Current State of MarTech - #4

Welcome MarTech professionals, experts, and executives!

This week we welcome new US, UK, India, Australia, Spain, and Poland subscribers!

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. The advantage of being tech debt free in MarTech
  2. The CMTO: C for Customer
  3. Business Case: From step-based to engagement-led
  4. A MarTech career: what's a realistic path in 2023?
  5. CX meets EA — The gaps aren't addressed.
  6. The MarTech KPIs
  7. Marketing Automation vs. RTIM
  8. And more!

The advantageous position of being tech debt free in MarTech

Technical Debt in MarTech: Definition, Necessity, and Impact

In the realm of Marketing Technology, technical debt can be viewed as the added effort and resource burden arising from quick-fix marketing technology choices that are made in the short term but result in long-term inefficiencies. This might be choosing an easier but less robust marketing automation tool or quickly patching together different solutions instead of choosing an integrated platform that suits the exact business need.

Like other forms of technical debt, MarTech debt isn't always negative. It can offer a quick-to-market edge in competitive scenarios, allowing companies to launch campaigns, test strategies, or respond to market changes more rapidly.

Nonetheless, this necessity has a potential downside that can impact the overall MarTech strategy. Over time, these short-term solutions may not scale well or may lack interoperability with other tools or platforms. This can lead to inefficiencies, causing sluggish campaign executions, data silos, or even security risks. In the long run, such difficulties can obstruct innovation and compromise MarTech performance.

Over time, organizations may allocate a significant portion of their resources, or "debt service," towards managing and rectifying these inefficient solutions instead of implementing new MarTech initiatives or enhancements.

Small Business Advantage and the Opportunity of Being MarTech Debt Free

This is where small businesses often outshine their larger counterparts. Due to a shorter operational history and a smaller scale, small businesses typically have less MarTech debt. They have fewer legacy systems, less complex data, and shorter decision-making chains. This makes them nimbler, able to adapt to new marketing technologies or trends more easily.

This relative freedom from MarTech debt presents small businesses with a unique opportunity. They can remain at the forefront of innovation, adopt new marketing technologies quickly, and promptly respond to market changes or customer behavior shifts.

Additionally, small businesses can construct a well-considered MarTech strategy from scratch, selecting scalable and efficient solutions right from the start to prevent future accumulation of MarTech debt.

While larger organizations may grapple with the labyrinth of accumulated MarTech debt, small businesses have the opportunity to keep their MarTech stack streamlined and efficient. This agility can give them the competitive edge necessary to seize new opportunities and facilitate business growth.

In conclusion, while MarTech debt might sometimes be a strategic trade-off, it can also hinder a company's innovation and growth. For small businesses, remaining relatively MarTech debt-free can provide a competitive advantage, fostering agility and enabling swift responses in a rapidly evolving marketplace.

The CMTO: C for Customer

The Customer and Customer Science: The Cornerstone of a CMTO's Work

In the era of customer-centric business models, a CMTO's work thrives on understanding customers' motivations, preferences, and behavior. These insights are then leveraged to create personalized experiences, strengthen customer engagement, and ultimately drive growth. This is where Customer Science, the study of customers and their behaviors using scientific methods, and the work of thought leaders like Aarron Spinley (advisor of Enterprise MarTech) become pivotal.

Aarron Spinley's seminal work on the "Customer Engagement Stack" emphasizes a holistic approach to customer engagement that involves multiple layers – service, experience, technology, intelligence, and culture. The Customer Engagement Stack presents a customer-centric model that recognizes customers' crucial role in a business and provides a framework to systematically nurture, manage, and enhance customer relationships.

The intricate connection between the CMTO's role and Customer Science is undeniable. The science of understanding customers, their behaviors, needs, and preferences guide the CMTO in crafting a successful customer strategy. Utilizing the framework provided by Spinley's Customer Engagement Stack, the CMTO can set the foundations for a solid overarching strategy that starts with the most important element of any architecture or stack, the customer.

The role of a CMTO is multifaceted, and at its core lies the understanding and application of customer sciences. Incorporating the principles from the Engagement Stack, a CMTO can successfully create a comprehensive and sustainable customer engagement strategy that drives business success.

Please watch for our upcoming pilot episode, where Aarron and I delve into the fascinating topics covered in his paper. We aim to examine their relevance to both MarTech practitioners and businesses, providing valuable insights for all.

A Business Case for Implementing an Engagement-Led Strategy: An Evolution from Step-Based to Customer-Centric Marketing

The new era of marketing technology (MarTech) requires an innovative approach that focuses on customer engagement rather than traditional step-based or waterfall methods. An engagement-led strategy enables a more proactive, personalized, and effective marketing approach that directly addresses the evolving needs and behaviors of today's digitally empowered consumers. This report presents the business case for implementing an engagement-led strategy and outlines the calculated risks and expected benefits.

