How to build (and manage) the optimum tech stack?

CleverTouch were recently involved in B2B Marketing’s interactive webinar – How to build and manage the optimum tech stack? – an event that brought together a mix of leading MarTech experts to discuss the skills, resources and processes needed to build an effective tech stack.

And if there was one thing to take away it would be this:

Whilst it’s true that your tech stack should host the right mix of platforms, the key to success is to first build a robust MarTech spine that can deliver consolidated digital experiences and tangible attribution.

The MarTech Spine, and more, was covered in the webinar Q&A’s with CleverTouch’s CEO & Co-founder – Adam Sharp -and are summarised below.

How do you build or set up your marketing team to get the most or best out of MarTech?

The first thing to recognise is that the marketing skills that helped us become competent marketers, those that are taught by Universities and Associations, are not as relevant as they once were. New titles and responsibilities are being developed all the time that reflect the new skills and capabilities currently in demand.

The second thing to consider is that digital or MarTech is not an adjacent function to be owned by IT, a Data department or a Digital team, it is now central to all Marketing Functions. Smart marketing organisations are establishing and resourcing “marketing operations” teams to deliver better MarTech.

Going to the very top, the standardisation of processes and ownership of the data/privacy agenda is now a vital part of Marketing’s agenda and key to the successful CMO.

How much does the CMO need to know about MarTech, and how does it work within your marketing team?

Lets put it this way, if the CMO is in the platform that is a recipe for disaster. Equally, if they think the existing marketing team can just upskill, that is a disaster too. That is just adding undue stress and burden to a pretty busy function already.

The smart CMOs have to understand the potential of MarTech and translate what it can do for the business in business terms. For example, delivering a better CX or driving the privacy and data protection compliance – it is not just about filling the funnel and lead generation. In fact, there is a trend amongst CMOs now that is moving away from building Central Demand Centres to building a central team that can share governance and best practices around MarTech across the business.

If a CMO is in a tech business that is born digital then the role is easy. The challenge and the real fun starts for  CMOs that are taking a legacy business digital, then the role is about change management and not deploying technology as a technology fashionista might.

How do you balance ensuring you get ROI from your existing platforms with evaluating and understanding what’s new?

MROI can come from making money, saving money or providing new insight or intelligence. It is more than just creating leads. That said, the majority of marketers struggle to attribute revenue contribution to marketing effort.  That is a woeful place to be, continually chasing your tail and looking in the past to justify existence, when the rest of the business is looking forward, forecasting and looking to predict future outcomes.

To solve much of this is pretty simple, all companies have to do at the start it is create a robust MarTech spine, joining up the CMS to the MA, to the CRM and finally to the analytics platform.

How important is a roadmap in terms of guiding your future tech stack development? How difficult is this to put together? 

In software, roadmaps as a statement of direction used to be everything, with formal version control, even more formal G.A. releases and an unveiling ceremony worthy of a car show. With the rise of SAAS, releases are more frequent, more agile and released in ever-faster incremental sprints.

Rather than looking at the roadmap, the most important thing to focus on is the quality of the leadership, the company vision and direction, and their financial viability too.

To what extent should the development, availability and cost on new tech drive your marketing strategy? How much should you believe the hype?

We work in an industry of trends, fashions and seasons – A few years ago it was Big Data, then ABM, then Predictive, Machine Learning and now AI. What even was Big Data? Where has it gone? The message here is that the CMO needs to cut through the hype, examine the business reasons for implementing underlying technologies and not just follow the latest trends.

Integration used to be the Achilles Heal of marketing technology, is this still the case?

Yes. Companies want to join up the dots, the problem is marketing has got rid of multiple spreadsheets and are busy replacing them with multiple tech tools in the race to build out a stack. It is one of 5 big Achilles heels for Marketing and MarTech. Here are the 5……..

  1. Integration
  2. Simplification
  3. Insight & Intelligence
  4. Skills & OD Development
  5. Proving ROI

We discuss these 5 points, and more, in our latest report – the State of Marketing Automation and Adoption.

What can we expect from the future of MarTech in B2B? Is it just more-more-more or are there subtle nuances that will determine success?

When we started CleverTouch there were less than 100 marketing-related technology vendors out there – now there are over 7000 and, on average, 3 new vendors joining the landscape every day. The space is growing busy and overcrowded to say the least.

In the future smart CMOs will move away from building out their MarTech Stack and they will focus on getting their MarTech Spine right (this is the CMS to MA to CRM to BI). They will also focus on acquisition and retention of skills development, apportioning an economic value to the business and guardianship of their customer and prospect data- All of this should take priority before they add any more technologies out there.

The good news is that B2B, so often the ugly child of marketing, is leading the MarTech knowledge and thinking; B2C is moving off AdTech and Transactional Marketing in favour of MarTech. Whilst B2C has a lot of catching up to do, they can at last look up to and learn from players in the B2B space.