The expectations for marketers between the C-suite and customer have never been higher and are putting the squeeze on the department. On one side, customers expect you to know them, but not know too much. On the other side, the C-suite expects you to show an ROI or some kind of return like you’ve been promising for years now. The tools are there, more than 6,000 of them according to the latest infographic by Chiefmartech. That’s led to some 90% of marketers stating that their biggest challenge is finding technology that aligns with their brand.
Breaking It Down … A Little
Leading analysts at Forrester have taken the step of simplifying the 6,000+ solutions and 50 categories into 20 different segments for the Forrester Tech Tide™: Martech for B2C Marketers, Q2 2018. While getting this far was a big step and involved a lot of manpower, the question remains whether it will be of help for the majority of marketers.
With that said, here are some insights from the Forrester Tech Tide to consider as you review the guide for yourself.
Channel Agnostic on the Rise, Silos on the Decline
This is great news for everyone, but especially less than enterprise-scale companies. Consumers expect an omnichannel experience. Being channel agnostic makes that cross-channel communication easier for the marketer, and let’s face it, it’s smart business for vendors looking for suitors to invest in or acquire them. Silos, while maybe providing some minimal security measures, ultimately limit the utility of the information. And without custom-code and dedicated IT resources, integrating silos is an arduous and unnecessary step.
The analyst at Forrester applied three criteria to arrive at 20 segments. First, Efficiency and effectiveness. Essentially, does the solution do what it says it will do and does it better enable the marketer? This is obviously important for anyone to consider. Second, does it work on an Enterprise scale? This might be less necessary for many organizations, especially smaller and more agile teams. It could be ultimately critical for the really large organizations that Forrester typically works with. Lastly Market traction, whether the technology is being broadly accepted and moving forward. While this can provide guidance for the risk-averse, it could also block any first-mover advantage of adopting a technology early that could prove critical, especially if it is exactly what the audience needs.
Business Value Rankings
Forrester divides the 20 fields into a matrix of “Invest” and “Maintain” offering proven “High Business Value,” with “Experiment” and “Divest” expected to produce “Low Business Value.” These will provide some guidance for brands, but it ultimately depends where the brands are on their current journey and where their audience is. The information in this document is directed at enterprise-level B2C organizations. By all accounts, these could be well ahead of other organizations, and mid-size B2B companies could have very different needs, for example. The majority of the solutions listed are in the Invest and Maintain segments. But because they are limited to solutions that: a. can operate at enterprise scale, and b. have market traction; companies shouldn’t be afraid to look outside of these areas. For example, while a large enterprise might find it OK to Experiment with Influencer Marketing Solutions, industries such as Destination and Travel marketing that have seen the proven benefits of influencer marketing might want to dedicate significant resources to this area right now.
Brand First, Technology Forward
Martech vendors and entrepreneurs will always be ready to provide “just one more solution,” but that’s not necessarily what brands need. What do they need? Marketing should be brand first, but technology forward. Starting brand first ensures that the strategy and message get distilled to its purest form. Then, with the guidance of a tech roadmap, the technology can be implemented that enables them to engage their audience where they are now and where they’re headed. Rather than rushing to be the first to add the 7,000th marketing tool developed, marketers should get proficient at utilizing that technology to its maximum potential. Then follow the roadmap and build out their tech stack to stay in step with their audience.