An engagement-led strategy will improve customer retention, conversion rates, and overall business performance, significantly surpassing the results obtained from traditional step-based methods. While this transition does introduce a level of risk, the potential benefits are well worth the investment due to the requirement for a paradigm shift and the potential learning curve involved.

Traditional step-based or waterfall strategies generally follow a linear approach where marketing campaigns are meticulously planned, executed, and then analyzed sequentially. While this method has a certain level of predictability, it may not be agile or responsive enough to adapt to the fast-paced and highly personal consumer engagement demanded by the digital age.

On the other hand, an engagement-led strategy is more dynamic and customer-centric. It leverages real-time data, analytics, and artificial intelligence to understand customer behaviors, preferences, and interactions across various channels. This allows marketers to individualize their approach, tailor their messages and offers to each customer's unique needs, and adjust strategies based on ongoing engagement.

The benefits of an engagement-led strategy include the following:

  • Enhanced Customer Experience: Businesses can create more personalized and relevant experiences by focusing on engagement, leading to higher customer satisfaction.
  • Increased Customer Retention: Engagement-led strategies foster stronger customer relationships, increasing loyalty and retention.
  • Higher Conversion Rates: Individualized engagement increases the likelihood of converting prospects into paying customers.
  • Real-time Adaptability: An engagement-led approach allows for real-time adjustments based on customer behavior, thus improving human-to-business relationship effectiveness.

The transition to an engagement-led strategy involves risks such as:

  • Time and Resource Investment: Shifting paradigms will require an investment in technology, training, and possibly restructuring.
  • Data Privacy Concerns: Handling more customer data intensifies the need for stringent data privacy measures.
  • Change Management: The change to a new strategy might face resistance from employees accustomed to the old methods.

These risks can be mitigated by:

  • Phased Implementation: A gradual transition can help balance resource allocation and ensure smooth operations during the transition period.
  • Robust Data Management: Implementing robust data management and security measures will address privacy concerns.
  • Change Management Strategy: A well-planned change management strategy can facilitate a smoother transition and stakeholder buy-in.

An engagement-led strategy, focusing on customer-centricity and real-time adaptability, provides a more effective alternative to traditional step-based marketing approaches.

Although the shift involves certain risks, with adequate planning and risk mitigation strategies, the potential benefits significantly outweigh the risks. Hence, implementing an engagement-led strategy is a calculated risk worth pursuing to benefit the customer and overall business performance.

A MarTech career: what's a realistic path in 2023?

A Marketing Technology (MarTech) career involves a dynamic journey of skill acquisition and role evolution that intersects various disciplines and technologies.

Let’s look at a potential career path in today’s MarTech landscape.

Entry-Level MarTech Specialist: The starting point of a MarTech career typically requires a solid understanding of core marketing principles, coupled with proficiency in using popular digital marketing platforms and tools. A foundation in data analytics, understanding consumer behavior, and basic web development skills are also important. Early responsibilities could include managing marketing automation systems, coordinating email marketing campaigns, and tracking digital marketing performance.

Mid-Level MarTech Specialist / MarTech Analyst: With a few years of experience, one can progress to a mid-level MarTech role, where more advanced knowledge of data analysis and technology systems becomes crucial. Understanding the integration of different technologies, customer journey mapping, and a grasp of digital transformation trends would be handy. In addition to optimizing marketing campaigns, responsibilities may involve strategic planning, tech stack audits, and cross-departmental collaboration.

MarTech Manager / Lead: As a MarTech Manager or Lead, one creates a strategic MarTech roadmap, aligning it with the overall marketing strategy and business goals. They will need to excel in Customer Experience (CX) management and manage the implementation and evaluation of various MarTech tools. Solid project management skills and working with interdisciplinary teams, including marketing, customer service, IT, and data science, become essential at this stage.

Director of MarTech: A director-level role requires a comprehensive understanding of Enterprise Architecture (EA) and how to leverage technology and data for strategic advantage. This role has to align the marketing technology vision with the business strategy, working closely with other departments and stakeholders. Leadership skills are vital, as they're responsible for a team's performance, budgeting, and decision-making related to MarTech investments.

