Understanding data flow is key to uncovering leaks and distortions in your martech stack
In order for the four types of practitioners to work well together, they all need to understand how data enters the stack and where it goes.
During an event I was moderating about Scott Brinker’s martech role categorization, participants suggested many interesting issues and questions related to these categorizations. One person made a very important observation; he said that all practitioners need to understand how data flows throughout a martech stack and organization – regardless of their type.
Understanding data flow is important for all practitioners since it affects each role type as well as can have great ramifications for the organization. Here are some of the ways in which each role interacts with data flows.
Maestro: The internal view of processes
This type of practitioner has an internal view with attention to processes. As orchestrators, they help envision the map of how data flows throughout a stack and organization. They work with stakeholders to determine the needs of the whole. That requires them to interact with a variety of people and teams to ascertain their needs. For instance, a team may not collect contact information but has a strong use case for it. Thus, the maestro can help advocate for the necessary integrations between systems or facilitate permissions and rights within a system to provide the data needed by the team.
Maestros should also have contact with Legal, and they can help communicate back out to the greater marketing and IT team what regulations require. For instance, when collecting contact information, maestros can help ensure compliance with laws like the CAN SPAM Act. Further, since they oversee the entire stack, they can help identify needs and solutions determining if a person opts out of communication from one system, how that affects other systems that contact the person. This involves teamwork with marketers, makers, and modelers to pull off effectively.
Marketer: The external view of processes
This type of practitioner has an external view with attention to processes. They are the ones who focus on campaign, messaging, and segmentation strategies. As such, they work closely with modelers to determine whom and how to reach out to, and that involves determining how to measure effectiveness. Through this collaboration, they establish what information systems should capture (form input as well as information related to an individual’s device, IP address, site/app behavior, etc.). Thus, they need to work with maestros on the flows and legal concerns, makers for technical limitations, and modelers for quantitative and qualitative guidance. Ultimately, they’re the ones to take the lead when determining where information is collected and where it to needs to flow in order to support business objectives.
Maker: The external view of technology
This type of practitioner has an external view with attention to technology. These practitioners are the ones who build things – like websites, forms, and integrations. They may be developers from IT or “citizen developers” who use content management systems (CMS), form builders, and integration platforms as a service (iPaaS) tools. As they’re the ones who are in the technical weeds, they are best to work with to determine the mechanisms used to collect information and how to incorporate necessary legal requirements as well as other needs like accessibility standards defined by the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). That means that their skillset should include both technical and design (UI/UX) capabilities.
Further, they need clear direction from the other practitioners regarding where to push information to and pull information from. Maestros help with the data flow map. Marketers help determine when to collect the information. Modelers help confirm and validate proper data collection. These interactions are crucial as makers are the ones who actually configure technology to collect and pass information along.
Modeler: The internal view of technology
This type of practitioner has an internal view with attention to technology. Modelers have advanced quantitative acumen plus the expertise to design, conduct, and evaluate qualitative interviews. They’re the ones who are likely in CDPs and data lakes. They work with marketers to determine what information is needed to measure campaign and system effectiveness. In collaboration with maestros and makers, they confirm that collection is going well by helping monitor data flow and user interface and experience (UI/UX) elements. That means they need to understand where data enters the stack and find ways to address leaks and distortions throughout flows – not to mention improper analysis by others.
In many instances, modelers are the ones who answer questions but also determine which questions are needed. They, like the other types of practitioners, are critical to martech success.
As explained above, all four types of practitioners play integral parts in keeping a martech stack going. In order for them to work well together, they all need to understand how data enters the stack and where it flows. Having this common ground empowers effective teamwork.