MarTech: what's all the fuss about?

The migration to new media, the increasing ROI measurability of digital, and rapid technological advancements have given birth to the latest XTech.

In some industries MarTech is perhaps a toddler more than a newborn, but it is undeniable that the buzz around MarTech is at its height. Marketing has become one of the most technology-dependent functions in business, Marketing Technologist jobs are on the rise and according to this MarTech Technology Landscape; while in 2011 there were only 150 MarTech companies listed, by 2017 that number had exploded to almost 5,000. It is no passing phase and should be harnessed by brands looking to stay relevant. So, what is Martech? Why is it important? And how should you implement it in your brand strategy? What is MarTech? As you may have guessed, MarTech is the intersect of marketing and technology. Every piece of technology a marketer uses to reach a potential customer is MarTech According to Chief Marketing Technologist author Scott Brinker, the term applies to “major initiatives, efforts and tools that harness technology to achieve marketing goals and objectives.” Techopedia further explains that any type of technology that has a bearing on marketing operations can be called "MarTech" whether it is a part of an analysis platform, a device-facing benchmark tool, or any other type of digital or high-tech resource. John Koetsier, mobile economist at Tune echoes this with his summary that "every piece of technology a marketer uses to reach a potential customer is MarTech, from an email marketing system like MailChimp to social media marketing platform like HootSuite."

Why should you use Martech? MarTech is the financially-savvy choice: well implemented MarTech saves time and money. MarTech gives marketers tools to analyse huge quantities of data and provides real-time insights, freeing up time for more involved matters. Technology and data can help deliver highly targeted marketing, allowing campaign-changing decisions to be made when they matter most. This contributes to an enhanced customer experience, better campaign results and ultimately increased revenue.

How to use MarTech in your brand strategy

  • Start with your ‘why’, not your ‘how’

MarTech is about building, managing, delivering and optimizing campaigns. It should not, and cannot replace your marketing strategy. MarTech is an add-on which will help you achieve your objectives more easily and more cost- and time-effectively. So, as always, start with a clear understanding of your objectives. Seek recommendations of providers and solutions from industry insiders and start to build a list of requirements, being sure to separate the must-haves from the nice-to-haves. Evaluate providers using this list with your overall objectives front of mind. This will help you judge the cost-benefit ratio and ensure your choices are the right decision for your brand, right now. Budget note: MarTech companies usually operate on a software-as-a-service model, or SaaS. So, you’ll pay vendors a yearly fee to use software.

  • Work with a marketing technologist

MarTech will be ineffective if it is not in the hands of a good marketing technologist. Ideally you want someone with a strong analytical background and a good attention to detail. A background in both technology and marketing is preferable, but a fast learner with a passion for MarTech can be just as good. If there is no suitable candidate in-house, you can choose to outsource to a large agency or work with a suitably qualified freelancer on a project-by-project basis, which can help build internal capability.

  • Learn from early adopters

There is no need to reinvent the wheel. Look at companies that are already using MarTech to their advantage and learn from them, both their successes and failures – but remember no two MarTech stacks are the same. For example, KPMG Small Business Accounting’s objective is to generate a consistent stream of high-quality leads, while Webinar platform ON24’s top priority is to engage with customers and maintain a clear view of their experiences. So, the mix of tools these businesses use really differ. If you’re interested in the people behind the brands, follow these industry heroes to see how MarTech is successful in practice.

  • Keep it human

Don’t forget about your human side. MarTech should support creativity, not overwhelm it. MarTech is not a replacement of the human element. In fact, it should free up time to spend on the high-value personal aspects of your marketing campaigns, such as delivering engaging messages to strengthen customer relationships.

  • Don’t drink the Kool-Aid

There is no need to complicate matters more than necessary. MarTech is a tool to simplify processes, not obfuscate them. Don’t fall victim to the smoke and mirrors that may be pitched to you. Stay focused on your objectives and invest in tools which suit your brand, not just flavour-of-the-months.

Want to learn more? Head on over to the anti-conference #MarTechFest, coming to London in October, or skip the crowds and read about the 4P’s of MarTech, which are the basis for the conference. Or, if you’re in the mood for a bit of literary satisfaction, can check out the Marketing & Technology book club.

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