When you buy marketing software, know that you are buying into an ecosystem
The right martech can make or break your organization. Columnist Jeffrey L. Cohen explains why a well-connected tech stack and an open platform are key to marketing success.
Marketing can no longer function without technology. There certainly are instances where it’s gone too far and technology is now driving marketing. But most modern marketers start with the strategy and add the technology needed to achieve it.
While it may seem obvious that marketing technology makes companies more efficient, making the wrong choices, especially in favor of systems that can’t be integrated, could lead to your own marketing nightmare. According to eConsultancy, 56 percent of marketers report that non-integrated technology platforms are a leading obstacle to achieving success with marketing technology.
Any marketing technology on your wish list needs to align with the martech you already own. This will help reduce silos in your marketing organization.
The average marketing technology stack contains 17 tools, so buying into an existing ecosystem helps ensure things work together. And the pool of choices just keeps increasing. The latest estimates indicate that there are nearly 4,000 marketing solutions available.
Marketers need to spend time focused on strategy and innovation and not worrying about technology integration. A well-connected tech stack with hundreds of pre-integrated apps and data providers helps create a data-driven customer experience easier, faster and at less cost.
Be more open
The right marketing system can make all the difference. If you choose a closed system, you will find yourself making decisions based on how the technology works.
An open system allows you to make decisions based on how you work. This creates an environment where marketing strategy and creativity are enhanced and expanded by the technology.
Marketers should consider technology architecture that’s easy to manage and structured around open, secure connections. Choosing the right marketing platform really comes down to configuration and control.
“Extensible” is a technology buzzword that simply means something that can be extended. An extensible marketing technology is one that can be easily extended with the addition of other software.
This can be easy or hard, depending on the approach. Prebuilt integrations with popular CRM (customer relationship management) programs make this easier for marketers.
There’s an app for that
We are all consumers living in a mobile-driven world. Everyone — including marketers — is used to downloading apps on their mobile devices to interact with their favorite brands or solve specific problems.
Marketing technology needs to exist in this same world, where the ease of selection and integration is a given, not an afterthought — or even nonexistent.
A plug-and-play experience with integrated partners will change how marketers think about integrating technology. You might remember downloading drivers from the internet, locating serial numbers on a dusty disk in the back of your filing cabinet or being unable to solve incompatibility issues without the help of the IT department — and yes, the whole department. Those days are gone.
A world of possibilities is now available with an open architecture-based system. A truly open platform means partners can tap into the platform and build even more system connectors.
Data plays a role, too
An open platform is necessary to drive innovation and success in marketing. In addition to being an extensible system, data flexibility is important.
Data is like water and will take the path of least resistance. But that’s not always the best option. Sometimes data needs to flow in two directions. And sometimes you need to easily change the data flow and filter it when you introduce changes to the system.
Marketers don’t need to access their data directly, but they may need to give a partner access to the data. That is possible in an open platform.
This means that if a particular integration is not available, you can easily work with a technology partner to build one. This is another reason to make sure your marketing technology system is built on an open platform.
Modern marketers need the support of technology, but they want to avoid needing the support of their IT department.
The right technology provides a less technical solution, so marketers can exercise their creative side and discover new ways to connect with customers and prospects.
Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily MarTech. Staff authors are listed here.
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