The marketing world has undergone a dramatic shift: digital now touches nearly every customer interaction. Marketing has become a technology-powered discipline, with the two areas so interwoven that chief marketing officers are projected to spend more on technology than chief information officers by 2017.
The rise of digital has led to the emergence and explosion of marketing technology (MarTech) applications and platforms. Marketers can now collect and analyze large and disparate volumes of data—and make their insights actionable with a degree of precision just years ago was only a dream. This gives more power to the CMO, who constantly aims to address the basic question of marketing: how to engage and acquire customers for the long term by making engagement and acquisition more attainable and measurable.
The best way to do this? Assemble and integrate a collection of complementary marketing applications – commonly referred to as a MarTech stack.
MarTech To The CMO—“We’re Here To Help”
There are so many facets in marketing that engagement and measurement can best be accomplished by tapping into data from a multitude of different channels. Think of some of the latest developments, from social listening to video engagement to chat analysis, which produce a treasure chest of customer and prospect data that, when combined, offer insights far greater than a single application could offer.
As the channels continue to multiply, there is no shortage of MarTech companies offering the latest acquisition, engagement, retention and measurement tools. In fact, the number of MarTech companies has doubled in the last year to the point where there now are over 2,000 firms vying for the attention of CMOs.
Many marketers are still in the early stages of understanding the value that an extensive marketing stack can deliver. Others are leveraging the value that a rich set of complementary solutions can yield when integrated and working together.
Companies including Citrix, New Relic, and Computer Associates are developing valuable marketing stacks with dozens of applications that share data with one another. But they are in the minority—just 9% of marketers have a complete, fully utilized MarTech stack, according to a study from Ascend2.
The pace of adoption is bound to accelerate for the simple reason that marketers who harness the value of a well-considered marketing stack will out-perform their rivals and capture market share. Leading marketers will make sense of the vast amounts of data they acquire and figure out how to act on that information. A good MarTech stack can help you get closer to prospects and customers by obtaining information about what they are doing in the digital and offline worlds.
For example, it is now possible to seamlessly combine information from a customer or prospect who completes a variety of online and offline actions - visits your website to learn about a new product, watches an online video, attends your annual event and the sessions related to their interests, tweets about their experience, and contacts your call center.
This information coupled with an engagement automation platform will improve personalization, relevance, and timeliness leading to improved engagement, conversions, and ROI.
Come together, right now
It is imperative to develop a technology ecosystem that supports your company objectives—be they acquiring new business, retaining existing customers, or increasing your average revenue per customer.
There are a lot of technology applications that can be implemented throughout the customer lifecycle to drive outcomes you desire (check out a fine piece by ChiefMartec.com CEO Scott Brinker on the MarTech landscape).
Interestingly, the companies that are leading the investment in, and deriving results from, deep marketing stacks most often don’t come from the ranks of the Fortune 1000. Instead, it’s often emerging, rapidly growing businesses that are leveraging the available toolsets to build broad marketing stacks, sometimes involving more than 20 applications. And they are seeing the benefits. In a recent interview Bill Macaitis, CMO of Slack, emphasized the importance the right technology stack to create and deliver a great customer experience.
Today’s CMOs need people within marketing who can think creatively about how to use software and data-science to improve results. People who are knowledgeable about both software and data increasingly have opportunities in marketing. In fact, in an “Ask The CMO” article, Barbara Messing, CMO at TripAdvisor, admits that very few of her acquisition team members come from a traditional marketing background; instead she has many more data scientists.
A recent HBR study sponsored by Marketo described marketing technology as essential to creating agile and fluid structures and driving customer engagement. That’s because agile and fluid organizations are highly innovative. These teams understand that they can gain better insights into the unique relationships and connections with their customers and prospects by embracing technology.
It boils down to this: The better your marketing technology stack, the more it will help you know how best to acquire, engage, and satisfy your customer.