Current State of MarTech #2

Welcome MarTech professionals, experts, and executives! 

What's going on today in MarTech in the enterprise? 

Let me try to distill some of the more important topics as I see them.

Read on, and let's talk about:

  1. Learning MarTech?
  2. What’s the role of real-time data in Customer Engagement?
  3. How do you go from step-based marketing and supporting architectures to an engagement-led always-on engine?
  4. Composable MarTech: Background, reality, and future?
  5. Read the paper: The Customer Engagement Stack and the Engagement Fabric
  6. Macro MarTech
  7. More tools for the experts.
  8. And more.

Why learn MarTech?

I have been working in MarTech for almost a decade; when I started, the term MarTech was still unknown, and its practice wasn’t enterprise.

Marketing Technology, also known as MarTech, has its roots in the advancements of the digital era. With the increasing digitization of markets and consumers turning towards the internet, the need for technology to aid marketing efforts grew exponentially. The term MarTech started gaining traction in the late 2000s and early 2010s.

The use of technology in marketing is not new. The introduction of customer relationship management (CRM) software in the 1990s, for example, marked a significant step forward in utilizing technology to improve marketing efficiency. However, the rise of the internet, big data, the explosion of customer channels and touchpoints, and analytics truly catalyzed the growth of MarTech.

In the enterprise, I still find that MarTech is a practice that is only understood by a few key individuals, and more often than not, all the complex ecosystems that support the marketing function are misunderstood and widely mismanaged.  Needless to say, this is an important risk in any organization, but it’s also a great opportunity to recognize that the MarTech practice in the enterprise needs to be part of the overarching business architecture.  In my opinion, the Chief Marketing Technology Officer is a role that needs to gain a presence in the enterprise.

What’s the role of real-time data in Customer Engagement?

This week I sat on a discussion panel at the Data Architecture conference in Melbourne with other experts from the Banking, Telcos and Superannuation industries to discuss all things about adopting Real-time data in the enterprise.

This was a great opportunity to bring my perspective on the role of real-time data in Customer Engagement.  The session started with the following question:

When talking about customer engagement, there are 2 critical elements to consider:

  • The velocity of data – speed of access
  • Availability of data – in the right format, ready to use – complete, accurate, consistent

What is the right architecture for a segment of 1-1 in marketing communication?

You can read more about the session in this blog post, but the crux of the answer is as follows:

Customer Engagement is intrinsically unpredictable, and the “segment of one” is a concept that implies a deep and unique understanding of the customer and the context of each human-to-brand- encounter.  At scale, this is only possible with the support of real-time data and the architectures that enable them.  At a high level, there are four components to this architecture:

  • Data Ingestion: from channels and systems
  • Data Storage: of customer interactions
  • Data Analysis: dynamic segmentation and behavior analysis
  • Decisioning: selection of brand offerings and reactions to customer requests.
  • And, Activation: value added to the data pipeline.

I explore this architecture and the capabilities required in the Engagement Fabric; if you want to understand how all these come together to build an engagement engine, that’s a great place to start.

How do you go from step-based marketing and supporting architectures to an engagement-led always-on engine?

I have been asked this question many times in my recent career, most organizations recognize the need to advance their marketing and architecture that supports them to adapt to a rapidly evolving landscape of customer interactions.   However, this transition is not trivial and requires advanced capabilities but a great deal of business buy-in and coordination.

Transitioning from rigid, monolithic architectures to dynamic, adaptable marketing systems is a process that requires collaboration, strategic planning, and a commitment to technological innovation. It begins with an understanding that while successful in the past, traditional marketing methods may not serve the evolving demands of today's complex consumer landscape.

The first step towards this transformative journey is breaking down the silos within an organization. Marketing, IT, sales, and customer service departments must work together, sharing data, insights, and strategies. This collaboration fosters an understanding of the interconnectedness of their roles, enabling a unified approach toward the customer. By putting the customer at the heart of the organizational structure, businesses can move away from segmented perspectives to a holistic, consumer-centric viewpoint.

Technology plays a vital role in this transition. Switching from isolated databases to a unified data fabric forms the backbone of this new architecture. Data fabrics provide a seamless environment for data access, processing, and analysis across different systems, thereby eliminating the hurdles posed by traditional data silos. Furthermore, a shift towards real-time architectures helps businesses respond to consumer interactions dynamically and timely, making personalization not just an add-on but an integral part of the marketing strategy.

