A Streamlined Martech Stack is Critical to Digital Success
To deliver a modern customer experience, only a joint Marketing & IT strategy will suffice.
Under the often-used moniker of Digital Transformation, two departments that traditionally had very little strategic overlap — Marketing & IT — worked hand in hand.
This wasn’t always the smoothest of match-makings. Both functions have very different, sometimes conflicting objectives — but they made it work, driving some much-needed change across the enterprise space.
Now that the honeymoon’s over, it turns out the differences aren’t irreconcilable. There’s industry-wide recognition that in order to do what’s best for the kids (i.e. the Tech Stack) IT & Marketing need to maintain their strategic relationship.
Ok, That’s enough of that metaphor. Hopefully, it got the point across; IT & Marketing have a vested interest in working together to ensure their Tech Stack is well suited for the evolving challenges of digital.
Despite their divergent business objectives, the pitfalls Marketing & IT face are actually quite similar.
IT, generally speaking, wants to invest in developing their own tools. This can save money but costs precious time, as well as creating a somewhat opaque development skill set that the less technical departments can view as inaccessible. Marketing likes to buy new tools to circumvent this time investment, but this can create a Frankenstein-Esque technical headache for IT, who would rather not devote resources towards understanding such a framework, especially when it’s another department that keeps moving the goalpost.
The answer to both of these issues is to take stock of the core requirements of the business from both an IT & Marketing perspective.
In this article, we’re going to take a look at what this process might look like from the Marketer’s point of view, with an informed understanding as to the requirements of IT.
When implementing a Martech stack, there are two things you need to get right as a baseline — content, and data.
Their relationship is symbiotic; through optimization and iteration, the data generated across your stack should inform your content strategy. This data-driven content should then, in turn, produce more valuable user insights than traditional on-page metrics or click-through rates.
It’ll come as no surprise then, that this is where things can start to go off the rails for marketing.
Content requirements can be comprehensive; generally speaking, gone are the days where all you need is basic editor capability. Omni-channel localized delivery, no-code integrations, tracked user events — these features are all becoming table-stake.
Not all solutions can deliver on every front. Thus, the temptation is to keep buying new tools to handle each aspect individually. Soon enough, you’ll have content silos across all lines of business. It can become a messy, technical challenge to extract value and make this content widely accessible.
This issue then snowballs into your data strategy. Having too many applications generating diverse data makes trying to wrangle a segmented view of your users, informed by their actions & interests, extremely difficult.
The challenges here are mirrored for IT, but from a more technical perspective. IT doesn’t necessarily have the skills to develop on every new flavor-of-the-month martech tool. They also don’t want to be responsible for having to train entire teams on the nuances of using complex and feature-saturated software. When it comes to data, they want to be the data model masters, building and controlling the connections between these applications, their data lakes, and reporting tools — as well as developing their own in-house software when necessary. They should be able to trust that Marketing/Sales/etc. have a tool that’s so easy to use, IT won’t have to step in and hold their hand.
So to prevent these issues, Marketing & IT need to take the time to evaluate what they each expect from the martech stack and communicate these needs effectively. Expectations can change, which means platform flexibility also needs to be taken into account so that any new requirements don’t mandate buying a new tool. If a new tool is the only option, then it has to have an open API or data structure so that fitting it into the existing architecture is as close to seamless as possible.
Core Flexibility, a Streamlined Ecosystem
Don’t get me wrong — this doesn’t mean you need to find a jack-of-all-trades. Your CRM, Marketing Automation, etc. all still have their place. At the heart of your Martech stack, though, should be a platform with the technical flexibility to deliver content omni-channel, enriched by workflow from your wider application ecosystem. Ideally, it should also maintain easy-access, consistent user profiles so that data isn’t just a strategic resource, but also an operational tool for the entire business.
So what does this mean for IT & Marketing?
It should make for a long-lasting and happy marriage. One where Marketing gets to benefit from all the latest feature trends and IT gets to enjoy developing them.
Learn more about the happy couple in our on-demand webinar, "The New Corporate Power Couple: CMOs + CIOs".
Author : Aston Whiteling
Recovering Sales Engineer turned Product Marketing Manager. Trying to be more cynical about being cynical.