We have all been forced to live our lives over digital platforms for the past 12 months, and as a result, the way that businesses interact with consumers has drastically shifted.
Digital platforms were already a vital medium for businesses to market to consumers, but the digital acceleration of the past year has placed them firmly front and center of any marketing strategy.
And with the rising importance of digital platforms has come the rise of marketing technology, or MarTech. MarTech has become a key differentiator in the success of marketing campaigns by offering marketers a new level of data-driven insight and understanding into their target audience. As a result, these versatile technologies are arguably usurping creatives as the essential ingredient for marketing success.
But this technological realignment brings challenges. New tools are being deployed, and new skills are needed to operate them. The role and proposition of the marketing function is being essentially redefined.
So as the use of MarTech becomes universal, what are the key trends and challenges emerging for businesses?
The make-up of marketing teams is changing
Digitization is now firmly at the top of any marketing team’s agenda, and all businesses are quickly learning which channels and digital strategies work best for them. But problems arise when teams look to support digitization with the rapid roll-out of complex MarTech solutions, without consideration of the new skillsets required.
This is leading to a disconnect between the deployment of new technologies and those that are operating them. Data underpins these tools and those in control need to have a strong understanding of how to read and understand the data they are putting in and getting out.
The fabric of marketing teams is therefore quickly changing to support this new reality. There has been an increase in organizations taking digital services in-house completely in order to better align with internal data specialists, while agencies are rapidly trying to incorporate analytics and data professionals to underpin creative output.
This is by no means an easy process, and we have seen in-house teams struggle to secure the right talent and therefore continue to rely on the external expertise of an agency. Similarly, agencies cannot make everyone a digital expert overnight. There’s been a number of high profile cases where advertisers have rushed to in-house digital solutions, before quickly reverting back to an agency solution after realising the limits of its own people, tools, and capacity. We’re seeing a hybrid model emerge, a balance of in-housing and maintaining an element of external expertise and capability
MarTech decision making
Marketing is traditionally a creative endeavor, but attribution and analytics are now front of mind for business leaders.
MarTech provides an opportunity to create clear measures for marketing, align Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) across the business, and ensure that all teams are pulling in the same direction. But the overwhelming choice of MarTech tools means that marketing teams are often implementing tools without fully assessing which are best suited to their organizational needs.
Prior to buying and rolling out expensive Martech, businesses need to align and consult with teams like data, consumer insight, IT, procurement and sales to ensure that they are choosing the right solution for their business from a strategic and operational perspective.
MarTech is providing business leaders with the elusive silver bullet of marketing measurement and allowing them to bring marketing in line with wider strategic aims. But it is a diverse area of some 7000+ suppliers, and deploying the correct technology is key.
MarTech should not be used for its own sake, and without proper oversight, new tools are purchased and implemented and not properly used.
Many agencies and in-house marketers are rolling out a range of different MarTech tools to manage their digital campaigns and data flows when one tool could effectively do the job. Marketing teams therefore need to ensure that when a tool is deployed, those who will be using it are effectively trained and using it to its full potential.
Optimization of these tools similarly will involve the alignment of marketing with wider teams to ensure that data is being utilized to its full effect. Data pulled from MarTech tools can be used to underpin the success of future marketing campaigns as well as drive optimization in areas like sales and business development.
MarTech offers the ability to redefine the core of the marketing proposition and drive more value for both marketing teams and the wider business. Procurement teams will play an increasingly central role here in ensuring that MarTech tools are properly aligned to business objectives and to the teams that can gain most value from them.
As businesses look to drive measurable return on investment in marketing, the data gleaned from MarTech will become a central measure of marketing success.
While it is has the potential to allow businesses to align marketing teams with the wider strategic aims of the business, the huge array of complex options and tools make MarTech a navigational minefield. Businesses must ensure they are drawing on the full breadth of skills and expertise from across the organization to ensure that they are utilizing MarTech to its full effect.
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