Adopting these new technologies is a strategic investment rather than an expenditure. It's essential to recognize that the costs associated with the transition can vary depending on a business's size and specific needs. While smaller companies may fear the perceived expense of such an undertaking, many affordable and scalable solutions in the market cater to various business sizes and budgets. Moreover, the potential return on investment, in terms of enhanced customer engagement and improved business results, often far outweighs the initial costs.

Yet, the technological transition is just one part of the equation. A successful shift also requires a cultural change that encourages curiosity, accepts consumer behavior's unpredictable nature, and values personalization's power. It's a shift from 'business as usual' to a constant learning and adapting mindset that sees every consumer interaction as an opportunity to learn, adapt, and improve.

Indeed, the path toward engagement-led marketing is not a simple one-step process. It's a journey that requires collaboration across all parts of a business, significant technological investments, and an adaptable mindset. But as we navigate this path, we inch closer to a marketing landscape that is as dynamic, diverse, and engaging as the consumers we serve.


Engagement-led marketing, driven by a unified data fabric and real-time architectures, can transform the relationship between businesses and their customers. While the benefits of this transition are numerous, they can be distilled into three key areas: customer understanding, personalization, and business growth.

The detailed customer understanding derived from the data fabric is akin to having a compass in the intricate maze of consumer behavior. Each interaction, preference, and feedback provides insightful data points, contributing to a comprehensive customer profile. This in-depth knowledge is the foundation for individualized communication, curated experiences, and tailored offerings.

As we improve our understanding of the customers, we simultaneously pave the way for high-level individualization. With real-time architectures, businesses can adjust their strategies 'on the fly,' responding to customer behavior instantaneously. This adaptability is a cornerstone of engagement-led marketing, ensuring customers feel seen, understood, and valued. This level of personalization goes beyond enhancing customer satisfaction; it builds stronger relationships and fosters loyalty.

Lastly, these enhancements don't just benefit customers; they stimulate business growth. By better understanding and addressing customer needs, businesses can anticipate market trends, innovate effectively, and enhance overall customer satisfaction. This, in turn, drives customer retention, attracts new customers, and ultimately boosts the bottom line.

Composable MarTech: Background, reality, and future?

I’m confident you have heard and read the term composable many times in recent months.  Though this is not a ground-breaking new concept, it seems it’s been making its way into the MarTech discourse, mainly driven by the composable CDP narratives pushed by a few vendors.

The history of software architecture has been one of progressive evolution, moving from relatively simple, single-component structures to increasingly complex and multifaceted systems. Early on, monolithic architectures dominated the landscape—these were systems where all the software components were interconnected and interdependent. This type of architecture has its benefits, including simplicity in design and consistency of operations, making it an appealing choice for in-house solutions.

However, these architectures have increasingly shown their limitations with the rapid acceleration of technology and escalating business demands. Monolithic systems can be inflexible, difficult to scale, and pose significant challenges when integrating new technology or adapting to changing business models.

This has led to the rise of composable architecture—an approach that structures systems as interconnected, interchangeable modules that can be assembled and reassembled to better meet changing business needs.

And this architectural pattern is now also being pitched in the enterprise MarTech world.

The Problem Composable Architecture Solves

Composable architecture addresses several critical challenges posed by monolithic systems. First, it enables greater flexibility. By breaking down the system into distinct modules, businesses can quickly adapt to new technologies, market shifts, or customer demands without overhauling the system.

Second, the composable architecture supports scalability. As the business grows, additional modules can be added or expanded to handle increased loads. This also provides a cost-effective way to manage growth, as you only invest in scaling the modules you need rather than the whole system.

Benefits and Challenges

The benefits of composable architecture are compelling—flexibility, scalability, cost-effectiveness, and the ability to stay ahead of the technology curve. However, they are not without their challenges.

Managing the complexity of composable architectures can be daunting, requiring a nuanced understanding of each component and how they interact. Security is another concern, as more components and interconnections increase the potential for failure or attack. Additionally, migrating from a monolithic to a composable architecture could require a significant upfront investment in time, resources, and capital.

In short, the blind spot of “Composable MarTech” is the orchestration required to make a multi-faceted system operate as a well-oiled machine.

