MarTech and Other Productive Distractions

Well, I’m glad we’ve at least put a name to it.

“MarTech,” a neat mashup of marketing and technology, is the term people are now using to signify the technology stack related to your marketing efforts. It’s jargonized, sure, but it’s also probably overdue, seeing that MarTech has become a reliable and predictable span of about 30% of the marketing budget according to some reports.

Before the phrase MarTech hit the vernacular, the dividing line was simply the haves and the have-nots: those who used advanced technology and those who struggled to keep up without it.

But now the world has changed to a place where it’s a matter of what stack you use – not simply if you use a stack at all. With that in mind, the bigger problem is how we’re framing Martech and its role in our operations. To that, I have a few points I’d like to establish in the conversation going forward.

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Technology is a Necessity

I don’t think technology in marketing is an optional item any longer. Every organization must embrace some level of marketing technology or fall so critically behind as to make utter failure inevitable. There are still many organizations that don’t embrace marketing technology (passing on even tools as standard as a CRM), yet still somehow struggle through – although they do it gasping for relevance.

But here is the common problem with technology: it has something of a placebo effect on our actual operations. Another way of saying this is that sometimes people purchase or implement a technology thinking that it will solve their problems. They simply “check the box” on having a solution in place.

This is futile.

I have not seen or used any piece of marketing technology that actually increases the effectiveness of marketing.

Effectiveness of marketing is the realm of actual marketing. The strategy, the content, the design, the approach, the positioning – these are the components that make marketing effective. Marketing technology allows effective marketing to be distributed more efficiently. Using a nail gun doesn’t build a better house, it just does it faster.

Disparate Systems Equal Disparate Results

Venturing into MarTech necessitates that we extend the conversation further into the integration of marketing technology and information technology in general. Here’s the bottom line: you can no longer have a CRM and a marketing tech stack that are separate.

This seems like a no brainer, but I’m still surprised by how many CRM and sales stacks are disconnected from the marketing stacks. You’ve only got to scratch the surface of a very shallow lake to understand the problems with an unintegrated approach.

The entire premise behind so much of the MarTech stack is the mobilization of customer data in micro/macro campaign styles: they create enhanced individualization and targeting on the micro level, yet enable controls and configuration on the macro level.

Without bringing customer data into an integrated picture, you also withhold data from other interested parties like the sales department – who rely on up-to-date prospect information. If marketing is working on a different CRM than the sales team, your company’s digging a tunnel from both ends without communicating, hoping to meet in the middle.

MarTech Is Table Stakes to Lead Generation

My last point is, more or less, a reframing of my first: if you want your marketing to drive leads, MarTech is table stakes.

With the explosion of MarTech options in the current B2B marketing space, campaign styles have progressed to new levels of individualization (see: ABM campaigns) that are truly raising the odds for the companies that embrace the technology. It’s another way of saying that you need to get in the game or get crushed. Companies are looking to outspend, outmaneuver, and outgun the competition in any way possible, and MarTech is opening up a whole new gap in the competitive landscape.

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In less than one day, your competitor who’s embracing the latest tech can create a very targeted prospect list with data that’s 99% accurate, then create an email and cold call sequence that orchestrates 15 different sales team members. They can integrate online and offline marketing tactics with enhanced targeting to improve service and response time to the point that each customer will feel like they’re the #1 account on the list.

The point is, the tide is moving fast. If you don’t catch it now, it’ll be gone.

Last word on MarTech

So, hopefully this opens up some of the ideas around MarTech, and helps you to see where you might be in the climate so that you can best adjust your strategy. It’s a fast-moving, high-stakes game.

And you need to be playing it, or you’ll lose the chance of being a contender altogether.

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