note that the best of everything will likely entail a premium price.
An integrated system of solutions however is where all the solutions come from one provider or very few providers. They may not all be the best in the market, but will do the required tasks and work together, making collaboration and system management easier. There are usually no siloed operations and costs are more likely to be negotiable.
To identify if an existing martech stack is suitable, confirm what would work best for the organisation. The answer will depend on the organisation’s commercial priorities. Do you need all the particular best in the industry solutions i.e. the best digital asset management system in the market? Or would you prefer an overall, well performing integrated system of solutions from one provider?
How do you manage the overall martech stack?
The digitisation of marketing operations and the development of an organisation’s martech stack is obviously not a project for marketing alone. It is a collaborative process between both marketing and technology teams. Depending on the size of the organisation, other teams to collaborate with may include procurement, martech, creative production and campaigns. All these groups will have some contact with your technology tools.
Given the number of teams involved, it is not uncommon for the martech stack itself to include up to or over 100 different solutions. Usually they will be working in their own siloes and can be quite difficult to manage. As such, more and more organisations are now consolidating their tech stacks with the help of foundational platforms. Foundational platforms consolidate the tools into one suite or platform and then coordinate and manage them together as a group. Working with a foundational platform will make life easier both for the marketing teams using the service and the technology teams managing them. The tools within the service can still change as needed, but the foundational platform can remain consistent for far longer.
The need for balance
To ensure a solid foundation for your organisation’s martech stack, look to collaborate, both internally with other relevant departments and externally with technology consultancies and service providers. A Gartner analysis recommends maintaining the balance between integrated foundational platforms and best of breed leading solutions. A bit of competition between best of breed and integrated platforms ensures fair and excellent service for clients. By collaborating with stakeholders, you will ensure securing the best martech stack for all your organisational needs.
Marketing has a crucial function to play in the battle for business. Ensuring marketing operations are innovative and remain at the forefront of digital transformation, ensures the competitive commercial advantages needed to bring success.