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Navigating the Martech Landscape: Choosing the Right Tools for Digital Growth 

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For a business to excel in digital experiences and customer reach, technology plays a crucial role in enabling growth and sustaining success. The Martech landscape will continue to rapidly change. Organizations must lead with a sound technology strategy and drive thoughtful execution to maintain a well-optimized digital ecosystem. This article delves deeper into Martech principles and provides insights into making informed decisions on selecting tools, eliminating redundancy, supporting scalability, and configuring connectivity. 

Understanding the Baseline of Technology Needs 

There are three essential technology systems that should be part of the baseline for a marketing platform. The first is a Customer Data Platform (CDP) to manage customer engagement, aggregate different datasets, and generate actionable clustering and targeting insights. Comprehensive systems like Segment or more niche Customer Relationship Management (CRM) like Salesforce fit this category. The second essential tool is a Content Management System (CMS) to manage the production and distribution of marketing content across platforms. Those include Adobe Enterprise Manager (AEM), Sitecore, and Optimizely. The third essential technology system that must be part of a marketing platform is Voice of Customer (VoC). Those systems are targeted to manage customer feedback, service requests, complaints, and satisfaction. Qualtrics, HubSpot, and Medallia are few of the many tools available for that purpose. When used right, the VoC loops back learnings to the CDP. 

Optimizing a Martech Platform for Efficiency and Growth 

When assessing the fit of an organization’s marketing toolset, it is important to prioritize reducing redundancy, bridging gaps, and supporting scalability. It is natural to have tools with overlapping functionalities and capabilities. A comprehensive platform rarely starts from nothing. It is usually merged from systems individually adopted by different departments, teams, or regions. However, it is not natural to keep the redundancy because it leads to multiple sources of truth and hampers decision-making. Proper audit of each system use, purpose, and reach helps surface up the overlaps. Comparing the findings to best practice and industry standards will also highlight gaps. Those gaps are operational functions needed by the organization that are not systemized, automated, or supported by necessary tools. Lastly, any recommendation for introducing a new tool or expanding the toolset must be validated with the lens of scalability—how effective is the tool in responding to the organizational changes. This ensures a more systematic and holistic approach to technology utilization. 

Evaluating and Deciding on the Right Tools 

The marketplace is flooded with a vast number of tools for the different functions of customer data management, content management, service management, or analytics. The options can be overwhelming, and they create a challenge for organizations. To overcome this challenge, it is important to understand that there may not be a clear single option even after deep analysis and review. The technology platform market is competitive and most vendors in single category offer similar features and services. After a due diligence of narrowing options, multiple systems can satisfy 80 percent of the organization’s needs. Selecting either of those systems can be a reasonable approach. Committing to a tool and ensuring its widespread adoption and acceptance within the organization is more advantageous than spending excessive time in the selection process.  

Considering Seamless Integration and User Acceptance 

As mentioned above, some tools are introduced to the organization by a single department, or market, or working team to solve a particular pain point. Then they get adopted by the overall organization and get infused into the overall technology ecosystem. While this is a common approach—due to quicker procurement and simpler onboarding—it overlooks the broader organizational needs when selecting tools. What the sales department may urgently need can conflict with the service department protocol, neglect their needs, or add a burden on their operations. It is worth the extra effort to share priorities and align goals across business units when committing to a tool. If it is not to have a shared decision, awareness alone will help with wider adoption and seamless integration. A less performing tool that is widely accepted is more effective for the organization than a better performing tool that is narrowly accepted. 

Deciding on Build vs. Buy and Customizability 

The need to build applications and tools from a blank slate is becoming less and less favorable. There is a variety of software options in the market today for most organizations, regardless of industry or size. Software as a Service (SaaS) and Platform as a Service (PaaS) offerings make getting started easy with readily available off-the-shelf features, simple setup, and manageable cost. Buying makes a better choice for smaller organizations. Even larger organizations with special needs for their operations can still benefit from buying tools. However, that doesn’t eliminate the build choice all together. That is because most customizations need buy and build rather than buy or build. While SaaS solutions can meet most of the requirements, middleware for connecting multiple systems can call for custom development. Many platforms come with built-in integrations, but to meet unique nuances for specialized organizations custom microservices and Application Programming Interface (API) are needed to facilitate integration, connectivity, and scalability. 

Industry Trends: AI and Cross-Brand Integration 

It is hard to overlook the power of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and the impact it has and will continue to have. AI holds immense potential in streamlining decision-making and simplifying processes. From segmenting customer base and generating content to managing customer service and driving strategic insights, AI will have a primary role. However, as of today, AI is not a blanket solution for all problems at once. AI works best with a deep but narrow focus. Organizations must do the work of identifying AI opportunities and make available the right data for that purpose. Data is what builds AI’s accuracy. Organizations that want to generate distinctive decisioning from AI should invest in data curation, cleansing, and overall management. 

Another growing trend is cross-brand integration. Delta does it really well. They are focusing on convenient and comfortable mobility, even beyond airfare. For that, they are partnering with Lyft, Starbucks, and more. In each partnership, there is required system integration, connectivity, and data sharing between brands for the purpose of an optimized and personalized experience for the customer. This trend will continue to expand as brands truly put the customer at the center. 


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