Chief Marketing Technology Officer (CMTO): As a CMTO, one must have a complete mastery of MarTech and its intersection with other disciplines such as Data Science, CX, EA, Operations, and IT. The CMTO sets the overall MarTech strategy, oversees its execution, and ensures it yields desired business results. This executive role demands a solid understanding of advanced technologies like AI, Machine Learning, Big Data, and Blockchain and how they can be applied to marketing strategies. CMTOs are usually part of the C-suite and contribute to the company's overall strategy and direction.

The increasing complexity of the MarTech landscape results from rapid technological advancements and the convergence of multiple disciplines. While this indeed poses challenges, it also offers immense opportunities. For instance, using AI and Machine

Learning in MarTech can help deliver hyper-personalized customer experiences, providing companies with a competitive edge.

Moreover, the growing emphasis on data privacy and ethics necessitates MarTech professionals to be technologically adept and aware of the latest regulations and ethical considerations.

Finally, the rise of the MarTech industry has blurred the lines between the marketing, tech, and data disciplines, meaning future MarTech professionals may no longer fit into the conventional marketing or tech silos. They would rather evolve into 'marketing technologists' who are equally comfortable in architecting solutions, deciphering analytics, leading an innovative marketing campaign, or guiding a customer experience strategy.

Thus, the MarTech career path is increasingly demanding but full of opportunities to innovate and significantly impact the business world.

CX meets EA — The gaps aren't addressed

In the realm of Marketing Technology (MarTech), Customer Experience (CX), and Enterprise Architecture (EA) have traditionally been viewed as separate disciplines. However, as the digital landscape continues to evolve, it is becoming increasingly clear that these two areas are interconnected and mutually reinforcing. Integrating CX and EA can lead to more effective and efficient MarTech strategies, breaking down silos and driving successful transformations that yield impactful customer outcomes.

Firstly, CX and EA share a common goal: to deliver value to the customer. CX focuses on understanding and enhancing the customer's journey, while EA is concerned with the strategic alignment of IT resources and business objectives. By merging these practices, organizations can ensure that their IT infrastructure and business strategies are aligned and centered around the customer. This customer-centric approach can lead to more personalized and engaging experiences, driving customer satisfaction and loyalty.

Secondly, integrating CX and EA can lead to more effective decision-making. With a holistic view of the customer journey and the underlying IT infrastructure, organizations can make more informed decisions about where to invest their resources. This can lead to more efficient use of resources, reducing waste and improving return on investment.

Finally, the merger of CX and EA can facilitate better organizational communication and collaboration. By breaking down silos, teams can work together more effectively, sharing insights and learning from each other. This can lead to more innovative solutions and a more agile response to changes in the market.

The CX-Led Architecture Framework I proposed in 2019 provides a blueprint for this integration. This framework emphasizes the importance of aligning IT resources with customer needs and business objectives. It also highlights the role of data in driving decision-making and the need for a culture of collaboration and continuous learning.

Integrating CX and EA in MarTech is desirable and necessary for organizations to stay competitive in the digital age. By merging these practices, organizations can deliver more value to their customers, make more effective decisions, and foster a culture of collaboration and innovation. The CX-Led Architecture Framework provides a roadmap for this integration, offering practical guidance for organizations seeking to transform their MarTech strategies.

The MarTech KPIs

I believe that the interconnection of various business Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to form MarTech KPIs is a crucial step towards aligning business efforts around delivering value to customers.

Let's discuss the most relevant business KPIs. These typically include financial metrics such as revenue, profit margin, and return on investment (ROI); customer-centric metrics like customer acquisition cost (CAC), customer lifetime value (CLV), and net promoter score (NPS); operational metrics such as employee productivity and operational efficiency; and marketing metrics like conversion rates, customer retention rates, and social media engagement.

In most businesses, these KPIs are diverse and are managed by different executives. For instance, financial KPIs are usually the responsibility of the CFO, customer-centric KPIs are often managed by the CMO or Chief Customer Officer, the COO typically oversees operational KPIs, and marketing KPIs are usually the domain of the CMO or a dedicated marketing executive. This diversity of KPIs and accountable executives can sometimes lead to siloed thinking and decision-making, where each executive is focused on optimizing their own KPIs, sometimes at the expense of others.

This is where MarTech comes in as a discipline looking after the customer relationship. MarTech represents a significant opportunity to converge these diverse metrics into a unified set of KPIs that aligns all business efforts and simplifies planning. By leveraging technology to collect, analyze, and visualize data from across the organization, MarTech can provide a holistic view of business performance and customer behavior. This enables executives to make more informed decisions that balance the needs of all stakeholders, from shareholders to customers to employees.

For example, a MarTech platform could integrate data from the sales, marketing, and customer service departments to calculate a unified customer engagement score. This score could then be used as a KPI that aligns the efforts of all these departments around a common goal: maximizing customer engagement. Similarly, MarTech could be used to track the ROI of marketing campaigns in real-time, enabling the marketing department to adjust its strategies on the fly to maximize profitability.

