Bring Harmony to Your Martech Stack with Technology Alignment
The world of marketing technology has changed immeasurably over the past few years, and if your company has been keeping up, you've likely added many new components, from central content management systems (CMS) to automation tools, data analytics, and more.
Keeping up with technology releases: Where's the value?
Buying best-in-class offerings for each of these functions has likely left your company with a varied marketing technology stack. According to Scott Brinker's Marketing Technology Landscape, you can choose from over 7,040 solutions!
This complex approach to developing an elite marketing technology (martech) stack can be frustrating. While each individual solution that you select may be best-in-class with a powerful feature set, there's a catch: None of these tools are talking to one another. Instead of a symbiotic and optimized martech stack, you end up receiving a cacophony of information that requires too much time and effort from your marketing team.
Best-in-class tools are only part of the process of building your ideal technology stack, since each piece of technology typically optimizes one aspect of the customer experience. You need to focus on integration between your tools so that you can combine those aspects and create a holistic portrait of your customers. That's where the real value of cutting-edge marketing technology truly resides.
How complex is the average martech stack?
If your marketing technology deployments are extremely varied and disconnected, you're not alone. According to a recent survey of marketing professionals from brands, agencies, and publishers, the average martech stack is comprised of technologies from 28 different vendors. With varied technology environments seen as the rule rather than the exception, it's worth seeking harmony between the components of your existing martech stack.
At a surface level, the most obvious solution to a piecemeal stack is vendor consolidation, where you would purchase all of your software needs from a single company. However, for the most part, marketers indicate that they are not able to commit to such a strategy. In fact, 70% of companies expect to be using software from more technology vendors three years from now, and see martech consolidation as a "pipe dream."
Your own technology implementation processes have likely followed the average path of most other marketing technology buyers: While it might seem advantageous to purchase multiple tools from a single vendor, performance still comes first. Your organization's search for the best possible marketing technology products, at the best prices, is likely driving you away from consolidation and toward a patchwork of technologies.
Martech stacks that consist of multiple vendors (even amounting to the double-digits) are likely here to stay, at least for the immediate future. Therefore, it's time to consider how you can begin to optimize these tools so that they can work together in harmony. The answer comes from better technology alignment. Since the diverse collection of industry-leading technologies within your stack can share data with one another, you simply need to figure out how to integrate and align these tools to form a harmonized stack.
How does better technology alignment come about?
Technology alignment doesn't just happen. Industry experts are needed to see and develop points of integration that do not yet exist between your applications - but could. First, it's important to discover the current status and health of your marketing technology stack, so that you can determine: Which applications are truly best-in-class, and which could use an upgrade? Which parts of the martech stack are delivering optimal value, and which need more connections?
Next, it's time to develop backend connections between the disparate systems and tools that your company has purchased, in order for data to be shared across platforms. Brinker's Marketing Technology Landscape splits marketing technology up into categories such as Advertising & Promotion, Commerce & Sales, Data, and more. To create a holistic view of your customers, the products in each of these groupings should be able to connect and share data with one another, without requiring hands-on effort by your personnel.
The difference between automation and manual processes can be stark. However, too much manual entry of data becomes time-consuming for your team, and introduces the risk of outdated information and human error. With the help of an expert technology consulting partner, you can ensure that your marketing technology platforms share data with one another, which will allow you to deliver more targeted and relevant messaging to your customers and potentially increase conversion rates.
The many best-in-class technology solutions within your marketing technology stack are laden with potential. Sometimes, all it takes to start delivering on the potential of your martech stack is a little connectivity. This newfound harmony between CMS, CRM, marketing automation platforms, and more can prevent your technology systems from operating independently from each other and instead bring them together as a unified system -- one that delivers the ROI you've been expecting.