This article was updated 16th December 2020.
While CMOs have faced budget cuts as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, spending in marketing technology and digital has actually increased in 2020, according to a survey by Gartner. This investment in technology shows how the marketing team is still at the heart of business innovation and that the world of MarTech has grown to encompass content, digital, social, video, ecommerce, loyalty, data and analytics.
What does this mean for marketers? All this new technology is creating a skills gap where the traditional disciplines such as branding, communications, and creativity are no longer directly relatable to the coming age of data-driven marketing infrastructure.
Here are our 4 must have skills for getting to grips with MarTech…
Adtech vs. MarTech – Knowing the Difference
With so many buzzwords and acronyms flying around, it’s hard to keep track of all the definitions that you need to know in MarTech. A good system for making sense of this is to split technologies into two categories.
According to Research Vice President Jake Sorofman, of Gartner:
Ad tech targets anonymous audiences, while marketing tech generally targets known customers.
AdTech is about display ads, programmatic and retargeting. This is about creating and serving advertising to potential customers digitally. AdTech solutions include:
- Data Management Platforms (DMPs) that allow you to store first party cookie data, and inject this into…
- Demand Side Platforms (DSPs) which are solutions that allow you to select targeting criteria based on demographics, browser, device, and cookie data, and use this to tap into…
- Ad Exchanges & Ad Servers which will let you serve display and video adverts digitally across relevant websites, using Real Time Bidding (RTB) to get you the best value possible.
This AdTech Stack is part of a growing infrastructure of digital advertising. In fact, the Luma Partners have attempted to map these emerging suppliers with their lumascapes.
Source: Luma Partners on Slideshare
MarTech on the other hand is often about content delivery and customer experience. An example MarTech Stack would consist of:
- A CRM solution, that stores customer contact information (data) and purchase history against them, usually geared towards empowering your sales team. They can range from simple database software to complex bespoke systems developed for the individual goals of that business. Popular products include Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics, and Zoho.
- A Marketing Cloud, or other form of Marketing Automation Software. This software (which often integrates with you CRM system) is used to perform marketing tasks repeatedly. There is a lot of variation in features, bells and whistles, but many consist of placing email messages into a drip-feeding sequence, using content or offers to nurture prospects. Examples include Hubspot, IBM Marketing Cloud, Oracle Marketing Cloud.
- An Analytics package, such as Google Analytics or KissMetrics, will allow you to measure the visitors to your website, and to a degree, your marketing ROI.
- Any number of plugins, software APIs, and integrations, each specialised to help with a particular marketing challenge.
Deciphering the Data
Understanding and handling data is core to marketing technology. But the sheer volume of data that is now available is proving to be a challenge, as identified by Caroline Kimber, data strategy director at Stack;
There’s an enormous amount of data and how not to be overwhelmed by it is an issue. A lot of what we focus on is ‘how does it help solve the business objectives and how exactly can the data be utilised?
Managing complex datasets from different sources can often mean that data doesn’t align seamlessly. In order to decipher the data, you will need to be able to reduce its complexity. This can be done through a data integration plan where data complexity is managed and streamlined in order to feed data into a single system where it can be analysed.
Integrating your data siloes in such a way allows a more comprehensive and unified data analysis which is much more valuable for informing future marketing decisions.
Your marketing tech stack is a complex combination of systems that you need to ensure are working in harmony with each other. At the beginning of this digital revolution, software companies created single suites capable of providing a one solution answer for marketers.
The boom in technological advancements since has resulted in fragmentation, innovation and differentiation which has made this one-suite approach almost impossible to execute. Which means marketers must now adopt a different approach to integrated MarTech.
In order to optimise your MarTech stack and ensure that all components are working together correctly, it’s important to check for overlap so you’re not overspending;
- Do all of your applications serve a specific purpose?
- Do any of you applications have the capacity to perform the same job as another application?
- Do any of your application replicate tasks carried out by another application?
With so many platforms in use, successful integration is vital to accurate data. In order to achieve this, APIs make the connection between the programmes and allow them to freely interact with each other, passing data from one to the next.
For your MarTech to work successfully, your data collection platforms need to integrate with the platform you will use to interpret this data, and so you will need to use APIs to allow you to do this. This excellent guide from ProgrammableWeb.com has the ultimate 6-part guide on API 101 to help get you started.
Belief in the basics
MarTech is a means to an end, not an end in itself. Therefore, it is a tool to be utilised within your current campaigns and not a magic solution to all your problems. No matter how well you can target an advert or capture information on your customers – you won’t generate revenue or loyalty if you don’t say the right things or fulfil expectations.
Improving your targeting and using analytics to provide guidance for future campaigns are just two examples of how MarTech can be used to engage with your current and future customers.
At the end of the day, all the fancy software in the world isn’t going to help you create what really matters; campaigns that speak to the hearts of your customers, and so you need to know how to combine your more traditional marketing skills with the influence of MarTech.