The biggest challenge for a marketeer? Not being more creative, but being able to keep more balls in the air. A better use of IT resources is the key to success.
Thanks to the digitization of media consumption and communication a marketeer can – and must – perform more tasks at the same time than ever before.
Check, check and double check.
Marketing needs to adapt faster to the market, taking into account a more complex customer experience. Additionally, the core task is no longer devising and launching temporary campaigns, but developing long-term marketing processes that yield better and better results. This can be done by setting up small-scale experiments and, if they are successful, applying these on a broader scale. Just like grandma Growth Hacker used to do.
A great theory, but in practice the plethora of marketing initiatives and tools will easily lead to chaos or – in the worst-case scenario – Burnout. The danger lurks in losing yourself in the execution and no longer taking time for your global marketing strategy.
The landscape of marketing technology solutions (often abbreviated as martech) has been documented by Scott Brinker on the Chief Marketing Technologist Blog for several years. His graphic serves as a touchstone for many marketeers who are in search of ways to improve their marketing processes and organization. In 2011 there were only 150 different solutions. The 2016 version features as many as 3,874. The latest graphic, which is anticipated to be released in March 2017, will have grown even further through the introduction of new players.
The IT tools that allow you to give shape to new initiatives in the digital world all too often remain limited to little islands or one-trick ponies. A promising application that aims to resolve this in part is the Belgian Story Chief that is intended to make publishing on a diversity of channels (social media, email and blogs) much simpler.
Integration is the magic word for getting the most relevant information in and out of other applications and, by doing so, gaining insight, personalizing and optimizing. However, we're running out of time and the IT department often has a lot of other problems that need to be attended to. And, as a result, the marketeer is left to his or her own devices. He or she will need to handle the integration all by him or herself. iPaaS systems (integration platforms as a service) are available for use as convenient tools to facilitate integration processes markers. IFTTT has been a precursor of this for quite some time, but its features are becoming more and more accessible with Zapier for example. The Belgian Piesync has a soft spot for this and facilitates the synchronization of contact data between various applications. On the way to the Single Source of Truth. (It is clear that marketing is increasingly dominated by terms and abbreviations that originate in the world of IT.)
The next type of application to become increasingly indispensable in the marketeer's toolbox is a tool that can be used to create significant dashboards. Belgium-based Cumul.io has been making great progress in this field. Collecting, visualizing and interpreting data will become one of the core competencies of the new marketeer.
Consumers have become more digital, but the playing field of marketing is much broader than digital communication alone. The marketing department is, of course, also responsible for printed publications, establishing partnerships, organizing events and trade fairs, finding cute gadgets, and so much more.
There is hardly any marketing software that takes this into consideration. Husky Marketing Planner, also from Belgium, (disclaimer: I am one of the people raising this puppy) offers a A project management tool tailored to marketeers and marketing teams, which focuses on the necessity of managing a diversity of marketing projects and collaborating on these together with your colleagues and suppliers.
What's clear is that there will never be a single application that will serve everyone equally well, because this will be either be so extensive that no one can use it, or so expensive that no one can afford it. Of course, quality has its price. The sum total of all those that monthly subscriptions may be a bit high, but the productivity this increases far outweighs the costs. It could even replace an extra marketing department staff member. After all: robots are already taking over the jobs of white-collar workers.
Therefore, everyone has to put together his or her own bundle of technology – or what is irreverently referred to as a technology stack – to oil his or her own marketing organization and allow it to run at cruising speed. After all, if you don't do it, your competitor will do it before you do. This is why the following will be included in a marketeer's package of tasks from now on: assessing and implementing tools, integrating tools into existing systems and managing these change processes – in between all the other duties.
Marketing departments still have a long way to go. A profusion of Excel documents and PowerPoint presentations spread out all over the organization are still the prevailing standard. Did you know that 60% of spreadsheets do not contain formulas? They are used as address lists, task lists, communication calendars, content calendars and so on. These are all things for which they were not initially designed. The marketeer that wants to get ahead in our current times, but is wary of drowning in fragmentation, had better start getting information and computerizing soon.
This OpEd appeared in the Wijs digital agency's 2017 Trend Report.