By Dan Purvis | @DanPurvis
In the past we’ve challenged the role of martech in the future of sales and lead generation. But there are some elements, especially in the field of data analytics and automation that have an important role to play. In the first of a series of guest blogs, Dan Purvis, Director of Comms Axis looks at how martech can benefit marketing operations.
Historically, marketers were the creative folk who sat around drawing boards coming up the latest campaigns in Mad Men-esque fashion. However, times have changed, and the modern-day marketer is something of an all-rounder who can step up to bat and deliver an impressive array of skills in his or her arsenal. And this is where martech comes into play.
Step forward martech
Martech – or, if you want to be formal about it, marketing technology – is a blend of the old form of marketing and the new stuff. The ‘new stuff’ being the understanding and use of technology. Marketing is thus no longer about being that creative genius; it is about applying science and using a goldmine of data to better understand how to make decisions that help your brand gain more audience insights, drive more traffic to its digital properties, and generate ROI that hinges around business value and sales.
Because of a technological shift in our society, we now have access to big data – swathes of numbers and metrics, countless insights and trends on an unprecedented scale. There is no hiding place for B2C and B2B marketers alike – all campaigns and even the nitty-gritty day-to-day activities are completely transparent. Everything can be analysed to the minutest detail to understand if, how, where, when and why it was successful. You can also use it to inform future campaigns’ strategies to secure even greater impact and ROI.
Technology, instant data analytics, and the 24×7 internet can be a minefield. And it certainly makes the role of the marketer more pressured. But, all of the tools are there to influence the customer’s behaviour to ensure that creativity and hard data can work together.
Marketing today is powered by technology
Even if you don’t recognise your business as technologically driven you can be sure it has a marketing tech stack in action. Whether that’s the most basic of well-known of applications such as Google Analytics, Hootsuite or Mailchimp, or more specialist software for your niche, martech benefits your business in many ways. It helps to ensure your data is fully managed, accessible, and easily analysed, but it is also effective in saving time and costs while enhancing your marketing department’s productivity.
78% of US marketers and 63% of European marketers accept that marketing tech is a critical skill in the success of senior marketers and that it is a powerful tool in managing, and delivering, marketing operations processes.
Of course, the benefit of having access to this kind of knowledge certainly improves the output. 90% of marketers believe the effectiveness of martech increasing (31% increasing significantly; 59% increasing marginally), according to research by Ascend2 in October 2016 (Marketing Technology Trends Survey, October 2016); eBook available here.
Furthermore, the Gartner CMO Spend Survey 2016-2017 shows marketing budgets increasing yet again, with marketing technology spend from CMOs set to exceed overall CIO technology spend in 2017. An average increase of 12% for 2016-2017 sees digital marketing dominating with website, digital commerce and digital advertising being the top three areas where companies are allocating spend.
The evidence overwhelmingly points towards data being key to the future of your marketing efforts. And with the development of marketing operations as a system, technology, data and strategy can be blended effectively for accelerated ROI.
While today’s marketing operations professional can get by with an understanding of the core marketing applications, tomorrow’s leaders will be those who manage their data as the strategic business asset that it is.
And while today’s data wrangling is often a manual task (with spreadsheets and pivot tables), tomorrow’s will leverage the power of tools and automation, including:
- Data integration – fast, repeatable ways to integrate different data sources.
- Data quality – cleaning, de-duping, validating, and verifying key data.
- Data enrichment – using third-party sources to add value to your data.
- Data preparation – making data ready to use by non-technical marketers.
- Data mastering – using master data management tools to create a single view of the domains that matter most (customers, channels, products, etc).
Does martech fit in with marketing operations?
Typically, MO is the function responsible for marketing performance measurement, strategic planning guidance and execution, budgeting, process development, professional development, and marketing systems and data. The role is increasingly responsible for affecting change in the marketing organisation.
Good marketing operations allows you to harness this data effectively and therefore get the most from it.
Marketing operations is about uniting the systems and processes within a business, removing silos and replacing them with a single cohesive unit. Operations manage the processes and run the automated systems that ensure the leads you need are generated and the level of analytic research before, during and after ensures a higher volume of qualified leads too. Data is handled and stored effectively so it can be used in a smart and proactive way – quickly and easily accessible.
The right balance of marketing software, applications and systems can be key to truly understanding your audience. The right blend of technologies has the power to give you a 360-degree view of your target customers, and more effectively personalise your business’s offering for them. This advanced level of understanding can impact every area of your business from product development or competitive analysis, to your sales approach or even things such as packaging design or the tone you use in your content. It’s all about the age-old business tent of “knowing your customer”.
Martech – not just the here and now, but the future
Digging deeper into the analytics behind your campaigns means you can intelligently forecast trends, and use deep insights to inform strategic decisions. Being able to predict the success rate of your campaigns helps to ensure only the most successful, sales generating pathways are taken. No capital is wasted on unfocused campaigns, and underperforming activities can be identified and remedied (or pulled completely) quickly. Fundamentally, you can use this technology to shape future content and integrated campaigns to suit your target audience – or specific segments within your audience – directly.
With closely targeted campaigns, lead generation and sales should be amplified. This should, therefore, allow you to meet every expectation of your target market, as you have the data to ensure you know what they’re looking for. And what they don’t want.
Martech isn’t going away anytime soon, at least not until we have the next tech revolution…whenever and whatever that may be – AI seems a likely bet. So, it is time to embrace the change because if you don’t get behind martech then your competition will. A survey from Conductor found 50-65% of marketing execs plan to spend more on technology in the coming year, with some planning to increase their budget by as much as 25%. The marketing landscape has changed, the question is will you too?
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