Marketing teams move fast and want to be self-sufficient. If they need to create a landing page, for example, there are numerous tools that let them do it without waiting on a developer and designer. This speed and self-sufficiency is both a blessing and a curse.
It leaves the marketing department with hundreds of disparate apps potentially leading to incomplete, outdated, or duplicate data across these systems. Worse yet, they could lose out on true insights into the customer or prospect journey.
This slide is a great visual representation of MarTech’s explosive growth: in 2011, when the slide debuted, it depicted only 150 MarTech vendors across a handful of categories. Just eight years later, the slide includes over 5,000 vendors.
What the slide doesn’t quite capture, however, is how this growth has changed the way that marketing teams work. Though no two companies have an identical MarTech stack, they all have one thing in common: they’re struggling to unify all of these fragmented tools into scalable, automated marketing workflows.
In fact, a 2018 report from Ascend2 indicates that 43% of marketing professionals see orchestrating their different apps and services into automated workflows as their biggest challenge. That’s 5% more than those who said creating a successful strategy was their largest hurdle.
And a functioning MarTech stack is directly correlated with the organization’s overall success. According to Salesforce’s 2017 State of Marketing Report, nearly 80% of high-performing companies said their marketing technology stack was “very effective.” Only 30% of companies identified as low-performing could say the same.
In other words, the stakes are really high. At best, a bad MarTech stack means you’ll waste money on useless tech; at worst, it actually makes the marketing team’s job harder and impacts KPIs like conversions. But, helping marketing be better and more efficient at their jobs actually has huge consequences on sale deals, annual revenue, and the overall trajectory of the company.
Here are three ways business systems teams can make a lasting impact on their companies by partnering closely with marketing.
1) Help marketing make smart, purposeful technology choices.
As a business systems professional, you’re responsible for helping organizations scale by helping them choose the right tools (including bots and cognitive tech), delivering robust internal applications, and providing real-time integrations to support lines-of-business teams—like marketing.
In a world where no two companies have the exact same MarTech stack, business systems leaders can provide insight into where that tech fits within their particular organization, so they can help marketers make smart, cost-effective choices about what MarTech to invest in. This insight can help prevent the marketing team from wasting effort and money implementing unnecessary tools.
But often, it’s not a realistic expectation to help choose the Martech stack completely. The marketing team may already have several workflows carrying business critical processes out across several apps. Instead, it’s more likely that your job will become connecting these disparate apps together. Even with a powerful marketing automation tool like Marketo or Hubspot, you must get all relevant data into these hubs in order for them to be effective at carrying out campaigns and providing data insights.
Companies like Logitech subsidiary, Ultimate Ears, have made this a priority by reevaluating their systems and automating workflows between several apps from landing pages to eCommerce apps in order to tie their digital and in-store marketing efforts into a cohesive prospect experience. By finding creative solutions within their existing tech stack, they were then able to build a seamless omnichannel experience—without adding additional steps or apps.
You can also be a powerful liaison between marketing and IT when it comes to discussing—and helping the marketing team navigate—security concerns, compliance requirements, and technical features. You can educate the marketing team on governance structures, how they can keep your company’s data safe, and the finer points of any tools they’re considering. That’s a win for everyone!
2) Demonstrate the importance of processes, not just technology.
Business systems leaders know that even marketing systems don’t exist in a vacuum; there are business-critical processes surrounding them.
“You should ensure that your processes are well defined and simplified as much as possible, before worrying about the technology,” says Kumud Kokal, former Head of Business Systems at Airbnb and Intuit. “A convoluted process with the best technology is still a recipe for failure. Having a well defined, repeatable, and scalable process is the first step.”
In other words, business systems teams can help marketing refocus on optimizing business-critical processes first, before thinking about expanding their tech stack.
Take H20.ai for example. The company, which sells tools for making data-driven business predictions, is a leader in cutting-edge cognitive technology. But they knew that even the best MarTech needed to fit into a clear, goal-oriented process in order to be truly useful.
With this principle in mind, the company reimagined their lead generation workflow. Now, lead information is instantly available across key apps like Marketo and Salesforce—as well as inside of Slack—through automation, so the team can follow up right away. Built-in de-duplication logic ensures that these leads are always clean and high-quality.
“I wanted to create a system-oriented process: if you can’t show me [improved] metrics, your system probably isn’t working,” says Marc Mastrocolo, Director of Marketing Operations. “[With that in mind, we built] a solid demand generation funnel, which increases user acquisition and improves pipeline conversion at key points.”
3) Empower marketing admins with useable tools.
The marketing team is constantly creating new campaigns that might require new tools and workflows, and the business systems team is busy with projects from across the company. The only way to scale and keep compliant is to democratize automation and integration work.
More than half of companies face a shortage of integration and automation talent, according to a recent Capgemini study. Traditional scripting and coding have a steep learning curve, so it can be difficult to keep up with the demand for new and improved workflows.
With the evolution of iPaaS and the birth of intelligent automation, however, that’s changing. Empowering members of the marketing team to build automations and integrations themselves is one way to reinforce the processes built and the tools selected. It makes marketing teams more invested in the work the business systems team has done.
Companies like Puppet, the leading software configuration company, have found that given the right tools, employees like app admins can play a crucial role in scaling automations and integrations. These admins are intimately familiar with the apps they govern, from the ins-and-outs of custom implementation to the flow of data within the app. They’re also closer to the marketing team’s everyday needs—so they have a clearer view of how automation and integration can improve processes. In many ways, they’re perfectly situated to help the marketing team self-serve when it comes to creating more efficient workflows.
If your organization has already invested in an automation and integration platform like Workato, it’s worth encouraging your app admins to learn how to use it. If your organization doesn’t have an automation and integration tool yet, consider starting a conversation about finding one that will empower employees like app admins to create more workflows, more quickly.
Keeping pace with MarTech is a marathon, not a sprint
Confidence in the MarTech stack is fundamental; without it, you risk creating more work for both teams, poor visibility into business-critical processes, and worse marketing outcomes.
The takeaway here is: marketing teams might not know it, but they need the expertise of business systems to assess what’s working and what’s not, to streamline processes, and push back on app sprawl. A close relationship between business systems and marketing can be the difference between a high-performing marketing team and one that’s hamstrung by its MarTech.