“Data-Driven Thinking” is written by members of the media community and contains fresh ideas on the digital revolution in media.
Today's column is written by Cory Munchbach, senior vice president of strategy at BlueConic.
Marketers are grappling with the roles that different technologies play in marketing operations, campaigns, measurement and more. While CMOs and their organizations have embraced tech, only a few companies – just 26%, according to Gartner – have really made marketing technology a discipline.
At the core of these technology decisions is how to choreograph marketing throughout the customer life cycle to improve business outcomes, such as competitive differentiation, unique brand experiences and higher sales.
It is critically important that marketers and technologists collaborate on the strategy, requirements and road map for any investments.
If they haven’t already started, now is the time. Auditing their current status can help them get to where they need to go. To make customer data the backbone of their marketing, brands need the right people, processes and technology.
Dedicated roles for marketing technologists
It’s not enough to have a high-level strategist who gathers requirements and runs the RFP process before adopting a new technology. Dedicated roles for marketing technologists are key.
These marketing technologists will act more like product managers for marketing technology than anything else. They’ll continually drive the vision for the marketing technology stack and understand how and where it will be used across an organization. They ensure internal teams have access to documentation and training on how to implement the technology to support their use cases. They will also work with vendors to expand use cases to align to changing or future business strategies.
I see there being two main marketing technologist positions – a team lead and at least one other individual to manage the day-to-day activities. These aren’t marketing practitioners that activate marketing programs; however, they do play a critical role in supporting the marketing teams by providing expertise on the tools themselves.
They have both technical chops and a deep understanding of the business’ use cases. I’ve seen some organizations where these marketing technologists are part of an operations team, not a marketing team.
How customers interact with brands
When marketing technology breaks data out of each siloed system, it suddenly can be used for so much more than just optimizing marketing tactics. The data being collected and analyzed will impact the entire customer journey – but only if the proper process, people and tools are in place.
To win in 2020, marketers need to focus on how customers interact with their brands and build backwards. Processes should be developed that inform every part of the organization and account for the entire life cycle of a customer's relationship with the brand. Every handoff from team to team that needs to happen should be documented – and then mapped to how technologies facilitate that transition. I know of one marketer who accounted for each customer touchpoint by creating a flow chart, color-coded by technology, of a buying cycle mapped by product. They aren’t thinking about the processes in terms of campaigns, but in terms of their customers.
The insights marketers have gained through an understanding of their processes will help them put their marketing technologies to work. Marketers should start with the use cases they’d like to achieve – and be ready to let go of some kinds of technology in favor of others.