Last night, I was invited to share my thoughts on the MarTech technical stack and discuss if the industry in general is spinning out of control.
The overview of the session hosted by Sam Anderson (The Drum Network Editor) was as follows:
"Technology giveth and technology taketh away. It can sometimes seem that each technological development brings with it a price tag: new software to use, support contracts to sign, and skillsets to develop. Nowhere is that truer than the MarTech space, with top practitioners bemoaning an endless proliferation of tools, resulting in a list of options to make even the most tech-savvy leader blush. For our first leadership debate of the season, we want to discuss whether the industry has a tech stack problem and, if so, what we can do about it."
When I read that brief, my mind was clear: Marketers' tech stacks are definitely out of control!
Marketers are falling prey to 'shiny object syndrome' and purchasing whatever is recommended by Gartner or their peers to minimise their risks and exposure. This approach means marketers often lack a proper understanding of the journey of their data end-to-end and how it actually works within the business; frequently mixing up CRM, ERP (Enterprise resource planning software that manages day-to-day business activities like accounting and project management) and Marketing Automation or personalisation functionalities.
Instead, marketers should take a strategic approach to their tech stack. Running proper due diligence on compliance, accessibility, additional (rather than duplicate!) functionality and technical integration with their existing digital estate, to ensure that what they use is relevant and can work in practice.
Budgets for new tech integration are never realistic, so we need to be building proof of concepts before signing expensive, multi-year deals with no get out...
For this debate, I was joined by fellow leaders Courtney Trudeau (Vice President, Merkle), Amar Vyas (Chief Data & Technology Officer, M&C Saatchi), Morag Lamond (Head of Technology Consultancy, Indicia Worldwide) and Dr. Holger Noesekabel (CTO , TD Reply) and we all shared similar opinions about the situation:
- Technology in MarTech should be an enabler based on sound processes. In most cases, organisations are trying to "plug the holes" in broken processes which leads to more technical debt;
- Organisations need to focus on understanding their real needs and auditing the human impact of any change;
- Organisations need to improve communication between IT and Marketing teams to ensure compliance and consistency of their digital estate.
It was a very interesting event and I hope to do more of those in the near future!