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Strategic Clarity: The Key to Navigating the Next Stage of Martech Evolution

By Benjamin Bloom | November 28, 2018 | 0 Comments

MarketingTechnology and Emerging Trends

Digital transformation has been on the minds of many marketing technology leaders, who seek to change core business processes and support new ones with more agile technology approaches.  Yet as many of those initiatives bear some initial fruit, do organizations still need their “Chief Digital Officers”?  While elevating digital transformation is one way to attack organizational change, don’t let a strong leader go – leadership and clarity are more important than ever.  


One of the most interesting findings in our 2018 Marketing Technology Survey surrounds the perennial question in large marketing teams: should we go with a best of breed approach or more of an integrated suite approach favoring a single vendor?  In the multichannel marketing hub market, vendors sell collections of technology often comprising multiple acquired firms and some in-house technology. Teams wrestle with this challenge in each renewal cycle.


Despite significant consolidation among marketing technology vendors, the promise of business impact from the Integrated Suite has been slow to become reality, and as a result, many marketing technology teams prefer a Best-of-Breed Approach.  We asked participants about their preferences for a Best of Breed vs. Integrated suite approach, and about their marketing maturity, capability utilization, and overall martech effectiveness.


We found that neither strategy held an absolute advantage; rather, the strength of the preference for either approach was associated with the highest martech effectiveness and the greatest level of capabilities utilized.  The lesson: a clearly understood and communicated preference is an incredibly valuable tool (see Survey Analysis: Maximize Marketing’s Impact by Taking a Best-of-Breed or Integrated Suite Approach to Martech Investments Gartner subscription required)


The complexity of unproven technologies are another way in which clear vision  – that transcends a particular discipline or channel – is a must. Marketing technology leaders expect that the Event-Triggered and Real-Time Campaigns will be the most impactful technologies to gain adoption in the next 5 years (see Marketing Technology Survey 2018: Martech Adoption Surges as Brands Pursue Personalization, Measurement and Advertising Accountability Gartner subscription required).  Yet to prepare for the world where creative scale and speed are massive impediments to algorithmic advertising effectiveness, testing the right approaches will be essential, to establish a proof of concept that can galvanize adoption.


For example, consider Netflix’s approach to using algorithms to optimize ad creative and sequencing compared to pre-configured campaigns around a single narrative.  After using an A/B test to discover that “an always-on ad catalog with personalized delivery outperformed our previous tentpole launch approach” Netflix was able to begin building its unique approach to algorithmic creative selection and just-in-time personalization to improve performance.  That in itself will be a tall order – but one where the marketing technology team took reasonable steps to size the opportunity, and followed a clear roadmap to using technology for business advantage.


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