How Marketers Can Unlock the Power of Martech

There are over 5,000 Martech (Marketing Technology) solutions currently available in various permutations, all enabling brands to connect with customers one-on-one and increase marketing performance. Perhaps not surprisingly, spend in Martech continues to be a priority for brands and agencies. In fact, over 65% of marketing organizations plan to increase their investments, adding new technologies and systems to the stack in the coming year(s).

As companies strive to build the right marketing stack, they continue to experiment with various combinations of solutions to deliver the business efficiencies and outcomes they require.  This is helping  bridge the gap between IT and marketing teams that traditionally have lived in separate spaces, figuratively and literally.  Despite this, these teams continue to struggle to find a common language and purpose to effectively unlock the potential that is readily available to them.  As a result, only 28% of organizations feel like they are effectively using technology to keep up with the demands of their businesses.

A recent Wipro study found that just 6% of executives believe most of their marketing team is Martech conversant, and more than half consider Martech competency gaps to be a barrier to success.

Marketers seem to understand the “why” behind marketing technology, but only a precious few understand the “how”.  Senior executives are quickly recognizing that the true power of data and technology can only be unlocked with a skilled workforce.

A new dialogue is now starting. Executives are asking themselves, ‘How do we address departmental divides?’, ‘How do we create community and collaboration?’, ‘How do we move from people-driven to process-driven Martech?’, ‘What can we do to upskill our teams?’

Both emerging and seasoned marketers alike are ready, willing, and hungry to learn, but don’t know how to get started. If you count yourself among them, here are my suggestions.

Go back to school

As an educator, it is evident that courses and textbooks continue to lag behind marketing technology’s rapid innovations.  There are limited courses for marketing students and professionals, but a few programs like the CMA Chartered Marketer include a syllabus dedicated to Martech. Some colleges are also striving to keep up with changing demands. Amy Morrell, Chair of Marketing Studies at Centennial College, states ““Educators must be future-focused, particularly in this space. We saw how the convergence of data, tech and content was propelling Marketing 4.0 back in 2015, and now offer courses in digital transformation and an entire program in Digital Engagement Strategy, taught by leading experts.”

Attend the right events

Attending networking events and conferences are also ways to keep up-to-date on case studies and best practices as they become available, often with real-time learnings.  A recent post by Dan Radu on Learning Martech: An Inventory of Resources to Advance Your Knowledge is a bookmark-worthy read. 

Bring the training to you

Champions in the workforce are also helping bring in-house training to organizations like TD, where they have invested in bringing cross-functional teams together. The goal?  To give marketers the confidence to ask the right questions, while pushing traditional IT architects to think more about transformation.

As Devin Sawyer, VP of Digital, Social and Content Marketing at TD, says: “We believe that having a best-in-class Martech stack is critical to enabling our future at TD, however, we also know that people and process is at the foundation to making any technology work. To help, we invest in our teams’ knowledge and capability, to help them understand how to collaborate as a cross-functional team and how to leverage the technology to enable more effective marketing programs. Investing in our people's capability and ways of working are as important (if not more) as our technology.” 

One thing is for sure, we need to embrace these changes. It’s time we recognized the gaps in our expertise,  seek out ways to upskill our teams, and engage in the right training to  fully unlock the power of the Martech Stack.  

By: Luxy Thuraisingam, VP Marketing, Canada, Cisco Systems and a member of the CMA’s Martech Council

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