Replacing your martech? Improved customer experience should be top priority

Here are key considerations to ensure your martech choices deliver better engagement with and experience for customers.

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One of the things I love about my work is reading through the various research reports available. They provide great insight into the market and help me as I continue to advise my clients.

So, I was pretty excited when MarTech released its 2023 Replacement Survey. I won’t go into the details of the study, but I will comment on the one thing that stood out to me and provide my insights on it. (I would also encourage you to read the study and see how you compare with your peers because engaging your audience most effectively will require technology.)

What is getting voted off the island?

I was surprised that 24% of respondents replaced their marketing automation platform most frequently. In this golden age of marketing technology, marketing automation is the godfather. A few dominant players continue to develop and innovate with their platforms, while others fall by the wayside.

Having worked with many organizations to audit and swap out systems, it comes down to what you want to do with the technology versus the technology itself — which leads me to my next point. 

Dig deeper: Why marketers are replacing foundational martech

Technology alone will not get you there

When looking at the catalysts for the replacements detailed in the study, the leading answer, much to my delight, was to develop an “improved customer/digital experience.” However, only 38% of organizations stated this as the compelling reason, closely followed by cost (37%). 

What caught my attention was that it was fundamentally the only reason that spoke to the customer, the entity that should be at the core of everything marketing does. Of the nine reasons that were published, only one focused on providing the customer with a better experience.

Even with that being the top answer, there is a fundamental problem. Simply having the right technology will not help you develop a better customer or digital experience. Why? Because as I have stated before, technology is an enabler of a good strategy and not a strategy unto itself. 

Dig deeper: Why martech must mean more than just technology

Getting closer to your customer 

For those reading this article who may be considering a technology swap in the coming months or years, I advise you to do a few fundamental things first.

  • Get insights into your customers. This is more than just getting together internally and generating personas. This means you have to talk to your customers. Learn about their goals, objectives, challenges, how they think and what is important to them. You can do this by interviewing them or improving the process by using AI and applying it to your data.
  • Understand the full customer journey. This includes understanding who plays what role at various stages of the journey. What behaviors do they exhibit at various stages and what kind of experience do they desire at each stage of the journey? 

This is not a one-and-done exercise but a regular activity, underscoring the value of using AI in this context. 

Once you have collected these insights, it informs everything you need to know to develop a strategy that will engage your customers at every stage of the journey, from brand engagement to customer advocacy. 

Taking an informed view 

Once you’ve generated customer insights and developed your strategy, you can then assess the technology needed. This helps you decide if your current tools can enhance the customer experience or if you should switch to a more robust solution.

As we head into Q4 of 2023 and look ahead to 2024, I hope that the one reason that will far outpace all of the others for a technology swap would be better engagement with and experience for customers. This can only be achieved by understanding all you can about them. 

Dig deeper: 4 steps to take before hitting go on your new martech platform

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Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily MarTech. Staff authors are listed here.

About the author

Carlos Hidalgo
Carlos Hidalgo is the co-founder and CEO of Digital Exhaust, a data-driven AI-enabled consultancy that helps B2B and B2C clients experience sustainable growth by aligning marketing, sales, and customer success to deliver meaningful engagement to their customers at every stage of the customer lifecycle. Over the course of his 29-year career, Carlos has worked with organizations of all sizes in delivering growth strategies, leading change management initiatives, developing human-centered corporate cultures, and advising executives on how to maximize their organization's growth. Carlos is the author of Driving Demand, which is ranked as a top 5 marketing book of all time by Book Authority and also The UnAmerican Dream, which was released in 2019. Additionally, Carlos is an international keynote speaker and TEDx speaker. Carlos has won numerous awards and has been named to some of the most prestigious leadership lists in the industry.

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