With martech now seen as a key component for recovery, leaders need take into consideration how its deployment should impact the way the business operates across all functions and levels, writes Anurag Gupta.

The pandemic has clearly had a mixed impact on marketers. We’ve progressed from questioning whether the CMO role is going extinct to virtually all businesses turning to digital marketing as a means of survival, making the role of a digital marketer one of the most sought-after jobs.

On the flip side, marketers will be expected to deliver on revenue and customer acquisition with many marketers anticipating continued budget cuts. It is within this frame that marketing technology (martech) is seen to be a key component for recovery, with over 60% of leaders planning to increase spends on technology in 2021, according to Gartner.

However, like most operating modules moving forward, martech adoption will likely focus on agility, avoiding the hype of technology to look at practical tech solutions that can influence strategy, insights and engagement.

1. The rise of no-code tech

In 2020, 75% of organisations still have a long way to go in terms of digital maturity, according to a survey by Deloitte. This, coupled with the do-or-die need that businesses are facing in digital transformation, would likely see the rise of no-code or low-code martech solutions. These solutions can be easily used by marketers with minimal technical capabilities and sold to top management with simple data visualisation.

Figure 1: Deloitte survey of digital skills amongst marketers adopting Martech solutions

2. Future-proofing existing martech stacks

Many businesses already have some form of martech solutions. According to Gartner, only 33% feel their existing tech is useful, while over 80% are sitting on a short-sighted or outdated martech roadmap.

The first order of business for many will be to examine their current martech stack and employ efforts to either maximise, improve, or even re-evaluate their current stack. This is also a signal that it is high time for many martech stacks and roadmaps to go through a level of audit to accommodate innovation, emphasise on business differentiation, or even just simple updating for records.

Figure 2: Gartner martech audit framework

3. Martech to drive business growth

More businesses are moving to digital, with many for the very first time, but all have had to revisit their existing playbooks or analytical frameworks that had served them well over the years. As more marketers ventured into uncharted waters, saddled with the burden of reduced budgets and higher targets, attribution will become key.

Currently, 80% of marketers are dissatisfied with the tools they have to measure return on investment (ROI) while only 36% are happy with how they measure business impact, according to Harvard Business Review. Attribution will be vital to elevate marketers back into the position of trusted business partner over being viewed as a cost centre.

4. The race for a single view of consumers

The value of personalisation represents trillions in revenue to businesses; but by 2025, Gartner anticipates that marketers would have all but given up on achieving personalisation. The main reason cited is usually a lack of data, making it difficult for marketers to gather, store, classify, and implement of insights on their consumers.

Businesses now also need to consider improving the way first party data is used, given the rapid restrictions being imposed on third party data. At its peak, the utilisation of an effective Customer Data Platform (CDP) would provide a single view of your consumers and accurate predictions of customer lifetime value. In short, if done properly, it would allow marketers to return to the coveted position of being “the voice of the consumer”.

Figure 3: Value of personalisation by industry from McKinsey

5. Executional efficiency

Budgets are being shifted away from human resource, creating a greater dependency on leveraging marketing technology for operational efficiency. As more businesses opt for leaner, more agile structures, marketing leaders will look to tech not just for automation and to free up workflows, but also to create greater cross-departmental collaboration. Leaders will start looking at tech to seamlessly take care of marketing operations and managing tasks, especially with the continued work from home or virtual operations.

Figure 4: Deloitte survey of martech implementation usage in organisations

6. Double down on engaging and personalised content

Consumers are flooding digital spaces, creating an influx of both traffic and data like never before. While marketers can now reap the benefits of being able to track and monitor consumer behaviour to an even more granular level, it also creates a heightened expectation from the new digital consumer.

Between 55% to 75% of consumers now expect to be served with personalised content, according to Salesforce. We anticipate the rise of tech solutions like creative automation tools to help marketers manage and make sense of the influx of digital content that it needs to create, monitor, and track.

Figure 5: Salesforce survey of customer expectations on personalised experiences

To leverage these upcoming trends, marketers need to understand that there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. Instead of having the luxury of trial and error they had in the past, the speed of implementing new technologies has now become a question of survival. As COVID-19 has hit the reset button on virtually every facet of the business, martech implementation is no different. 

Leaders today need to take into consideration how martech should impact the way they draw consumer insights, derive business strategies, engage with customers, and deliver business outcomes post-pandemic.