All The Martech In The World Won't Make You a Marketer
May 21, 2018
The Martech Stack or the Martech Sink Hole?
The Martech stack now offers over 5,000 solutions from companies including us. And the list grows daily.
Wow. Does the Chief Marketing Officer really need 5000 – and growing - choices? Even within the super-graphic's sub-categories, any executive may find herself searching for just a few needles in the haystack...
...With so many solutions out there it's reasonable to question where the value and meaningful differences are among them. Where has tech product specialization become so deep that solutions are not relevant enough to be worth the CMO's pursuit? (click to read article)
Here's the most important fact...all the Martech in the World...
Won't help you sell a badly designed product/solution; one that is wrapped in a poor offer (pricing, warranty, etc.); one that the market doesn't need or want it; or, one that you haven't done your homework to identify your target market, etc. It's past time for business leaders and marketers to step back and ask the key questions regarding performance, ROI, and investment.
I'm not an unbridled cheerleader of Martech. I don't do bleeding edge just because someone tells me it's the wave of the future and if I don't get on the bandwagon, I'm going to be left behind. Not only have I been responsible as a marketer for selling tech that wasn't used properly or wasn't needed by the acquirer; but, I have been involved in the product development side. So, I don't get all excited when someone launches some new tech that is going to solve all my problems, etc.
What fries me is that people, when it comes to tech, have put their brains on hold and all anyone of the so-called tech evangelists has to do is a "talking head" gig on some news show and bingo, we're off chasing bright shinny objects...new technology that we all have to adopt. Talk about lemmings.
We also seem to experience a case of the "emperor has no clothes" as well, when it comes to all things tech. Yeah, the media loves tech...besides high school shootings, hurricanes, and the latest tweet from the White House. It gives them something to keep 24/7 news shows rolling and talking heads employed.
Regardless of the cause, there's a lot of "we must adopt it or be left behind" thinking going on and people seem to have forgotten to apply good business sense and practices, especially when it comes to Martech.
It's also true of enterprise solutions, such as ERP. Can't tell you the number of customers I have met that purchased ERP systems for their businesses and never succeeded in implementing and using 50% of the potential, much less 100%.
That might be because the people pushing and purchasing the technology aren't business people, in the sense of P&L management. And we're in an era of unbridled innovation at any costs. I'm not trashing Martech, but I am saying it's time to step back and apply business rules and sound financial / investment practices to the purchases of it, especially in marketing.
How many times have I seen clients and prospects spend tens of thousands of dollars on Martech and then have to go out and outsource the process to someone who can actually do it. I can't tell you the number of people we talk to who have invested in CRM and Marketing automation only to let the systems, software languish and end up outsourcing or using some SaaS cloud solution. And those are probably the two most basic applications of Martech that most organizations have purchased and can really justify using. To make matters worse, there seems to be a belief that if you add the technology, all the appropriate processes, practices and behaviors will fall into place. Wrong!
I don't think we should allow automation or A.I. to replace human thinking and that is exactly what's happening in many organizations.
You ever wonder if all those emails you get actually being created by an individual or are they coming from a mailing stack that says if they get this, didn't respond, they get this, if they did, they get this. A lot. And many of them when you think about it shows that very thing. Let the AI do the thinking for you.
We were doing that kind of mail scheduling at Fingerhut back in the 80s, but the difference is that we had people involved in planning and analysis, not to mention actually writing every step of the way. It wasn't a set it up and forget it. It was a set it up, mail, do the post mail analysis and then continue with or modify the campaign stream accordingly and all of that was based on purchase behavior.
Part of the problem starts at the beginning of the marketing/sales process where we have now been told that that the world is available 24/7 and whatever business we're in the world is our oyster and if we just have the right content and use the Internet the right way, we'll be selling products/services all over the world. Sure there are such opportunities, but for the vast number of businesses, it's just dreaming.
Here's one example of useless martech in my view, a solution for a non-problem.
https://lumen5.com/ - "Create videos in minutes with the assistance of A.I."
Wonderful, now everybody who flunked out in art class, or never displayed any talent for the visual arts is suddenly a designer with the simple aid of A.I. And, I should add there are already plenty of applications that do the same thing.
The same thing seems to go for the act of writing. I don't remember that many A students in English, even in my upper tier classes when I was going to school. Few if any, even those who could fill up essay books for an exam, would become budding writers. Now anyone can do it and believe me it shows. But, enter A.I. technology and it can turn John Illiterate into Ernst Hemingway. A lot of content today is just that content taking up lots and lots of cheap disk space.
With more Martech we'll be better marketers than our competition
People seem to think that by taking advantage of all the Martech flooding the market daily, it will make them superior marketers because they now have the technology to do it right. We don't have the processes or practices in place, but all we have to do is buy this solution and our problems will be taken care of and everything will be wonderful and we'll be great marketers. And, as a matter of fact, we don't have the right product/solution for the marketplace, but hey Martech will help us overcome that.
