The results are in. And they are grim.
A new study from the CMO Council finds that, while 30 percent of the CMOs who manage and integrate technology into their overall marketing strategy are experiencing tangible business results, only three percent of the survey respondents reported that they were doing extremely well at integrating marketing technologies (MarTech) across functions.
The survey compiled results from conversations with 150 senior marketing executives for a report (and subsequent webinar) called “Quantify How Well You Unify.” The 38-page report was designed to discover how well CMOs unify digital systems and the success they are seeing from such unification.
As we all know, true marketing technologists are rarer than unicorns. But 3%?! It is possible CMOs are simply being humble. But more likely, the true potential of marketing technology is still being discovered. How will your marketing team find the gaps, pivot and get to market unscathed?
This study has us asking: How do you become a Marketing Technology ‘Three-Percenter’? How do you become one of those marketers so comfortable in their abilities that they are ready to shout it from the rooftops? Addressing the issues below is a good place to start.
According to CMO Council Executive Director Donovan Neale-May “While 67 percent of survey respondents believe new marketing technologies are essential or very important to overall marketing group performance and effectiveness, they are being held back by technology overload, too many data sources, and lack of strategic application and integration of disparate point solutions and data.”
This is an all-too-common problem in 2014. MarTech thought leader Scott Brinker has made plenty of headlines with his famous graphic (shown below) that shows how truly staggering the landscape of available marketing technologies has become.
Click the image for a closer look.
System & Organizational Silos
Even more daunting than choosing which technologies are right for you is choosing how to integrate these technologies effectively without impacting data integrity, performance and the end user
As any marketer who has tackled an enterprise systems integration will tell you, every software company promises a modern API or some other form of simplified data synchronization. But these platforms often come with gaps and implementation speed bumps that must be considered.
According to Forrester researchers Peter Sheldon and Stephen Powers “Companies need cohesive digital customer experiences, but marketing and eCommerce groups often operate in silos with differing objectives, which leads them to buy and operate independent solutions for brand content and transactions. The end result? A fragmented and poorly integrated digital presence that confuses the customer, is difficult to manage, and, ultimately, leaves revenue on the table.”
Addressing key integration opportunities starts by pinpointing which of your business capabilities can stand on their own, and which can offer more to the customer when integrated. If your business is suffering from Silo Syndrome–marketing, ebusiness and commerce experiences so held back by politics that the customer suffers–recognizing and addressing this problem is the first step.
Business & Technology Alignment
One of the most telling statistics here started out rather encouraging. The CMO Council said 44 percent of the survey respondents reported having a formal marketing technology program in place. And while this is admirable, only 16 percent claimed to have a marketing technology strategy that is aligned to their company’s business strategy. This means that marketing technology is not aligned with core business objectives at 84% of companies surveyed.
It should be noted that the responsibility for alignment does not rest entirely with the marketing organization. Marketing and IT teams–the CMO and CIO–are in the best position to ensure that the technology roadmap supports the vision for evolving business capabilities.
By integrating the technology roadmap into the overall business roadmap, you break down these department-deep divisions and align around a fundamental company objective: increasing revenue by delighting customers at every step of the buying journey.
Marketing Technologists are the New UX Designers
Remember when UX Design was the hottest thing in digital marketing? If CMOs could only create sites that were useful and usable, moving customers seamlessly through a brand story would surely skyrocket sales.
A few short years later, digital marketing is evolving faster than ever. Modern marketers have moved beyond simply offering sites that are useful and usable. With more powerful search, personalized promotional offers and cross-channel authentication, the best digital experiences are focused on driving the right content to the right customer at the right time.
To succeed today, you don’t need a UX Designer. You need a marketing technologist. Industry experts project that, by the end of 2016, 85% of Fortune 500 companies will have a dedicated marketing technologist–either in house or as an external partner–to manage the technology roadmap, keep integration projects on time and on budget, and optimize these various systems to maximize return on investment.
According to the CMO Council’s findings, CMOs who have successfully integrated their technologies are achieving measurable improvements in personalizing customer interactions and delivering better customer experiences across all digital channels. Through technologically driven user experience improvements–things like single-sign-on, content personalization, more intuitive site search and more–CMOs who are good at integrating marketing technologies are seeing better business upside (more visitors, customer acquisitions, conversions, transactions, retention, upsell/cross-sell, repeat purchase, affinity, etc.).
Not only are the best companies enjoying positive responses from customers, they are extending the value of their marketing technologies beyond the marketing team. The most successful companies have a comprehensive marketing technology strategy and are taking steps to better deploy, manage and integrate their technologies, taking capabilities further than ever before.
So you want to be one of the 3%? Here are a few ways to get started:
- Are IT and Marketing teams communicating and working together? Are their goals and objectives aligned? If not, there is lot of evidence out there that innovation with be stifled and competitive edge will suffer. No senior executive wants to hear that message. Get their support and your path to alignment will be an easier one.
- For many business and marketing teams, agility and time to market are of critical importance. What aspects of your technology stack and processes are causing delays? Identify these and seek the advice of others who have solved those same challenges. Quantify the impact in real dollars, lost customers and missed opportunities.
- Consider in advance how you will quickly select very specific marketing technologies and tools that may not be part of an already approved enterprise architecture. CMOs and CIOs should seek to identify certain standards and best practices that will be adhered to for any marketing technology selection. Standards for security, performance, interoperability, and other key IT objectives should be used as the guiderails for marketing teams. In turn, as long as they adhere to those standards, IT teams should give the marketing organization license to define their technology destiny, or at least shape it.
For more information on how some of America’s most successful companies are part of the MarTech 3%, check out our latest webinar, The Seven Principles of Unified Content & Commerce today!