Harnessing the martech advantage

By Lisa Loftis, SAS Best Practices

There is no question that technology in the marketing space is growing exponentially. 

When Scott Brinker first coined Martec’s Law three years ago, the number of vendors included in his annual Marketing Technology Landscape Supergraphic had grown from 350 to 1,000. Today, the supergraphic contains 3,874 vendors, more than double the number from last year. The technologies included in the supergraphic fall into six distinct categories and cover a broad spectrum of capabilities: 

Martec’s Law: technology changes exponentially (fast) yet organizations change logarithmically (slow) and the gap is widening.
Scott Brinker, Chiefmartec.com
  • Advertising and promotion – video, social media, print and content advertising, as well as PR.
  • Content and experience – marketing automation and optimization, web experience management, mobile apps, SEO and email marketing.
  • Social and relationships – CRM, social media monitoring, loyalty, referral and customer experience.
  • Commerce and sales – proximity marketing, sales automation, ecommerce and shopping cart software.
  • Data – predictive analytics, mobile and web analytics, marketing performance, data management, dashboards and data visualization, and business intelligence.
  • Management – collaboration, workflow, project management and marketing resource management.

Martech's pace shows little sign of slowing down  

A recent study of the marketing technology landscape by Walker Sands Communications found that two-thirds of marketers (70%) expect their marketing technology budget to increase next year.

These are truly eye-popping statistics, and they highlight just how important technology has become to the modern marketer. Unfortunately, Walker Sands also found that more than half of marketers echo the sentiment behind Martec’s Law in that they feel the martech industry is changing faster than their companies can keep up. Even worse, only 3% of marketers feel they are getting full value from their marketing tools today.

Three things you can do to get more martech value

The good news is that there are several steps that marketers can take to reverse this trend and ensure that technology spending generates true value.

Ramp up marketing’s tech savvy

As technology budgets and decisions shift from the CIO to the CMO, successful marketers will increasingly need a comprehensive understanding of marketing technology coupled with hands-on experience in implementing these. In a report on the changing marketing technology landscape, a survey found that more than 75% of marketing survey responders ranked understanding marketing technology as a critically important skill and more than 60% selected data literacy as well. To help manage the additional technology oriented responsibilities, organizations are hiring dedicated resources within marketing to develop the technology plan, manage the martech stack, and improve utilization of existing capabilities. The survey also found that more than half of US marketing organizations have a marketing technology officer in place and of those that do not, more than 40% plan to hire a technologist in the marketing department within the next year.    

Emphasize strategic viewpoints

Scott Brinker explains that managing Martec’s Law requires organizations to become much more strategic about their marketing technologies. Because success could well come down to determining which technology changes to embrace and which to ignore, developing a marketing technology strategy is a must. Things to consider in this plan include cloud computing or on-site solutions, best-of-breed versus single enterprise platform solutions, and ensuring alignment of martech tools with marketing objectives.

Cloud solutions are becoming increasingly popular because they provide implementation agility, access to frequent feature updates, and significantly better integration options than when they first emerged. The sheer proliferation of tools along with improved integration also contributes to a best-of-breed leaning for many CMOs. Walker Sands found that 48% of marketers are integrating solutions rather than relying on single-suite tools.

Aligning martech to company strategy requires that marketers clarify their objectives, assess current capabilities (realized and unrealized), and build a technology strategy around filling gaps. For example, one company found that one of the biggest challenges for marketers in the next few years will be optimizing cross-channel communications. Addressing this particular challenge from a martech perspective will require contact optimization capabilities, a marketing automation tool to handle the high volume of leads generated in optimized communications, and the ability for these tools to communicate on a real-time basis with a variety of channels including digital and brick and mortar.      

Modernize customer profiles

Understanding the customer is the central tenant in marketing today; so much so that managing social media activity and understanding customer relationships warrants an entire category of capabilities in the current Marketing Technology Supergraphic. The data in a modern customer profile far exceeds the simple product ownership and usage information housed in customer information files of the past. Marketers today are assembling sophisticated customer decision hubs that include social and sentiment data and relationships, mobile profiles with communication preferences, devices, and mobile app usage patterns, anonymous and logged-in web activity data, feedback and listening data, and beacon and proximity data.

Managing Martec’s Law and wading through the myriad of available technologies may seem daunting at first but it is critical, as we don’t see the landscape simplifying any time soon.

Lisa Loftis

Lisa Loftis is a Thought Leader in the Customer Advisory Services team in SAS Best Practices. She was co-author of the book, Building the Customer Centric Enterprise (Wiley). She can be reached at:

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