MarTech, which is the coming together of marketing and technology has been described as one of ‘the greatest management challenges of the 21st century’. With over 8000 MarTech platforms in a fast-changing market, it’s not hard to see why.
MarTech is currently one of the biggest expenses in marketing budgets, accounting for over 26% of total budget allocation. Whilst there is no doubt that organisations are investing heavily in MarTech, it isn’t without its challenges. 25% of marketers say they are unable to use the MarTech their company has invested in and a further 25% feel remorseful for choosing the solutions they did in the first place. So why do so many marketing organisations get it wrong?
MarTech’s Law and what is means for marketers
‘Martech’s Law’ is a phenomenon that describes the rate at which marketing technology and innovation advances vs the rate at which organisations adopt and adapt to it. In short, Martechs law illustrates that technology is changing much faster than organizations can.
Knowing this, as modern marketers is important, as it puts into context the realities we face when attempting to absorb MarTech into an organisation. Often marketing organisations under-estimate how hard it will be to embed new technology and under-estimate the time and effort it takes to effectively scale it. Attracted by the allure of the many solutions out there – marketers can take on too much too soon and can be left with technology that has done little to deliver the benefits that it claimed to provide.
Whilst the rate of technological change is beyond our control, what we can control as marketers is;
· The rate in which we implement new technologies
· How much technology we choose to adopt, given the challenges the organisation will face to absorb the change.
· The flexibility we choose to adopt through the choices we make in MarTech
Taking control to navigate the best MarTech outcomes
The rate in which we implement new technologies
There are a number of levers at marketers disposal that aid in faster adoption of technology. Some of the key ones include how we collaborate and align with IT and our adoption of new ways to working.
As marketing departments now spend more money on tech than IT departments – a healthy and productive relationship between IT and marketing departments has never been more important. Too often we see marketing departments trying to go it alone on MarTech implementation. And whilst marketers understand the customer and the business need, IT have the skills and expertise to ensure it is effectively integrated and supported within the technology environment. For collaboration to be successful, there must be a unified vision, shared goals, clear accountabilities and the right oversight to govern the outcomes.
In addition, in a world where so much changes over a 2 – 3 year period, it only makes sense that MarTech delivery is managed through a more iterative, agile approach. Adopting an agile approach and delivering value early and often can keep project morale and engagement high as well as deliver immediate results for customers and the business. It also enables you to demonstrate value to stakeholders which creates belief and buy-in for the project and others.
How much technology we choose to adopt, given the challenges the organisation will face to absorb the change.
Generally speaking, the larger an organisation is, the slower the rate of change and the greater the level of institutionalised resistance.
If there is one major takeaway from MarTechs law, it is that an organisations rate of change absorption will never outpace the speed of technological advancement – this must be accepted. Organisational context and readiness is therefore a critical consideration when deciding how much MarTech you try to absorb.
Regardless of size, marketing organisations need to decide which technologies will deliver the greatest benefit and double down on those that are of most strategic importance. Whilst larger organisations might have the means to throw money at more MarTech – it doesn’t necessarily correlate with better outcomes. The marketing departments experience and track record in embedding and leveraging MarTech is a better indicator of how much technology to adopt at any given time than the size of its budget. As a rule of thumb, we usually recommend departments remain focused on no more than 2 or 3 to build maturity and derive value.
The flexibility we choose to adopt through the choices we make in MarTech
As MarTech’s law illustrates the rate of technological change is such that the decisions we make today may no longer be the right ones in the years ahead. Whilst we can only make decisions based on the information at hand, we have the ability to ensure our MarTech stack is built and integrated in a way that the stack can more easily evolve and adapt in the future. Heavily customised solutions or those which require custom integrations can create more rigidity and lock you into solutions that may no longer effectively serve your needs. This is why collaboration with IT is vital as they can help guide decision making in the early stages of platform selection through to delivery to ensure your MarTech stack has the flexibility it needs.
Follow Arktic Fox for regular thoughts and insights for customer and marketing leaders.