For today’s marketer, technology touches everything we do, from the CRMs that house our client data to the design software that powers our most daring creative. In fact, the martech-enabled ways in which we create more personalized and meaningful connections with our customers have moved from being experimental to foundational as the tool landscape grows and the tactics become established. If you think about it, the separation between the tech and the tactics has shrunk to the point where there might be no separation at all. You might even say martech is marketing.
That’s exactly what we’re saying, and we’ve even made “Martech is Marketing” the tagline for our MarTech conference series.
Over the past decade, marketers have incorporated marketing technology so much that it is our second nature. While every organization is different, martech is instrumental in how marketing operates. From dynamic digital executions to managing traditional campaigns, martech is at the center of everything in marketing.
We develop strategy around our tools
Marketers use technology that is just as critical as the branding assets and content. Many teams invest in technologies to support their own unique use cases and requirements. Once they start using it, marketers tend to discover additional use cases, particularly as new features are rolled out by vendors.
Marketing teams recruit specialists with platform-specific experience to ensure compatibility with preferred martech. It’s not uncommon to see jobs that require that applicants have at least a few years of experience working in a particular software environment. Many require certifications.
According to MarTech Today’s 2019 Marketing Technology and Operations Salary Survey, 34% of respondents indicated that, of the most vital marketing capabilities supporting the delivery of marketing strategies over the next 18 months, marketing technology ranked second only to marketing and customer analytics. The martech we use may be the most critical component to how we develop strategies for cross-channel marketing campaigns; we use martech to determine strategy, to share and compile content, to execute the content and finally, analyze the results to inform future campaigns.
Other departments are also using software that integrates with martech; sales teams, for example, can use CRM software and call analytics among other tools that integrate with marketing technology to provide data-driven insights. It’s not just the marketing team that needs to be aligned with the technology — other teams’ strategies are built around it too.
Martech supports online and offline execution
When many people hear martech, they might think of strictly digital execution — social, email, paid search — and not relate it to their brands’ offline marketing execution. Marketing automation software is just one example of martech that incorporates offline touchpoints — like a direct mail campaign — into a bigger strategic campaign. Multitouchpoint attribution solutions are available for marketers looking to attribute brick and mortar foot traffic and sales to digital ads and campaigns. While consumers adopt the digital-first mindset, so does all of our marketing.
New solutions for tracking metrics like call analytics bring the traditionally offline touchpoints into the online view by integrating call data with customer data to give sales and marketing better insight into their customers.
Approval processes for marketing assets — online and offline — often take place using project management systems made for marketers. Brands that work with agencies use martech to share marketing assets, manage campaigns and collaborate on strategy; martech is ingrained in the end-to-end marketing process.
The increasing opportunities to execute cohesive offline and online campaigns, better visibility into our efforts and the ability to more easily analyze data from both channels actually releases us from being limited to thinking of our campaigns as digital vs. traditional and realize our efforts are all part of marketing.
Marketing silos are unnecessary
When it comes down to it, those of us using martech (digital or marketing ops) and marketing are all the same team — why treat the relationship any differently? According to MarTech Today’s 2019 Marketing Technology and Operations Salary, 67.4% of marketing technology management roles report into the marketing department.
The survey also indicates that 15% of respondent represent these roles as part of a service provider or agency.
Marketing and IT share ownership of technology
Not long ago, IT took primary ownership of software or technology implementations. According to Gartner, however, in 2017 CMOs officially surpassed CIOs as the leader in investing in software. Now, IT, marketing and digital operations share ownership of these systems, with marketing or digital as the primary users.
Teams involved in buying martech need to ensure that the technology can support their use cases. IT needs to ensure the technology meets specific corporate security requirements. Marketing needs to be sure the tools can actually execute the ways they need them to. Stakeholders from all of these teams need to be involved in the purchase process.
From beta testing to outlining supporting use cases to running internal pilot programs to drive adoption, marketing is deeply involved in the end-to-end process when it comes to technology.
CMOs continue to invest in martech
CMOs are not only buying more tech than CIOs, but they are also spending more on martech than labor. According to Gartner’s 2018-19 CMO Spend Survey, last year alone, nearly one-third (29%) of CMO’s budgets were allocated to martech, an increase of 7% from 2018. Labor comes in second at 24% — a 5% decrease from the previous year.
Martech is marketing, but maturity isn’t universal
Organizations will experience different levels of martech maturity as their work and their businesses become more digital depending on factors like industry, team structure and size. On one end of the scale, we have organizations that rely on a few tools and consultants for their marketing, and on the other are digital-first organizations fully invested in martech.
Agile startups are often quick to adopt martech, as many take a digital-first approach. Some larger organizations may be slower to adopt internally and depend on external consultants for portion of their martech implementation and execution. However, these brands still rely on martech for the majority of their customer-facing communications.
Martech is the tools — and the skills
In a blog post describing his take on organizational martech maturity, MarTech conference chair and HubSpot vice president of platform Scott Brinker noted that while strategy is important, marketers need martech for execution. “Strategy alone isn’t enough. You’ve got to be able to execute on it,” he said. “And martech has become integral to marketing execution. That’s what ‘martech is marketing’ really gets at. And martech isn’t just the tools. It’s also the skills to wield them effectively.”
Whether you’re a specialist who is part of an enterprise marketing team, or proudly operating as a department of one, martech is marketing — we cannot do our jobs without it, and it’s not going anywhere.
Want to learn more? I’ll be hosting a discussion with Scott Brinker on the topic on August 15 with our webinar: Martech is Marketing: A Live Q&A with Scott Brinker. We’d love to see you there.