MarTech must support – not replace – the marketing strategy. As Norman Guadagno, CMO, Acoustic says, adding more technology won’t work if marketing forgets the importance of creating an emotional customer connection.
The ever-growing stack of MarTech made marketing operationalize, but in the process, the essence of good marketing was sidelined, if not lost. In commodity markets, companies compete for the attention of the same customers – and this cannot be achieved with technology alone. It’s a matter of communication; on emotion. It is about understanding what the company offers, valuing and exploiting creativity; and it’s about measuring success on more than just email conversions. It’s about understanding how to achieve memorable customer engagement.
Marketers, not accountants
No one has gone into marketing to look at spreadsheets. Or did they do it? Ten years ago the answer would be an emphatic ‘no’, but in today’s measurement-obsessed marketing arena, many marketers have fallen prey to the cult of incrementalism, or to looking for some more. More personalization, more conversion – and prove their worth to the board. But the pursuit of incremental improvements won’t work forever, especially when fundamental marketing concepts are put aside.
A CMO needs to focus on the strategy, on the message, on thinking about a new way to explore video to tell a great customer story. Yet the reality for most is that when they don’t analyze statistics to provide those vital ROI numbers by channel and campaign, they are dealing with tech crises, addressing concerns about low open rates for businesses. emails or optimization costs. Few have time to consider whether the marketing is in line with the message or whether the strategy is the right one.
In an increasingly commoditized economy, where marketing is the key to differentiation, this loss of knowledge and understanding of marketing is a major concern. In the drive to operationalize marketing, companies also risk losing sight of core values such as the importance of improving products and services and the need to engage customers. Businesses are so distracted by the 21st century measurement culture and the power of the ever-growing MarTech stack that marketing is just a numbers game at the expense of everyone involved.
Marketing teams are teeming with techies: experts in search engine marketing, delivering perfectly segmented email campaigns, designing SEO-optimized web content, the list goes on. They are all about the latest trends in content generation. But many have no understanding of the concept of marketing strategy, the importance of email content, the difference a strong email header can make for the recipient. Ask them about the 5 Ps of marketing (product, price, promotion, location, people) and they’ll look blank.
The growing dominance of tech-led marketing is hurting businesses. This leads to confusion and a deconstruction of marketing – in brand and in demand – that totally disregards the holistic impact of each marketing activity. It also leads companies to assume that the solution to every marketing challenge is more technology. According to a 2020 MarTech survey, more than 80% of companies had upgraded a MarTech application the previous year.
Not only will the large, average marketing team use 120+ tools, many of these tools and individuals operate in silos. In the absence of interaction, they have no understanding of any other marketing activity, its place in the overall strategy, and how it affects customer perception. Marketing strategy simply does not fit into the technical delivery of marketing campaigns.
Capture the emotion
Marketers are under relentless pressure to drive more and more value – to maximize channels, put themselves ahead of customers, convert customers and, of course, prove that their efforts get things done. But technology is not, as many marketers believe, the solution to the problem. Yes, great MarTech tools solve the problems; they eliminate tedious manual efforts. But technology doesn’t take away the need to understand how the business can differentiate itself, what will capture customers’ attention, what customers need to feel to get them to buy a product or service, and how you can. create that feeling.
Buying decisions are driven by emotions: customers remember a great marketing message based on how they feel. They are unlikely to remember if it appeared on Facebook or in a radio commercial. Technology should not decide the marketing activity. This should allow a marketer to take ideas and explore them. It should allow a business to get a message across to the right person at the right time. But that should never replace understanding how to create the best message.
Of course, a marketing team needs tools. But these tools need to be easy to use and well integrated into the process, mostly running in the background. They should support the implementation of a well-thought out marketing strategy, not define it.
Seize the moment
Everyone on a marketing team should understand the fundamentals of marketing in the 21st century – from the importance of being sensitive to cultural events, to distinguishing between subject lines in emails. Success must be analyzed not just by the numbers, but by the message. Does it enhance the brand? Does everyone on the team understand the strategy?
Businesses need to get it right. Quickly. As the UK emerges from the pandemic, there is both a huge pent-up demand for products and services and a need to quickly understand changing consumer and business behavior. Work from home, growing digital engagement – businesses need to respond quickly. There isn’t the time – nor the need – to embark on a massive overhaul of the entire MarTech stack or rely on expensive consultants to thoroughly commission new systems.
The goal now is to figure out what works, what could be updated and opt for intuitive, quick-to-implement solutions using the cloud to ensure easy integration with the rest of the set. ‘tools. And, most importantly, make sure the marketing team understands the role of technology as a catalyst. The right MarTech should help a marketer execute faster, learn faster, and improve faster: they’re there to help the business deliver a marketing message and strategy designed to create that emotional customer connection.