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Dave Bowden — 1 December 2021
Marketing is a technology-powered discipline these days, but the martech stack that drives it is feeling the impact of new-found pressures as we head into 2022.
The business environment for most industries, as we look to recover from the most disruptive period we’ve seen in decades, is far from what might be considered ‘normal’.
This is having some flow-on impacts on marketing, and leading to a re-examination of what marketers need from their technology investments.
While many martech projects were paused last year, it has continued to attract the biggest single share of investment within marketing budgets, with just under 27 per cent of spend on average.
But marketing budgets themselves have taken a hit across the board. In 2020, marketing budgets attracted 11 per cent of total revenues: this tumbled to 6.4 per cent just a year later, according to Gartner’s annual CMO Spend Survey.
What this means is that marketers have less budget to invest and are looking for tangible benefits - rather than the promise of a future utopia - from any immediate martech investments they may make.
They’re looking for tools that do what they say on the box and deliver a measurable return within a reasonable space of time.
There’s an increasing awareness that many martech tools are under-utilised, leading to significant martech budget wastage. In fact, marketing teams often use less than two-thirds of their martech stack capability.
Under-utilisation of martech is leading marketing teams to rationalise unnecessary expenditure by identifying and eliminating those tools that are effectively duplicated within existing martech capabilities. New investments are being reserved for martech that offers a unique benefit rather than a slight advantage.
This under-utilisation is also causing marketers to look realistically at what they have the capability to operate internally: “If you don’t have astronauts, don’t build a rocket ship,” says Gartner Senior Director, Colin Reid.
To combat this issue, marketers are looking for ways to increase usage. While some teams can simply implement new training programs, an alternative strategy is to adopt technology that can be implemented within existing tech platforms.
For example, additional buttons or fields within an existing CRM system can be used to add the functionality of complementary tools through API-based integrations. This makes it easier to boost usage without the need for broad, costly training and implementation programs.
It’s an employees’ jobs market out there in marketing as in many other industries, and as a consequence, marketing organisations that have contracted during the pandemic are being called upon to do more with less.
In the meantime, short-handed teams are looking for tools that streamline and remove work, enabling them to increase their speed and volume of output prior to expanding their team size.
Marketers are also being called upon to deliver personalised experiences in near-real time across more channels than we’ve ever had to service in the past; seven in 10 of us already think we’re creating 10 times as many assets now as we used to.
And when teams are understaffed, the creative production, review and marketing approval process is one of the first areas to back up, particularly when teams are working remotely.
Marketers are looking for tools that automate work and address their production workflow issues, enabling existing teams to scale output and produce more with less.
With so many more transactions occurring online, the digital customer experience has become of paramount importance to many brands.
In the past year, CMOs shifted spend to owned, paid and earned digital channels – with more than 7 out of every marketing 10 dollars now spent in digital.
This has led to a renewed focus on martech tools that work together to deliver a seamless customer experience in digital channels as well as in the physical world.
Siloed point solutions are out; API-based integrations that enable a single view of the customer are in.
Tools must be able to be integrated with other parts of the martech stack to deliver the right content to the right customer at the right time, where possible via automated workflows.
CMOs need to collaborate more closely than ever with their peers in the C-suit - whether it’s with the CEO, the CIO, the CFO or the COO - and they’re using technology to help them do it.
Whether this means crunching customer data to develop strategic advice to the CEO about how to address changing customer behaviour, creating automated data integrations that trigger on-brand interactions with customers, or finding better ways to engage with stakeholder teams, such as sales, product and customer service, marketers are getting on the front foot and finding more ways to use technology to do the heavy lifting and enable the organisation.
This, in turn, is freeing marketers from the repetitive, manual tasks that sidetrack teams unnecessarily to allow them to focus on strategic projects that generate growth.
Against the background of these burgeoning pressures, brand management, templating and creative automation tools, such as Outfit, provide marketing teams with some relevant benefits.
Among the advantages they offer are:
To find out if your brand would benefit from Outfit’s brand management, templating and creative automation platform in 2022, book a brand operation assessment.