We see it day and day out; the amount of money spent on Martech and the results are less than satisfactory for most organizations. Not only do we see it sitting idle, but often misused when it is used. And, of course, you have the oldest of old problems with any technology, especially database technology and let's face it most Martech applications are some form of database technology, and that is that "garbage in is garbage out", be it data or content.
The technology should be a tool to assist you in accomplishing your job. And, some are actually worthwhile additions to the marketing stack. But, it shouldn't replace your ability to think as well as learn the appropriate skills and develop a wealth of experience learning from the best examples and then applying those practices in your area of need.
AI and AR will make you a great marketer
AI, AR, more and more, are examples of people abdicating the throne of thinking and believing that all it takes it Martech to be successful and the tech community is more than happy to sell you the solutions day in and day out. Like you need dedicated software to develop customer profiles and personas? What did people do before the tech came along and allowed you to develop pretty pictures and graphics of your target personas?
They keep telling us that AI will replace the need for marketing people which is total IT Martech industry nonsense. They're selling solutions and they need an audience to do so.
Hundreds of articles are written to get you to buy into Martech like this one for doctors (and there is validity for better data management in the medical suite)
And, other examples of some of the content pushing Martech that basically say if you aren't joining the parade, goodbye bubba and if you are but it isn't working, then it's not the solution, it's the user, so here's how to do it the right way. Needless to say most of this comes from the tech community itself.
And, we have examples of articles where people are actually questioning the overdependence on or spend at any cost to acquire Martech thinking...
I'm hardly a Luddite. I was writing binary code before most of the readers were even born. And, frankly, it's the only "A" I ever got in engineering before being asked to leave it behind and pursue something in liberal arts. I'm actually a firm believer in using tech to be more efficient and if it is Martech, I view it with the same measurements that I view all technology. Is this going to help me do my job better, and possibly easier, or is it just so many bells and whistles and one more thing that means I need to spend time filling in databases, which most of this stuff is. Then there is the cost factor (including time and resources), will the gains justify the costs?
Some more of the Martech spending and wasting money conversation...
Ways you're wasting money on marketing automation
And, no one seems to be asking where are my Martech investment results..
Martech Spending: 51% Of Marketers Say Their Companies Don't Invest Enough – really? Where's the payback?
"Marketers are wasting too much of their budget on digital eCommerce strategies that don't improve the customer experience or make an impact on the bottom line."
The mistakes made when buying Martech and how to avoid them..
You really have to look for articles on the subject of wasting money on Martech or how effective it is and are you getting your investment return. Most of it is positive, using fear to sell it like if you don't buy this, you're not going to achieve your profits and you will disappear. Welcome to the world of selling tech. Fear of falling behind.
What you should be asking is are your investments in Martech paying off?
Chasing bright shiny objects is the name of the game
When it comes to marketing, someone is always developing solutions to problems that don't exist and using fear tactics to sell them. I love an industry where the vast majority of Martech solutions are being developed by non-marketers but by technologists. Maybe we should all be asking these questions:
Now speaking of Martech, here are a couple of articles that bring up good points...
What happens when adblockers stop all Martech platforms?
How much is too much in Martech?
The point is that we've jumped on this bandwagon as marketers and many of us are blind to the real costs and benefits of buying and implementing these technologies.
There is a place for some of this Martech stack in your business and marketing activities. But, It's time to step back and do some serious financial analysis and stop the knee-jerk reaction of purchase, purchase, purchase or we'll be left behind.
As I said earlier, we offer some Martech applications for use by marketers and we think they are tools that many marketers who have financial responsibility should be used to do their planning and analysis. And, you may find some of these tools useful.
One tool that you may find helpful is our CRM business needs analysis tool, which is a self-audit that allows you to determine if you need, are prepared to take on, and can benefit from this solution. We also have a tool that will help you chose the right CRM application and vendor support for your organization.
Some other tools that you may find useful can be found in the tools section of our website.
Dudley Stevenson, founder and CEO of DWS Associates, has over thirty-five years’ experience in consumer marketing, business-to-business marketing, and direct marketing, including developing, planning, and implementing go-to-market strategies. He's also the author of "Marketing Direct: Breaking Through The Clutter." Working with organizations ranging from start-ups to Fortune 100 companies, he and his team have helped clients such as IBM, Sony, Neiman Marcus, Arizona Highways, Marshall Field & Co., Mrs. Field’s, UNICEF, and Patagonia implement successful direct marketing programs. A longtime member of the Direct Marketing Association and the American Marketing Association, Stevenson is also a sought-after speaker. He’s given hundreds of presentations and workshops on marketing and direct marketing. His “Marketing Planning 101” workshop alone has reached more than 100,000 marketing and sales professionals.