Budget allocation question: Is there such a thing as too much martech?
The soundness of the marketing strategy is what is important, not the percentage of the budget dedicated to technology.
For anyone still questioning martech’s proliferation and impact on our business, Gartner’s annual CMO Spend Survey has effectively put those doubts to rest.
Among the survey findings, the share of marketing budgets dedicated to martech rose by nearly a third in the past year, from 22 percent to 29 percent, making martech the single largest area of investment for marketers.
In many ways, this is a natural progression. The very nature of marketing has dramatically shifted in this decade, with emphasis on digital and mobile channels that lend themselves to martech-enabled management. So marketers are turning to martech solutions to replace what was previously manual or analog processes and seeing their capabilities, utility and efficiency increase.
But the growth of investment and the primacy of martech within the marketing budget raises an important forward-looking question: Is there, or will there be, a tipping point? And have we, as marketers, already become over-reliant on martech?
The answers hinge on whether marketers have the right strategies in place that can be supported by the technology. If the martech is deployed to fulfill the right strategy, there’s no such thing as too much martech. The danger for marketers, however, lies in implementing technology for technology’s sake, without having a solid strategic framework in place beforehand.
For many marketers, the right strategy will be a people-based marketing strategy.
The martech tools that are proficient at enabling people-based marketing are those that support the creation of a single customer view and provide automation layers robust enough to create consistent, unified customer experiences.
Martech means more data. Yay.
The range of tools available to help marketers understand, target and communicate with consumers is vast. But those that can consolidate and analyze data across multiple touchpoints and channels are extremely valuable in terms of creating a single customer view – the bedrock of a people-based marketing strategy. Capturing customers’ activity online, in-store, on a social network and from every brand interaction is critical for this effort, and is exactly why marketers are looking for martech tools that go beyond the capabilities of a simple CRM to gain real insight into their customers.
By doing so, these next-level martech tools give marketers the ability to reach customers (and potential customers) as individuals, leveraging all the customer data available to put the right offer or message in front of them at the right time. This customer-centricity is at the heart of people-based marketing and is powered by the effective use of data and the martech tools to collect and utilize it. This also illustrates the most effective relationship between martech and strategy – the technological capabilities supporting the organization-wide commitment to people-first marketing, rather than adapting a strategy to the functionality of the martech tools at hand.
The fact is, martech makes creating a single customer view – and then executing a people-based strategy – much easier. By combining data collection and the organization’s understanding of its customers, marketers can achieve personalization and relevance that drive successful marketing initiatives and yield positive business outcomes.
Automation and decisioning
Other martech tools that can help marketers get closer to enabling people-based marketing are automated decisioning systems. These systems, which have become more common in marketing departments in recent years, allow brands to deliver more personalized, natural, tailored marketing. Decisioning systems can manage a wide range of marketing activities, from customer data evaluation to offers and promotions to loyalty program interactions.
Most importantly, automated decisioning unifies the brand experience from the customer’s perspective, creating consistency that encourages loyalty. This is particularly important for enterprise-level marketers that manage multiple banners or brands.
If marketers use martech tools to support a broader people-based marketing strategy, they don’t have to worry about using too much technology. It’s the soundness of the approach that’s important, not the percentage of the marketing budget dedicated to technology.
And if marketers continue to make people-based marketing a priority, it doesn’t matter if next year’s Gartner report shows 30 percent of budgets allocated for martech, or 35 percent or 40 percent – marketers will get the business outcomes they need.
So no, there’s no such thing as too much martech.
Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily MarTech. Staff authors are listed here.