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Are you working too hard, or hardly working?

Work smart, not hard

In a recent CMO Spend survey from some of my industry peers over at Gartner (Jake Sorofman, Yvonne Genovesee, and Anna Maria Virzi (hi Anna Maria!)), a couple of stats truly jumped out at me.

  1. 33 percent of marketing budgets are now spent on Marketing Technology (MarTech).
  2. 56 percent of marketers ranked customer experience as one of their top five MarTech objectives. 

You see, these two stats represent the current industry landscape because the two points go hand-in-hand and now is the time to make the most of them. Too many times we see companies that are wrapped up in the tactical execution of what they need to accomplish, rather than the more important strategic planning. It becomes more about getting something done than it is about taking the right steps to get there. What I see as a challenge for companies is ensuring that MarTech and customer experience (CX) are at the top of the organization’s priorities.

Customer experience matters

In a world where we all specialize in what it is we are good at, companies are going to need to either rent or partner with technology that helps them provide a “close to perfect” CX.  We see in business after business, that exceeding customer expectations is a key differentiator in growing consumer loyalty and resonance when you extend your brand through advertising.

According to our own research here at Adestra, email is the preferred communication channel to communicate with your customers, beating yet again telephone, social media, online video, display and search. Yet, time after time we see underinvestment in this key channel. Whether it’s the platform, the ESP itself, data science, creative, or even basic segmentation, companies must look to the key expectations of the consumer and ensure that the investment is commensurate.
Good customer service makes a difference
But, what if the challenge for marketers is not just about the allocation of spend to MarTech to build our CX efforts and it’s more about what is behind the scenes that slow us down?

The new normal

In a recent conversation with an industry analyst, he remarked that there’s been a fundamental shift in the way companies see alignment with partners. It is no longer about the hub, stack, or consolidated companies. It’s more about finding that best-in-class technology that meets their current and future needs. One that can quickly and efficiently integrate with other leading technologies. The ecosystem approach paired with a best-in-class support offering is the trifecta that is the new “normal” for evaluating solutions.

So, if 33 percent or approximately $127.7 million of your marketing budget is dedicated to MarTech, then it is only reasonable that a good piece of that should go to key elements of infrastructure such as your CRM, as well as marketing automation systems.

But digging a bit deeper, in a follow-up article by Chief Martec‘s Scott Brinker, who reached out to the author of the above mentioned Gartner survey Jake Sorofman, this 33 percent or $127.7 million breaks down as follows:

  • 4 percent – marketing and analytics software purchased as a service
  • 28 percent – infrastructure to run marketing software
  • 3 percent – internal IT cross-charges
  • 2 percent – external services to develop, implement, and integrate marketing applications
  • 1 percent – other

What I found interesting (and I agree with Scott), is that marketing teams are spending more on external services (25.2 percent), implementation experts and alike, than they are with their own technology departments (21.3 percent).  What this all means is that we need a dual focus as marketers.

First, we need to ensure that our efforts are more in line with the norms laid out by Gartner.  Now, it’s not about perfect alignment or saying that it’s a benchmark, but it’s a deep introspection into our allocation of efforts along with the separation of strategy and tactics.  Which leads me into my second point.

Ensure that the solutions you’re examining have a key focus on the technology, the service and the integration.  The decision for MarTech solutions is not just about the technology, it’s about the service.  That service compresses your lag time between onboarding and full operation but also your long term support.

*Title image via Flickr. 

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