Technology is now pivotal to the marketer’s trade – and has been for some time. And marketers that understand the software and systems available to them (and how they’re continuously evolving) put their companies and careers in a much better position.
This should be self-evident. After all, we’re surrounded with conversations about the expansion of MarTech. Yet, much of this discussion focuses on the changes in the industry itself, rather than individual technology use cases. Researching the latter is increassingly important.
Treating marketing technology (and MarTech vendor) research as a regular part of the job will benefit you and your organization in several ways:
1. Marketing alignment will come easier
For decades, we’ve understood the importance of marketing-sales alignment. In the last few years, however, marketing’s importance has grown substantially, resulting in increased responsibility, bigger budgets, and a division of labor into intra-marketing teams that have in some cases become just as distinct as sales is from accounting.
Each of these individual marketing teams has its own set of systems and tools (often overlapping with the capabilities of adjacent teams’ tech). A seamless flow of data between marketing teams provides myriad benefits, hence why tech integration is so important.
But unless you understand all the technology used by adjacent teams and the values they create, you’ll never achieve the alignment necessary to benefit both your team and the org overall.
On the other hand, if you’re able to suggest initiatives that fix data chokepoints, increase procedural efficiency or boost marketing performance in general, you’ll set yourself apart.
2. It’ll help you make your boss look good
The CMO, Marketing VP or even Chief Marketing Technology Officer depends on the feedback from divisional specialists – marketing ops, demand gen, customer experience, media, etc. (See the interview with Bala Kudaravalli, who specifically states how he checks in with teams on a daily basis).
As one of these sources of feedback, you obviously need to understand the tech you personally use, but the more you can place your insight in the context of the entire MarTech stack the more valuable your information will be to your boss and other marketing execs. And we all know, helping your boss look good is good for your career.
3. You’ll be better prepared for new trends and industry shifts
Areas of growth in specific MarTech categories affect marketing as a whole. This can play out in numerous ways. Think of how social (typically a digital marketing team responsibility) has affected marketing automation (a marketing ops or demand gen responsibility). Or how marketing ops’ adoption of predictive analytics can affect content creation.
In general terms, new technological developments at one end of the marketing spectrum (front-office customer experience to back-office ops) almost always have a ripple effect that carries all the way to the other end.
This effect may be delayed, but the more prepared you are, the easier it’ll be to make adjustments to boost your personal, team and organizational performance.
4. Demand Orchestration will come easier to you and your organization
If you work in demand generation, this reason is especially important for you. As Scott Vaughan wrote in a recent blog post:
“Many of the valuable insights gained from MA- and CRM-enabled lower-funnel activities (lead nurturing and scoring, website personalization, conversion tracking, predictive analytics, etc.) aren’t actionable due to the lack of integration between these activities and top-funnel lead generation. Marketers simply can’t make their insights pay off when the funnel’s data sources remain disconnected….As the next critical layer residing on top of MA and CRM, Demand Orchestration seamlessly applies process automation, systems integration, program execution and data governance to efficiently generate leads, feed pipeline and create customers.”
Obviously, it’s difficult to enable the required tech integration and process alignment throughout the entire funnel (and the media that fuels it) without understanding each system involved. Such understanding will become increasingly expected as marketing orgs endeavor to jump from demand marketing stage to demand orchestration.
5. Recruiters will be more attracted to you
You may work in marketing operations and have your marketing automation platform down cold. But when you apply for another position, how do you expect you’ll match up against another candidate who has experience with content marketing systems and media buying software, can speak the language of numerous marketing teams, and will contribute innovative ideas on ways to leverage or integrate systems throughout the organization?
There’s a balancing act between becoming “Jack of all, master of none” and the person who specializes beyond any transferable abilities. But just as Paul Sebastian explained in his article (“5 Technology Skills Every Marketer Needs Today”), marketers of every role will increasingly be expected to understand multiple technologies.
An in-depth understanding of the MarTech industry isn’t easily achieved, but it’s worth the effort. Fifteen minutes of research every day is a good start. Pick a section of the Chiefmartec.com supergraphic, peruse a few of the included vendor websites and read a white paper or two.
If you do this every day or even just a few times a week, your knowledge, value and confidence as a marketer will compound like interest. Your organization will reap the rewards as will your career prospects.