Well, it’s that time of year, when employees and managers look at the year’s accomplishments and make professional development plans for the year ahead. This year, many martech buyers may wish to call their Integrated Suite into the office for a tough discussion.
Gartner’s 2019 Marketing Technology survey reveals an increasing preference for a Best-of-Breed technology approach, and at the same time, a reduction in the share of buyers indicating they prefer an integrated Suite.
Consolidation has been a substantial trend in martech over the last decade. Megavendors now compete to help enterprises answer an increasingly broad group of challenges–from campaign management, digital advertising, social marketing, mobile marketing, content management, marketing analytics, e-commerce, sales force automation, customer service and more.
Despite the promise of scale and centralized engineering know-how, many users find that the “Marketing Cloud” they purchased still contains substantial gaps, whether a lack of interoperable applications or data models, inconsistent user experiences, feature gaps or incomprehensible solution pricing. When marketers seek to capitalize on the promises of personalization at scale, they often encounter barriers to the portability of customer data and unfulfilled technology expectations. Many vendors are well-known for selling a vision/roadmap that is 12-18 months ahead of the current product.
Our survey reveals that buyers with a Best-of-Breed preference report higher levels of marketing technology utilization and effectiveness (see “Survey Analysis: Maximize Marketing Technology Effectiveness by Balancing Best-of-Breed Solutions With Integrated Suites” Gartner subscription required). his amounts to an empowering validation for buyers seeking to assemble a constellation of point solutions, backed by an integration muscle and renewed collaboration with IT (see “Marketing Technology Survey 2019: Marketers Boost Martech Efficacy Through Disciplined Planning and Collaboration With IT” Gartner subscription required).
So are the Integrated Suites finally listening? Feedback is a gift, so they say. Many of the largest vendors have been hard at work on the core infrastructure that runs their applications, announcing new data models, integration services, and even customer data platforms (see “What Multichannel Marketers Need From Customer Data Platforms” Gartner Subscription required). Gaps in training and customer success are the most consistent source of end-user dissatisfaction identified in the Magic Quadrant for Multichannel Marketing Hubs (see “Why Marketers Choose Multichannel Marketing Hubs” Gartner Subscription required)
So that’s the feedback. What about next year?
For vendors, continue to make investments in accelerating enablement. Focus on customer success and drive feature-level adoption through knowledge-sharing and training communities.
Buyers should compare vendor solutions (even those from large enterprise software companies like Adobe, Oracle, Salesforce or SAP) on an apples-to-apples basis against what is currently in the product or a specific module, rather than assuming they’ll “grow into” the solution while the vendor iterates on the promised roadmap.
Choose your marketing technology based on a sound business case and a firm enablement plan. Our survey also finds that the top barriers to achieving martech objectives are talent, training and integration capabilities; marketers should ask to see a typical customer success and adoption plan, and to speak to customer references about their experiences. When making strategic plans for technology utilization, incorporate consumer insights and data privacy into any personalization initiatives (see “Gartner Predicts 80% of Marketers Will Abandon Personalization Efforts by 2025”)
What should your stretch goal be? Strive for greater customer understanding rather than chasing a 360-degree view of the customer- an ideal that few achieve (see “What Marketers Need to Know About Customer Data” Gartner subscription required). Good luck and best wishes for an amazing 2020.