Holistic MarTech – Maximize the Value

When I dive into discussions about MarTech, I often find the spotlight on the technology and the ever-evolving landscape it brings. It’s no surprise, given the vast array of tools available, that many think MarTech is all about technology. Now, that wouldn’t be an issue if companies were consistently achieving remarkable success with MarTech, but unfortunately, that’s not always the case. Despite its immense potential, extracting real value seems to be the challenge. How to reach the value is about addressing the right areas in the organization that need to adapt, and create a holistic plan for the change journey MarTech requires.

First, what is MarTech? MarTech is an abbreviation for marketing technology. However, MarTech is not just about technology. It’s truly about the comprehensive process of creating happier customers and generating more revenue through improved customer communication and customer experience. In addition to technology, MarTech involves processes, people, and skills.

When creating your MarTech strategy, remember that MarTech is not an end in itself; it’s a means to drive business and should align seamlessly with your business goals. Every process defined should correspond to a business value.

To ensure that the strategy includes all areas that need to change for you to deliver on the business targets, there are four building blocks to include, creating a holistic approach that goes beyond just the technological aspect.

Holistic MarTech – The Building Blocks
1. Data: The foundation

The importance of data cannot be overestimated and you need to invest time in your data and data strategy. Understand the data you currently possess, identify your data needs, find out its availability, and know your definitions. Just as you wouldn’t hire someone without conducting an interview, right? Similarly, data must be known and understood for you to trust it.

As automation takes center stage, a robust data strategy becomes the foundation for MarTech’s success. This not only prepares your organization to implement AI in MarTech processes but also ensures a solid foundation for the future. In conclusion, pay significant attention to your data, and you’ll receive it back manifold in return.

2. Technology and Tools: Empowering your MarTech strategy

When it comes to picking the right technology, it’s not just about going through all the available solutions and deciding for the one with the coolest features. For me, the crucial step is understanding what the business truly needs. It’s about identifying the processes that need improvement or are missing and translating them into a use case. This use case-centered approach ensures that the technology development is not just a checklist of features but a value-driven investment. It helps to define the technology needs and allocate resources effectively, ensuring a technology foundation that aligns with the business objectives.

Thinking about what use cases one need can sometimes be challenging. Personally, when I ask someone what they want, they might describe something very similar to the current setup. That’s where thought leadership kicks in – a chance to reimagine how we work and truly understand the possibilities. It’s about putting the right use cases and requirements in place to shape a technology strategy that’s not just about today but sets one up for a successful tomorrow.

3. Organization and Processes: Breaking down silos and adapting as you progress

Organizing around MarTech is truly a journey, and it must adapt with maturity as one progress. Unfortunately, there is no one-size-fits-all solution or absolute perfection, but there are some key mistakes to avoid. For example, if you break down your channel silos in your technology stack, enabling data sharing and activation of communication from one central place across various channels, it becomes inefficient to continue operating in separate operational teams within channel silos, often situated in different departments.

To truly gain the benefits of MarTech, the key is to establish cross-functional teams that include the roles and competencies needed for these teams to work independently towards common goals.

In the early stages of maturity while working cross-functionally, there’s often a tendency to organize teams around products, only to realize that this approach essentially creates new silos, neglecting the customer and the overall customer experience. Over time, you will likely start to reorganize and build teams centered around the customer to work seamlessly throughout the customer lifecycle.

However, I don’t believe a customer-centric organization is the final destination; it’s just one step along the way. Once you make progress in your automation maturity, you will need to organize to support and optimize your automated processes. Since AI can understand the customers even better than you, automation truly becomes the center in how you organize.

4. Roles and Competencies: Become MarTech experts through continuous learning

While maturing in the MarTech journey, roles and skills must adapt. I’ve discovered roles throughout the years that I didn’t know existed when I initially started. I’ve even invented completely new roles that didn’t exist, as tech development progresses faster than organizational adoption.

Working with MarTech demands a different team setup compared to a traditional marketing department. Transitioning from coordinating roles to having hands-on experts becomes crucial. It’s not just about roles; it’s about having experts who know how to execute tasks, operate MarTech platforms, and build automated processes.

The MarTech landscape is highly dynamic, and the competencies and roles needed are constantly changing. As a leader, you have to actively work on competence development. Support your team in their upskilling efforts, make learning a natural part of their daily job, and integrate it into your internal culture. Being open-minded and creating a learning organization that doesn’t strive for absolute perfection but rather values curiosity, collaboration, and humbleness, acknowledging that we don’t have all the answers. Instead, let’s try, learn, and together excel.

Final reflections

Last but not least, to ensure that you are designing for the future, there needs to be thought leadership from management. Those responsible for MarTech need to grasp what this modern technology makes possible. It’s crucial for everyone to invest time and truly understand what’s happening because the development is occurring rapidly right now. So, understanding what others are doing, adopting an outside-in perspective, and genuinely trying to leverage all the knowledge that is already out there. It’s also essential to learn from what other people are attempting and doing right now. No one has all the answers, but together we can collaborate to explore and learn from each other.