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As we look to marketing technology (martech) tools to help us gather more consumer data, analyze it, and seek insights from it, we run the risk of making our marketing strategy fit those tools rather than having the tools fit the strategy. That’s how we end up with martech sprawl, data silos, and an impersonal, automated, and often, an inconsistent and ineffective customer experience.

Today’s business environment has changed. All functions of the organization are customer experience (CX) functions, even marketing. With so many ways for your customers to experience your brand, you need to have the customer in mind at every touchpoint. And that requires rethinking your marketing strategy around your brand experience, not just your business goals.

Martech is about the customer’s experience. But sometimes companies forget.

Illustration of people connected by a computer

The Right Software is Key

That strategy depends on having the right software to execute against it. Instead of trying to shoehorn your amazing plan into the tools available, rethink your approach and make software a part of the strategy process.

Your martech stack should be less a collection of software and more of a “Customer Experience Stack” designed to drive CX forward. Keep in mind that the apps and stacks that really move the needle for growth are the ones that facilitate or drive improvements in CX, either directly or indirectly. Every single one of them needs to flow from your organization’s core strategy.

The Role of the Chief Marketing Officer

This starts with your CMO. They don’t need to be involved in building or managing every detail of the stack, but they should own the stack strategy and ensure that all the tools tie directly into building a better customer experience.

They should also understand:

  • how data is being collected and shared across systems
  • how to set priorities for technology
  • how to measure stack performance

But the responsibility also lies with you. You also have to consider your company’s overall strategy whenever you’re about to hit the “download app” button. Just like IRL, it’s all too easy to get wrapped up in app addiction–quickly downloading a bunch of applications to solve a short term problem but may, in the long run, only add to your martech stack sprawl without moving your customer interactions forward.

It’s all about the Customer

Remember that purchasing software should not be a tactical event, but part of a broader strategic initiative. It should support efforts to reach your customers. If it doesn’t, it probably shouldn’t be in the stack. After all, you don’t want to be one of those people who are using spreadsheets to manage spreadsheets of all the different solutions you’ve acquired.

Look, there are thousands of applications and service providers in the  marketing technology landscape, but only about 35 of those could be considered apps that are essential to your business. By understanding your business needs and objectives and who you’re trying to reach, you can choose the ones that align closest to your organization’s strategy. You can also select the best tools to complement each other, streamline communications across the business, and ensure sales, marketing, and other departments are on the same page. Without that strategy your stack is just a bunch of siloed tools that bogs teams down in complexity and complicates the customer experience.

Just remember, whatever tools you’re using to build your martech/Customer Experience Stack, you need strategy first, then technology. Neither are independent of the other; both work together to provide you a better sense of who your customers are and strengthen your marketing efforts.

Leave us a comment

Is your martech stack as customer-centric as it can be? Do you have any thoughts about how your fellow marketers can better align technology with their strategic goals? Sound off in the comments below!