In the latest Gartner survey on Enterprise Marketing Technology Spend it was found that CMO’s are on track to spend more on technology every year than CIO’s, a prediction previously made that is now coming true. The various technologies that make up that spend has been called the marketing technology stack. Here are five key challenges marketers face in effectively building and managing that stack:
Gathering a census of available technologies to stack
Identifying how they integrate with each other
Keeping track of how they integrate with each other
Visualizing how they integrate with each other
Communicating stack options to the team and gathering input
1. Gathering a census of available technologies to stack:
Despite the wide array of technologies to choose from in the marketing technology landscape, it can be difficult and time-consuming to pull together a list of available options, by category, to review in context. Part of the problem is that it’s hard to document them in a way that makes the options easy to access.
SOLUTION: Access a database of marketing technologies that are presented in an easy drag-and-drop interface and organized by category.
2. Identifying how they integrate with each other
One of the key barriers identified to operating a successful marketing stack, and indeed to effectively implement digital business transformation, is the integration of the various technologies that make up both the marketing stack and the wider enterprise technology ecosystem. It is extremely time consuming to research each option and how they integrate with each other option. Often this requires the ability to read through developer documentation for each of the options which can often be opaque and hard to access. Needless to say this is also very hard to document in a way that shows the integration linkages clearly.
SOLUTION: Use an interactive digital canvas that automatically displays the integrations, or lack thereof, between different technology vendors you are reviewing.
3. Keeping track of how they integrate with each other
And if you do manage to track down how prospective systems integrate, it is hard to keep track of those integrations, as API’s and integrations are added, updated, and deleted over time. Thinking in columns and rows makes it very hard to put something that is more natural as a network of connected dots into order.
SOLUTION: Take advantage of a system that is set up like a social graph or business network, that makes connecting dots natural, and that keeps those connections updated over time.
4. Visualizing how they integrate with each other
In a similar way, it is hard to visualize those connections using columns and rows, especially when looking at multiple dots and connections. It is critical to be able to build the marketing stack, and indeed the wider enterprise technology stack, as an ecosystem of technologies. You need to be able to see not just how they connect to each other, but how they interrelate to the teams that will use them, the processes involved, the customer experience touchpoints they connect to, and more. When reviewing and discussing this network ecosystem, it is important to be able to “play around” and quickly reorganize points and networks to get different viewpoints and review different scenarios.
SOLUTION: Access a system that organizes the technologies and their connections like a social network and lets you quickly and easily “play” with the positioning, inclusion, and connections.
5, Communicating stack options to the team and gathering input
Decisions on what technologies to choose that make up the stack, what the priorities are and how they should connect and integrate are often made by committee and often include team members from outside of the marketing organization. It is important to be able to share different scenarios and versions and discuss them. This is difficult without the right visualization tools that can easily be shared by email, social and more, and that can be stored and accessed easily by all.
SOLUTION: take advantage of a tool that lets you create multiple stack versions, quickly and easily, and share them by e-mail, in a dashboard, as an image, embedded in presentations, or on social.
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