Earlier this year in our last State of Martech report – the only dedicated research into the marketing technology (martech) landscape – we wrote about the concept of Nextopia. There is evidence that many marketers are on the lookout for the next ‘shiny’ new technology and at the same time failing to make best use of their existing technologies. This isn’t a new trend, but an issue that has been befalling the martech industry for a few years now.  

The 2022 edition of our research found that 30% of marketers suggest they cannot fully utilise their martech but 34% still plan to buy more in the next 12 months.  

Nextopia Drivers 

Purchasing new software is a proposition that can be hard to resist, as vendors frequently release new software and platforms, with large marketing budgets and sales teams behind them.  

At the same time, marketers are continually striving to keep up with evolving technology, market and buyer trends. New technologies can be seen as a ‘quick fix’ by marketers keen to make a fast, visible impact with a solution that the business needs.  

Nextopia Challenges 

Whilst these drivers are understandable, the Nextopia mindset can present several challenges when executed poorly: 

  • Over-promising and/or under-delivering: A technology solution is over-hyped and over-sold at the start, but quickly underused and forgotten by the organisation as it incorporates into ‘business as usual’, resulting in long term damage to the credibility of the Marketing function. 
  • Opportunity cost: The focus on new technology solutions requires significant investment, in cost but also increasingly in time, from numerous stakeholders. This comes with an ‘opportunity cost’: other projects aren’t able to progress as planned, and other marketing activities don’t happen, with the time instead used for running procurement and implementation programmes on the new martech solution desired. 
  • Distraction from business challenges: Nextopia often disguises the underlying challenges faced by a marketing organisation, including unintegrated data silos, unclear processes and misaligned, unpersonalised customer journeys filled with friction. Ultimately these challenges will need to be addressed regardless of the legacy technology ‘stack’.  

Introducing Sustainable Martech 

There is definitely a better way. Sustainable martech is a mindset shift and is achieved through simplicity. For context, the average number of martech apps organisations have is 90 (Source: Chief Martech) 

In our State of Martech 2022 report, 44% of marketers stated that they have marketing technology platforms which have largely gone unused.  

There are green shoots to show that the situation is changing. In an exclusive preview of some of the State of Martech 2023 findings – a report we will release in March 2023 - we can reveal that B2B2C businesses in the US, EU and UK reported the largest increase in full martech stack integration between SOM22 and SOM23 (45.0% to 48.2%). Full martech stack integration for B2C was largely unchanged between SOM22 and SOM23 (39.7% to 40.6%). B2B organisations reported a decrease in full martech stack integration between SOM22 and SOM23 (39.6% to 27.4%). 

In short, we believe marketers need to think: reduce, reuse and recycle first!  

The good news is that sustainability and integration are the combined solution – more on that below. They are the common dual keys to a successful marketing and martech strategy, implementation activities and data sets. The mindset is relevant to and achievable by all industries, sizes of companies and business models. 

Sustainability through integration 

When we launched the concept of the Martech Spine©, an operating architecture to aid simplified, integrated and optimised martech instead of a complex stack, it was with the knowledge that some martech platforms are more critical than others in ensuring whether marketing is successful.  

An integrated spine also acts like an orchestra. With the platforms effectively moving data flows in real-time from one to another, reporting is faster, more insightful and useful to the business.  

Sustainability through simplification 

At a recent Clevertouch event, Adam Sharp, our CEO and founder said: “Build a strategy around: a simpler spine over stack approach; increased adoption of useful tech; integration and driving fewer insights that matter.” He underlined the importance of long-term adoption of technologies.   

For larger or more complex organisations, simplification software can be added. In response to client needs, over five years ago we developed a unique piece of software called Momentum. It allows marketers to create assets and campaigns in minutes using your existing best practice templates, with bespoke technology that works for your business.  

Marketing teams at our clients, including Atos, Fujitsu and Robert Walters make effective use of Momentum to increase adoption of their marketing platforms with just 30 minutes of training. 

More marketers are adopting this kind of software: in our State of Martech 2023 report, 74% of organisations have implemented simplification technologies and processes, up from 26.3% in 2022.  

When migration or new technology makes sense 

Now is the time to say that moving a platform to another or adding a new one may be business critical. Perhaps the broader business strategy means that a single vendor or supplier is needed across sales, marketing, customer service, customer communications and other functions. Perhaps one part of the Martech Spine is simply not capable of achieving certain tasks, be it campaign capabilities, hyper-personalisation or providing useful data.  

In those situations, as just two examples, it’s important to approach the idea of a platform migration or addition with eyes wide open to the costs, complexities and timelines needed. A platform is never a quick fix but an enabler and an investment in the future.  

We’ll release our State of Martech report in Spring 2023. In the meantime, if you’d like to talk to us for an independent assessment of your martech needs, get in touch