Future Scenarios in a Fragmented Ecosystem

As we look to the future, we see a landscape of highly fragmented ecosystems, each composed of myriad solutions and channel proliferation. In such a scenario, a well-designed composable architecture could be a game-changer, allowing businesses to plug and play the components they need to navigate this complexity. This might include advanced AI modules for predictive analytics, omnichannel integration tools to connect various customer touchpoints, or new security solutions to safeguard data in the cloud.

The key is to approach this with a strategic mindset—plan for the investments required, ensure that the architecture aligns with the business strategy, and prioritize the components that will deliver the most value. For instance, a report from Mckinsey (2023) suggests that investments in customer data platforms (CDPs) and predictive analytics can deliver a 10% increase in sales for companies transitioning to composable architectures.

Read the paper: The Customer Engagement Stack and the Engagement Fabric

In the past weeks, one of our closest advisors and contributors, Aarron Spinley, released his paper, The Customer Engagement Stack.  We can’t recommend this reading enough.  This paper explores fundamental knowledge for anyone working in customer, CX, data, and technologies, which is crucial for anyone in MarTech.

In Aarron’s words, this report returns to the basics whilst maintaining a contemporary context. Readers can expect to learn about the following:

  • The historical context
  • The critical elements of the modern Customer Engagement Stack (c)
  • Key characteristics separating Service from Experience - and their component parts
  • The roles of choice architecture, customer journeys, and individualization
  • Case studies & operating principles

It’s a FREE report, click here to read the Customer Engagement Stack 

The Engagement Fabric

I have mentioned the Engagement Fabric a couple of times in this email.  This is a paper released to our subscribers that can be found here: The Engagement Fabric  

Enterprise marketing technologies have evolved tremendously in the past ten years. We have gone from home-grown solutions through packaged software suites to composability and headless paradigms.

We live in what some people call the exponential age, where networks converge, and consumers of products and services are inundated with information with few tools to discern the signal from the noise.

In this context, MarTech in the enterprise has become an indispensable system with an intrinsic level of complexity that leaves most businesses paralyzed, struggling to keep pace and fighting to innovate and lead.

Within this environment, customer experiences and Engagement have become multi-dimensional elements businesses must manage effectively. Still, most lack the concepts and frameworks to define, document, connect and communicate this element across business departments and functions.

This paper explores the Engagement Fabric, the concepts, frameworks, and approaches required to build advanced capabilities to allow businesses to model, cultivate and activate modern human-to-business relationships.

Download the paper here The Engagement Fabric  

Macro MarTech

As fascinating as MarTech is in the enterprise, we must not forget that as an Industry, MarTech is also complex and ever-changing.

Though we’re only bringing you one stat today, we’re building an entire section of our content dedicated to exploring the macro trends and insights that shape and impact the industry and what they mean for our day-to-day but also for the future.  We'll let you know as soon as this section is available on the website.

Now, let's talk about the underutilization of MarTech's capabilities.

Perceived utilization of MarTech capabilities

Many reports state the perceived underutilization of MarTech capabilities was as low as 42% in 2022, dropping from 58% in 2020.

Though it is common to find organizations where the utilization of their tech stack is relatively low, it's also important to understand that MarTech, as a complex and always-evolving system, needs to be managed to mitigate issues like underutilization.

Tools & Templates

We continue to publish our tools and templates to help all the MarTech experts deliver quality architectures and analysis more consistently and efficiently. 

We recently uploaded the sought-after MarTech Maturity Model, where you will find a reference to assess capabilities and the functions they enable in MarTech in a five-stage model.

Download the MarTech Maturity Model here.

Don’t forget to check other templates:

  • The Information Fabric of Customer Engagement
  • The Encounter Anatomy
  • Modern MarTech Capabilities

Know and Share

At Enterprise MarTech, we're continuously developing our Knowledge Hub to support every individual in their journey as a MarTech actor in the enterprise. Check out our library of resources.

The current state of MarTech poses many challenges but also fascinating opportunities. MarTech in the enterprise has the privilege to impact the customers' lives directly, and this impact should be a positive one.

We're working hard to provide more tools and simplify complex topics to accelerate the learning and application of technologies in this space.

Drop us a line for any comment or topic you want us to explore.

Please forward this email to a friend or colleague that needs to read it and spread the knowledge.