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Why Increased Spending on MarTech is not Necessarily a Good Thing

By Jennifer Renaud, CMO, Oracle Marketing Cloud

Jennifer Renaud, CMO, Oracle Marketing Cloud

I don’t know about you, but I’m not much of an impulse buyer. Oh sure, I have my moments of weakness i.e. the end caps at Target. Hey, I honestly thought bacon-flavored toothpaste would be good. Don’t judge me.

However, for the most part, I’m not one prone to the “buying of goods without planning to do so in advance, as a result of a sudden whim or impulse.”

Now, before I go on, I realize it may sound odd for the CMO of Oracle Marketing Cloud – a company that specializes in marketing technology – to openly state that spending more on martech may not be such a good thing.

But, stay with me. It’ll make sense.

I promise.

Survey Says

Last November Walker Sands released its second annual State of Marketing Technology report. Entitled Closing the Gap between Martech Innovation and Adoption, the report featured the findings of a survey of more than 300 marketers.

"​A company that specializes in marketing technology – to openly state that spending more on martech may not be such a good thing"

Among the key findings were:

• Two-thirds of marketers (70 percent) expect their companies’ marketing technology budgets to increase in 2017, and only 2 percent expect a decrease.

• More than double the number of marketers now call their companies’ innovators or early adopters in marketing technology adoption compared to a year ago (48 percent versus 20 percent).

• The number of marketers who feel their companies’ current marketing technology helps them better do their jobs increased from 58 percent to 69 percent year-over-year.

So far, so good, right?

In fact here’s another positive key finding: Seven out of 10 marketers (71 percent) believe their companies invest the right amount in martech, up from 50 percent a year ago.

By now you may be thinking: “What is this woman talking about? These are all great signs that point to marketers increasing their spending on martech. What could possibly be wrong with that?”

Don’t Just Buy To Buy

Remember when social media came into vogue? Seemingly everyone-CEOs, CMOs and marketers of all sizes wanted in. So the mad rush was on to land grab all the Twitter profiles and Facebook URLs and on and on because everyone “had to be doing social media.”

Of course many dove into the deep end without one spec of strategy in tow. But it didn’t matter. All that mattered was they could tell their fellow marketers when asked if they “do social media”–of course we do!

So they spent countless man hours on social media trying to gain followers and likes and on and on and on…again without one thought to strategy and even more importantly without one thought to ROI.

Remember that? It’s ok you can admit it. Now hold that thought.

More than half of marketers (56 percent think the martech industry is evolving faster than their companies’ use of marketing technology.

That’s one more key finding from the Walker Sands report and it speaks to why I believe that increased spending on martech is not necessarily a good thing.

Juxtapose the social media analogy and I believe we have a similar mad rush, land grab without enough thought behind it happening right now when it comes to martech.

Think about it. There are nearly 4,000 different martech solutions out there. Yes I know many of you already know this, but a great number of you don’t. What you do know, however, is that martech–the right martech that is–can be of tremendous help.

You know, because you hear it from others, that martech can solve a lot of what ails you as marketers. So you decide to jump into the deep end and spend because well, you know you have to spend more to keep up with the competition.

Buyer Beware

I won’t go down the whole “caveat emptor” path but, if I can offer one piece of advice when it comes to spending on marketing technology it would be this: First and foremost have a strategy in place.

While that may sound obvious we all know that oftentimes the obvious gets overlooked. So have a solid strategy around what you need when it comes to martech. For example, how will it help you drive revenue and enhance the customer experience? How will it give you a competitive advantage?

Remember martech is not one size fits all. If you’re a high service retailer, you don’t need nor want your martech solution to batch and blast. But you definitely want it to help you when it comes to things like CRM and loyalty. The right martech solution will enable you to know your customer the same way you know your own preferences as a consumer.

And finally don’t forget the human element. While I love what things like marketing automation can do and I’m super excited about the use of artificial intelligence and predictive analytics–it’s vitally important to never get too dependent on technology. There simply must always be the human side to marketing as nothing will ever replace good old-fashioned gut instinct.

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