In 2017, marketers (yes, even you!) will become acquainted with the term “martech stack”. The term sums up marketing’s trajectory into the near future: the convergence of technology and modern marketing, and the increasingly common practice of stitching together various specialized software platforms in order to optimize marketing efforts. Martech’s popularity is growing at a feverish pace. In 2016 the martech landscape nearly doubled in size – and there are no signs of this growth dropping off in 2017.
3,874 Martech vendors in 2016, up 94% from 2015; Source: chiefmartec.com
Google 360 Analytics joins the fray
Joining the list in the coming months is the highly anticipated complete Google 360 Analytics Suite. It will offer new services including attribution, a visualization studio, optimization testing, and audience management. Though designed to integrate seamlessly with Google services and act as a “one-stop-shop”, the Google 360 Suite may face concerns from users about Google encouraging higher spends for its own ad products.
Google 360 will compete with existing leaders in the martech space like Adobe, with their Marketing Cloud. But while these enterprise level, single-vendor solutions are great for companies with budgets in the high six figures or more, they won’t be the preferred solution for the ballooning medium-sized business market.
Barrier to entry for DIY marketing stacks lowers
A survey conducted by Campaign Monitor this year shows that 82% of marketers in mid-sized business prefer a “best of breed” technology stack over a single vendor solution. The multi-vendor approach allows smaller businesses to customize solutions and take advantage of many self-service value propositions. The same survey suggests that a multiple vendor stack requires less technical consultancy and offers more flexibility to achieve particular business goals. With reduced technical demands and a more competitive market (resulting in a price drop and more specialized offerings) the barrier to entry for businesses deploying their own martech stacks will be at an all-time low in 2017.
Good data remains the foundation
So, should all business jump on board and implement a martech stack next year? No, definitely not. Not everyone is ready for this new technology, and premature implementation can result in poor decision making and the unnecessary redirection of resources away from core business functions. The largest, and most important distinction between those who are ready for a sophisticated martech stack and those who are not comes down to one thing: good data.
A common mantra in analytics is “garbage in, garbage out.” No matter what tech stack stands between data collection and data processing, it will not have any magical powers to turn incorrect, inconsistent, redundant, insecure or non-existent data into something useful. Until the inputs are clean and organized, businesses run the risk of gaining false insights based on partial or misinformation, no matter how impressive their potential stack could be.
Quality data governance will be the distinguishing factor in 2017 between companies that can leverage this powerful technology and those that will be left behind. This means that 2017 will mark a call to action for businesses who do not yet have their data house in order.
Getting data up to par
In order to compete, companies need to thoroughly understand their data, and eventually activate a plan towards data standardization, defining proper KPIs and implementing hypothesis testing and controlled experiments to execute marketing plans based on data-driven decisions.
Once a solid data foundation is established, the sky’s the limit when it comes to martech stacks. The right stack is essential to a flourishing digital ecosystem, increasing a firm’s competitive advantage through:
- Precision – Stacks can provide businesses with detailed and recent customer data to get the right message in from of the right person at the right time. Businesses can deploy personalized and contextual messaging based on user behaviour and CRM data.
- Agility – Stacks help companies quickly adapt to customer changes, using data-validated hypotheses to drive conversion rates.
- Continuity – Stacks enable businesses to continue to build on sophisticated relationships with their customers well after a transaction.
- Legitimate and proven consumer insights – With the right business intelligence and visualization tools in your stack, you can process incredible volumes of data, transforming information into actionable and qualified ideas.
It’s clear that martech stacks have already changed the game by transforming how businesses connect with their customers using the power of data. With more on-demand solutions becoming available in 2017, we’ll surely see the migration of marketing technology to the mainstream.
We look forward to the popularization of martech stacks, and for those at the front of the pack, we anticipate innovations and business models that we’ve yet to see the likes of. Without any doubt, martech stacks promise to make 2017 an exciting year for marketing professionals. To learn more about what the future holds for marketing technology, please get in touch!