How to navigate MarTech pitfalls and increase your chances of success

Updated: Jan 5

We’re aware that MarTech has taken the industry by storm, but many organisations are still grappling with how to effectively harness it. The Arktic Fox and Michael Page Marketing State of Play report, found that when it came to MarTech, the number one challenge facing marketing teams is their ability to embed and implement marketing technology (40%), followed by their ability to demonstrate return (33%).

When we look a little closer at the data there were a couple of key findings which help us to understand what is impacting marketers' ability to extract and demonstrate value. The first is related to investment levels. In many departments across the country investment in MarTech is at extremely low levels – with nearly half of leaders suggesting less than 10% of their marketing investment goes to MarTech. But it isn’t just investment levels alone that make or break success – it is how that investment is made. Too often we see investment in the tech alone with little to no investment being made to build skills and knowledge of teams to effectively leverage the tech. Without the knowledge and expertise to effectively leverage the platform, maturity can't be built.


We also know from the findings that 29% of marketing leaders feel they can’t find vendors to support their needs or those they can trust. This is a worrying statistic but not surprising given the rapid growth in the industry. Without a depth of knowledge or expertise it is difficult for marketing teams to navigate the sea of potential vendors and partners within the market and this can often lead to partnering with the wrong provider. This can be the difference between success or failure.

In order to help marketers to navigate the landscape, we sat down with Damon McMillan, Chief Marketing Technologist and Co-Founder of Blended Digital to unpack some of the many challenges facing marketers when it comes to MarTech and how brands can avoid the pitfalls and put their best foot forward.


This is what he had to say:


Q. What are the most common mistakes you see marketers' make when embedding and implementing Martech and how can they avoid them?


A. The first common mistake we often see is clients throwing technology at problems, and in turn expecting better results. Without an internal champion/team focussed on extracting value from technology, results will only be marginal.


The other big one relates to clarity of strategy. A lack of defined strategy will inadvertently force marketers to allow technology to inform the strategy, and more often than not, fall short of the customer experience they are trying to provide. The crowded marTech landscape makes it difficult for marketers to navigate and ultimately make the right decisions when it comes to technology. Having a clear and concise vision, strategy, and set of requirements is paramount to making the best technology decisions.


Q. How important is the relationship between marketing and IT to drive success?


A. It’s not just important – it is essential. Marketing teams often ask for the IT-less approach where possible. The problem with this approach is that IT teams hold the keys to important systems and subsequently data which marketers need to leverage to create great customer experiences. Whilst marTech has put a lot more data in the hands of the marketer, relationships with IT are as important as ever. Data points required to augment, enhance and enrich data available to marketers can be the difference between good CX and great CX.


Q. To better equip themselves to navigate the journey what skills and knowledge do you feel marketers need to acquire?


A. There's no degree for marketing technology, which means that research, networking and self-educating is the only means of building knowledge. Marketers are showing a vulnerability to not having a full view on what makes a successful integration. Leveraging the right resources (sometimes external) will provide the right support. An organisation that is prepared to absorb knowledge and invite external support has the best chance of succeeding.


Q. There are so many things to consider when procuring marTech (too many to name) but when you go through a due-diligence process what are some of the MUST dos to ensure you are procuring the most appropriate platform?


A. This goes back to procuring the right tech for your business. We often see marketers make decisions based on other businesses they've worked in, or looked at competitors to help decide what is right for them. No two businesses are exactly the same. A clearly defined set of requirements which is driven by strategy and objectives is a good place to start. Only allow tech vendors the creative free license once they have proven that they have satisfied all requirements.


Culture is just as important as tech capabilities. Given most engagements are a minimum of 24 months, it's important to consider how your two organisations will work together. The right choice in technology vendor will act as a trusted advisor and be with you at every step of the way.

Q. When it comes to measurement and return what advice can you give to marketers who are struggling to demonstrate return to the business?


A. It's important for marketers to tie metrics back to business objectives and clearly define success metrics upfront to ensure the business can measure effectiveness from day 1.


Those struggling to prove return should look internally before trying to benchmark against others. Ensuring that month on month, quarter on quarter and year on year metrics are trending in the right direction. We often see lack of transparency, or poor business results tied directly to a poorly implemented, or poorly integrated ecosystem.


Need help navigating the marTech landscape? We are partnering with an array of brands to provide independent advice and support to help you build your marTech strategy and undertake a robust vendor selection process.

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