Today’s marketers are witness to a paradigm shift in how marketing programs are built, executed and evaluated and technology is at the backbone of it all. In recent years we’ve been introduced to innovative tools and systems designed to give us better intelligence regarding where to spend and which marketing tactics perform best, along with more insight on marketing performance that allow us to improve the outcomes of our efforts. With all that’s available to us there’s no better time than now to be a marketer, right? So why are so many of us hesitant to adopt and embrace these new technologies? Scott Brinker’s now ubiquitous marketing tech landscape suggests a reason: we don’t know where to begin.
The first time my eyes were exposed to this dizzying chart, I immediately clicked out of it. This visual representation of an overloaded landscape with more companies than I knew existed overwhelmed me —I suddenly felt ill-educated in my profession.
The industry’s undisputable growth, however, is a decree for all marketers to gain a working knowledge of how these technologies work and how they can help us. The recent article B2B Marketers Need To Understand Technology underscores several great examples of why all marketers (not just B2B) need to understand the plethora of martech options that exist. The author smartly highlighted a car analogy to emphasize his point: “Although he doesn't know enough about cars to change the oil in his own vehicle, he does understand the landscape and the difference between a VW and a BMW.” Similarly, we don’t need to know everything about every bucket in the in the landscape, but we must understand the general capabilities — otherwise we’re the neglecting potential to become ever-greater modern marketers.
How many times have we read now that CMOs are expected to spend more on technology than CIOs by 2017? Marketing operations oversees CRM, MAS and other marketing systems that provide analytics, efficiencies and insights and sit at the helm of the MarTech explosion with good reason. These tools provide a competitive edge, increase revenue and track every dollar spent to determine if it was spent well. This type of power cannot be ignored.
Marketers are more accountable than ever. Time is quickly running out on the status quo of having limited knowledge on end results – what worked and what didn’t. Committed marketers will take initiative to understand and embrace new technologies that help them succeed. Those who do not will be at a noticeable disadvantage.
Here are some tips on how you can get a handle on all the marketing technologies out there:
- Subscribe to and spend 15 minutes every day reading industry marketing tech posts. This small investment will help keep you updated on both trends and leaders in the space. Here are some great places to start: http://chiefmartec.com, http://customerexperiencematrix.blogspot.com and http://mopartners.com.
- Make a marketing technology blueprint. Map out the systems your organization currently uses for marketing programs and how they work together to better understand choke points and roadblocks that may be hindering your marketing performance. This exercise may help identify where efficiencies can be made and/or opportunities to introduce new technology.
- Sign up for a demo on a different marketing solution twice a month. Take a test drive to see first-hand how different technologies work, ask questions and determine what may be a fit for your company.
It’s important to make a daily effort to understand the marketing tech out there. Tech solutions and capabilities will only grow in number as marketing focuses more and more on customer needs through enormous amounts of data. Dedicating some time each day or week to keep on top of where the industry is and where it is going will ensure you don’t get left behind.