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The Rapid Growth of Martech is a Challenge for the C-Suite

For professional marketers, the sophistication of martech is most evident in your personal lives proving that martech capabilities are rapidly expanding and are, indeed, in use. This can often lead to frustration with your own company if you can’t execute with that same sophistication.

Chiefmartec.com’s marketing technology landscape is a well-known graphic image that shows an expansion from 150 companies providing martech solutions in 2011, to 3,500 companies in 2016, to now 5,300 companies in 2017, which equates to growth of 40 percent in just the last year. Frankly, that’s explosive, and no wonder companies are scrambling to comprehend and apply new solutions to their business. More than half of marketers in a recent survey (56 percent) think the martech industry is evolving faster than their companies’ use of marketing technology. 

It’s easily assumed that marketers realize that effective adoption and commitment to deploying marketing technology is a distinct advantage over competitive organizations who choose not to, or cannot keep up. So essentially, building a martech stack is somewhat inevitable.

A good way to judge if you have fallen behind the martech curve is by examining your technology stack’s ability to effectively execute marketing, sales, and strategy seamlessly across the environments your customers choose to engage with you, because that is how most sophisticated organizations are judging progress. Not just by the existence of technology alone, but if the technology substantially improves the business. Building martech stacks hasn’t been just a technology problem. The key challenges have been convincing the business to allocate appropriate budget, to properly align martech ownership (business vs. IT), and to address political resistance to change, vendor integration challenges, legacy system silos, and executive sponsorship. However, those obstacles are becoming better understood and managed although they lead to new challenges that inhibit the full value of martech technology investments.

For example, many marketing organizations are still limited by legacy organizational structure, process execution and speed, lack of an enterprise marketing technology strategy, integrated roadmaps, business intelligence transparency, and appropriate skill sets. Many don’t have martech leadership in place to help identify these new issues, in short, something besides technology.

Per a recent 2017 martech survey the most commonly cited obstacle for marketing to fully leverage its martech stack is a lack of technology strategy, followed closely by analytics, training, and staffing.

It may not be just your technology that’s falling behind. Instead, it may be your organization’s willingness, commitment, and approach to looking past the technology purchases and deployment to how the technology will strategically evolve and become a part of business operations in the future, and not the other way around. The operations and structure of the business also needs to adapt to the technology curve. You can’t just add transformational new technology like what is developing in the martech space to the existing business without changing the business simultaneously.

Realizing, accepting, and leveraging the rapid advancements in martech and committing to keeping up with the curve is not just a technology issue, it’s a long term strategic business decision. A decision defined and addressed by business leaders at the highest levels.