A solid MarTech strategy represents a powerful tool for aligning business efforts around a unified set of KPIs. By breaking down silos and promoting cross-functional collaboration, MarTech can help businesses deliver more value to their customers, improve operational efficiency, and drive better financial performance. I believe that embracing MarTech is not just an opportunity but a necessity for businesses in the digital age.

Marketing Automation vs. RTIM

Marketing Automation Platforms (MAPs) are software tools designed to automate repetitive marketing tasks and processes. They are primarily used for email marketing, social media posting, and ad campaigns to nurture leads and drive customer engagement. MAPs can segment audiences, schedule communications, and track the performance of marketing campaigns. They are particularly useful for executing multi-channel marketing strategies, as they can manage and coordinate customer interactions across various channels from a single platform.

However, MAPs have certain limitations, particularly regarding real-time reporting and actioning of customer events. While they can track and report on the performance of marketing campaigns, they often struggle to do so in real time. This is because they are primarily designed for batch processing, where data is collected over a period of time and then processed all at once. This means that there can be a significant delay between when a customer interaction occurs and when it is reflected in the MAP's reporting.

Moreover, MAPs are not typically designed to take immediate action based on real-time events. For example, if a customer abandons their shopping cart on an e-commerce site, a MAP might not be able to send a reminder email until several hours or even days later, when the customer may have already completed their purchase elsewhere.

On the other hand, Real-Time Interaction Management (RTIM) platforms are designed to overcome these limitations. RTIM platforms can process and respond to customer interactions in real time, allowing businesses to engage with customers at the exact moment when it will be most impactful. They use advanced analytics and decisioning capabilities to determine the best action to take based on a customer's behavior and then execute that action immediately.

RTIM platforms can greatly enhance the capabilities of MAPs by overlaying real-time capabilities. For example, an RTIM platform could be integrated with a MAP to trigger immediate actions based on real-time events. If a customer abandons their shopping cart, the RTIM platform could immediately send a reminder email through the MAP, potentially recovering the sale.

Here's a brief example of how RTIM and MAP might work together:

Let's say a retail company is running a marketing campaign for a new product. The MAP schedules and sends promotional emails, manages social media posts, and tracks the campaign's performance. Meanwhile, the RTIM platform is monitoring customer interactions in real time.

When a customer clicks on a link in the promotional email, the RTIM platform detects this interaction and immediately sends a signal to the MAP. The MAP then sends a follow-up email to the customer with more information about the product. If the customer then visits the website and adds the product to their shopping cart but doesn't complete the purchase, the RTIM platform detects this and triggers the MAP to send an abandoned cart reminder email.

In this way, the RTIM platform enhances the capabilities of the MAP, allowing for more timely and personalized customer engagement.

From a strategic perspective, coupling RTIM capabilities with MAPs in an enterprise requires a thoughtful approach. The first step is to understand the specific needs and goals of the business. This involves identifying the key customer touchpoints and determining how real-time interaction can enhance the customer experience at each point. It's also important to consider the technical requirements and constraints, such as the need for data integration and the capacity to handle high volumes of real-time data.

Once the needs and goals have been identified, the next step is to evaluate potential RTIM solutions. This involves comparing the features, capabilities, and costs of different platforms and their compatibility with the existing MAP. It's also important to consider the vendor's reputation and the quality of their customer support.

After selecting an RTIM platform, the implementation process can begin. This typically involves integrating the RTIM platform with the MAP and other relevant systems, configuring the platform to meet the business's needs, and training staff to use the new tools. It's also important to establish metrics for measuring the success of the implementation, such as improvements in customer engagement or conversion rates.

From a business perspective, the key to successfully coupling RTIM capabilities with MAPs is to focus on the customer. The ultimate goal is to enhance the customer experience by providing more timely and personalized interactions. This requires a deep understanding of the customer journey and a commitment to continuous improvement. It's also important to ensure that all stakeholders, from marketing and sales to IT and customer service, are aligned and working towards the same goals.

In conclusion, coupling RTIM capabilities with MAPs can provide significant benefits, but it requires a strategic approach and a focus on the customer. With careful planning and execution, businesses can leverage these tools to enhance customer engagement and drive business growth.

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 a Customer Engagement Platforms Questionnaire with almost a hundred questions to ask any vendor about their platform capabilities. This questionnaire will help you quickly identify where each solution excels and where they are not as mature.

Download the questionnaire here.

Don’t forget to check other templates in our resources section:

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