Marketing, as a discipline, is defined by conflict. From the attention of the consumer to your share of the internal marketing budget, there is fierce competition at every stage of the cycle. As more new platforms and technologies come online the complexity of planning and the multi-directional pull on each dollar increases.
- Creative teams lament the loss of human insight as they are being stretched to deliver more versions for more channels, limiting their ability to craft great work.
- Media company’s manage relationships with the same platform partners that are directly seducing their clients.
- Brands want effectiveness, but also to diversify their media portfolio to make it more risk-averse… and go to Cannes with Twitter.
The latest and strongest pull on that dollar (or mind) is the Marketing Technology field. Martech is now the single biggest budget allocation inside marketing budgets, at 29 per cent according to Gartner.
CMO’s and CCO’s are increasingly in need of those who speak IT as fluently as marketing; those who believe customer experience and predicting customer’s needs contribute to their brand as much as, well “branding”. Everyone is concerned about missing out on the incredible potential of the next generation of marketing tools, but it’s not easy with Martech’s inherent complexity.
There’s not a clear north star to help you navigate, however by applying some learnings from the mistakes of the past when it comes to marketing departments and agency business models, it’s possible to lay out some solid direction before we even begin the journey.
Too often there are environments where business models prevent progress, integration of departments is seen as a complication and people aren’t clear on the metrics that matter.
Here are some thoughts on steps to Martech success:
Put down your ego and start speaking the same language: Encourage a humble environment where peoples skillsets are heard. Marketing was once about simple clear language. I’ve been to meetings where most of the people in the room are lost in the first 5 minutes because of acronyms, jargon and bullshit. It doesn’t make you smarter it makes everyone dumber
Know going in what a win looks like: Customer centric communications a long game. By clearly articulating short term business goals, you will learn about the technology and a contribute to what seems like a sometimes-mythical future state.
Choose your weapon wisely: Identify what you want to achieve, then choose your Martech platform/provider, not the other way around. There’s a huge variety in cost, complexity and functionality out there, do your due diligence to ensure that you find the right balance for your business, and be sure to keep an eye on future scalability of that given platform. Switching CRMs or DSPs further down the road is a costly and painful process. It’s also not a pleasant conversation to have with your CFO.
Add creativity to tech solution briefs and vice versa: It’s easy to lose sight of the huge impact that “persuasive creativity” has on the success of a campaign. Make it a rule to not present a purely tech solution to a business problem without at least a thought of what It could mean for the customer on a human level. It goes both ways, add Martech solutions to creativity – David Ogilvy famously said “If it doesn’t sell, it isn’t creative” CX and CRM are you best channels to help sell ideas because clients already paying for them.
Drive adoption: You’d think that it would go without saying that if you buy something and nobody uses it, you’ve wasted both money and an opportunity. Yet “We’ve been paying this for years, but nobody uses it… can you come in and train us how to use it?” isn’t uncommon. Start off slowly, create a project around a business challenge, that can consequently demonstrate clear benefits. Manage change, celebrate small win’s, particularly amongst your daily users who may be rusted on to an old system that they prefer to the new one due to their familiarity.
With Marketing technology in the mix, the people, companies and agencies that will succeed are the ones where technical people, creative folk and leaders in performance media collaborate.
Who knows, just maybe the customer might not be an assumed persona slide in the future.
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