Blog post

Make Martech Investments for an Imperfect World

By Mike McGuire | July 27, 2020 | 0 Comments

(Warning: Slightly discursive introduction – but I have a point!)

The original Grateful Dead were known for sometimes having interminably long spaces between songs where band members would fiddle with tuning instruments or mucking about with the latest piece of music technology.  Inevitably, Bob Weir, guitarist and vocalist, would turn to the audience  and say, “We’re just trying to make everything just exactly perfect.”

Deadheads are nothing if not forgiving.

Marketing tactics and the world are almost never “just exactly perfect” and customers are almost never forgiving.

Investing in marketing technology platforms or tools is, from one perspective, an objective process of evaluating features/functionality to solve a problem or enable a new capability for a marketing team.  But if we don’t acknowledge that our martech investments and marketing strategies are often operating in an imperfect world, we are decreasing our flexibility and resilience.

But what the economic slowdown that started in late 2019 and was exacerbated by the COVID pandemic shows us is that our technology choices can and should enable much more.  These unique and trying times point to the fact that marketers need to make tech investments on the ability of a platform or tool to enable campaigns in the world that is at any moment in time.

Put it this way: a platform’s ability to enable marketers to successfully deliver messages that align with customer needs to create the environment for a conversion event to happen in a relatively stable market is what it’s supposed to do.  When instabilities happen – like right now – that platform and our strategies must let us be flexible and resilient.

Tune Your Martech Stack to Maximize Flexibility, Resilience

That theme of resiliency is core to the Hype Cycle for Digital Marketing, 2020 (subscription required).  In particular, we highlight a number of technologies and technology enabled capabilities that are important to short- and long-term resiliency of our marketing strategies. (Our colleagues in the advertising world face similar disruptions and some that are unique to the advertising space. For more detail, check out the Hype Cycle for Digital Advertising, 2020, subscription required.)

When you review those Hype Cycles – or check out related articles that illustrate the demands for resiliency — consider that as much as anything, the time call for us not to prepare for a return to normal.  Instead, consider how we use our technology investments to restructure our marketing narratives and strategies to thrive in a world that’s pretty chaotic now but has never really been “just exactly perfect.”


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