Current State of MarTech - #9

Welcome MarTech professionals, experts, and executives!

First of all, we would like to express our sincere gratitude to everyone who supported us by voting for our nomination for the TMW100 awards. It is an incredibly humbling and motivating experience to have our project recognized and receive such overwhelming support.

We will continue to work hard to expand our knowledge hub and bring value to our community while positively impacting the MarTech industry.

Once again, thank you!

Now, let's dive into a very interesting topic!

Is MarTech Complex or Complicated?

The terms "complicated" and "complex" are often used interchangeably, but they have distinct meanings, especially in the context of systems and technology.

Let's break down the differences between the two in the context of the marketing technology landscape in enterprise environments and then analyze their implications.


Complicated systems have many parts, but they operate in predictable ways. They can be understood by breaking them down into smaller parts and analyzing each one.

Once understood, they can be managed and controlled effectively.

Example: A traditional CRM system where each function is well-defined.


Complex systems have many interconnected parts and relationships that can change over time. They are unpredictable and cannot be easily reduced to simpler components and often exhibit emergent behavior, where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

Example: The entire digital customer journey, which involves multiple touchpoints, channels, and unpredictable human behaviors.

Analysis in the Marketing Technology Landscape

Complicated Aspects

  • Tools & Platforms: The marketing technology stack in many enterprises consists of various tools, from email marketing platforms to analytics tools. Each tool can be complicated with its features and functionalities.

  • Integration: Integrating different tools can be a complicated process, requiring specific connectors, APIs, or middleware.

  • Training & Onboarding: With each tool having its unique interface and capabilities, training teams to use them effectively can be a daunting task.

Complex Aspects

  • Customer Behavior: Customers interact with brands across multiple channels, devices, and touchpoints. Predicting their behavior, understanding their needs, and personalizing their experiences is a complex challenge.

  • Data Management: With the proliferation of data sources, managing, analyzing, and deriving insights from vast amounts of data becomes complex.

  • Evolving Landscape: The marketing technology landscape is continuously evolving, with new tools, platforms, and strategies emerging. Keeping up with these changes and adapting strategies accordingly adds to the complexity.

Implications for Enterprise Environments

For Complicated Aspects.

  • Standardization: Enterprises can benefit from standardizing tools and platforms to reduce the complications of managing multiple systems.

  • Documentation: Detailed documentation and process maps can help in understanding and managing complicated systems.

  • Expertise: Hiring or training experts who understand the intricacies of specific tools can be beneficial.

For Complex Aspects.

  • Ecosystem Thinking: Instead of viewing each tool or platform in isolation, enterprises should adopt an ecosystem approach, understanding how each component interacts with others and the broader environment.

  • Agility: Given the unpredictable nature of complex systems, enterprises need to be agile, ready to adapt to changes, and pivot their strategies when needed.
  • Collaboration: Cross-functional collaboration is crucial. Marketing, IT, sales, and other teams need to work together to navigate the complexities of the landscape.

In conclusion, while the marketing technology landscape in enterprise environments has both complicated and complex aspects, recognizing and addressing each appropriately can lead to more effective strategies and better outcomes. Ecosystem thinking, which emphasizes the interconnectedness of all components, is crucial in navigating this landscape successfully.

How to explain MarTech to multiple audiences or stakeholders?

Now that we know that MarTech is both complex and complicated, there’s something even more important than understanding the ecosystem: Communicating how the ecosystem works!

In the enterprise world, we do so through frameworks, diagrams, and many other artifacts. But let me talk about one framework known to Enterprise Architects, but that can be helpful to anyone in MarTech.

Zachman Framework: A Brief Description

The Zachman Framework is a structured schema introduced by John Zachman in the 1980s to help organizations design, describe, and manage enterprise architectures. It provides a holistic view of an organization from multiple perspectives, each representing a different stakeholder's viewpoint. The framework is often visualized as a 6x6 matrix, with each cell representing a specific intersection of a perspective (rows) and an abstraction (columns).

Rows (Perspectives):

  • Planner (Scope)
  • Owner (Business Model)
  • Designer (System Model)
  • Builder (Technology Model)
  • Subcontractor (Detailed Representations)
  • Functioning Enterprise (User)

Columns (Abstractions):

  • Data (What)
  • Function (How)
  • Network (Where)
  • People (Who)
  • Time (When)
  • Motivation (Why)
The Zachman Framework of enterprise architecture-Enterprise-Martech-Desc-v1

Application to MarTech in the Enterprise

  1. Holistic View: The Zachman Framework can provide a comprehensive view of the MarTech stack, ensuring that all aspects, from data to functions to motivations, are considered.
  2. Stakeholder Alignment: By addressing different perspectives, the framework ensures that the needs and concerns of various stakeholders, from top-level planners to technical implementers, are addressed.
  3. Standardization: The framework can help standardize the way MarTech tools and processes are described and documented, promoting clarity and consistency.

Managing the Complex and Complicated in Marketing Technology

  1. Clarity in Complexity: The framework's structured approach can help dissect the complex MarTech landscape, breaking it down into understandable components. For instance, understanding 'What' data is needed, 'How' it will be processed, 'Where' it will be stored or transferred, 'Who' will access it, 'When' it will be used, and 'Why' it's essential.

  2. Navigating Complications: For the complicated aspects of MarTech, such as tool integrations or specific functionalities, the framework provides a systematic way to document and design solutions. The 'Designer' and 'Builder' perspectives can be particularly useful here.

  3. Strategic Alignment: By starting from the top-level 'Planner' perspective and working down to the 'Functioning Enterprise,' organizations can ensure that their MarTech initiatives align with broader business goals and strategies.

  4. Evolution and Scalability: As the MarTech landscape evolves, the Zachman Framework provides a blueprint for scaling and adapting. New tools or processes can be slotted into the appropriate cells, ensuring a consistent approach to growth.

The Zachman Framework offers a structured and systematic approach to understanding, designing, and managing MarTech in enterprise environments. By providing clarity and promoting alignment, it can be a valuable tool for navigating both the complex and complicated aspects of marketing technology.

Closing thoughts

In the intricate landscape of marketing technology, the distinction between the 'complex' and the 'complicated' serves as a foundational understanding, guiding enterprises in their strategic and operational endeavors.

The Zachman Framework, with its structured schema, offers a tangible method to navigate this landscape, ensuring that every facet of MarTech, whether intricate in its interconnectedness or multifaceted in its functionality, is addressed.

When we juxtapose the two concepts, it becomes evident that they are not isolated but rather complementary. Recognizing the nuances between complexity and complication aids in identifying challenges, while the Zachman Framework provides the blueprint for addressing them.

Together, they encapsulate a holistic thinking approach, ensuring that enterprises can thrive in the ever-evolving MarTech ecosystem, aligning tools and strategies with overarching business objectives.