What a silly question, heh? After all, we live in a world where marketing managers are empowered by data that helps them understand who their target is, where it is and which are the best ways to communicate and engage; where decisions are not merely a result of someone’s intuition; rather, they are based on detailed performance measurements. Marketing has become less about inspiration and more about science and engineering.
# Marketing vs Martech
At this stage, we must ask ourselves: is all of this a good thing?
There’s a famous image created by Scott Brinker where he puts together in (self-admittedly flawed) product categories some of the most relevant marketing technology vendors. In 2015, this “landscape” had around 2000 companies; one year later, the number grew to more than 3500.
The situation is explosive. And whilst one might tend to think that this a great thing for customers in this space – as, in theory, more competition brings more quality and lower prices – the truth is that in order to keep up with the multitude of new tools – each one specialised in making a very specific task easier – decision-makers keep wasting time that should be spent planning and executing. Time that should be enough to take information and “identify, anticipate and satisfy customer requirements profitably.” – the actual definition of marketing (according to CIM).
Marketing today is almost indistinct from Martech. Companies get all the tools, all the data, and then just let it sit there. Perhaps, at some point, they will use it to get a snapshot of what happened after a particular campaign was launched – but it’s usually something with a very limited scope of analysis, either in time or space.
# Categorisation vs Integration
Categorisation happens not only around marketing software – it also “infects” job roles and the way organisations are structured. Companies will have a Social Media team (using a social media management tool), a SEO/SEM team (using all things Google), an email marketing team (using an email marketing tool), a contact centre management team (using a contact center platform) – I could go on.
Somewhere in the middle of all this someone will have access to the company’s CRM. And then comes marketing automation – perhaps someone should build a team for that? Let’s talk with the email guys – but then again, this should probably be in some way connected to the CRM, right? And who should use that brand new personalisation software? Let’s appoint someone as Head of Personalisation – that should do it.
I’m hoping that, by now, you’ve already realised how insanely ineffective this is.
There are so many tools nowadays that people need applications to connect other applications between themselves. Just look at Zapier – your disconnected mess is their money.
There’s an urgent need to go back to basics and build the organisation around the customer. Build the strategy around the customer. And, once you’ve done that, build (or buy) tools that focus on the customer. Not on lead generation, not on social media, not on personalisation. I mean, shattering companies into departments was already bad enough, so why break every marketing task into such little, isolated pieces?
# Going back to basics – but how?
To divert from these tendencies you need to make choices.
It’s crucial to understand that there is no need to be an expert at everything, or measure everything, although it seems tempting with so much data lying around. The truth is that it’s better to have a glimpse of the whole picture than a really intricate view over a minor detail. This should be the mindset for teams and the principle behind adopted tools. Systems, like people, can do great things when they communicate; information is worthless when isolated!