Gartner has published some interesting statistics in the last couple of years. In 2017, it found that CMOs are outspending CIOs on technology. This year, we learned that nearly one third of CMO budgets are allocated to marketing technology. But to paraphrase the famous line from the comic books, “with great buying power comes great responsibility.” CMOs must balance their purchases with accountability and a commitment to producing a good ROI.
Unfortunately, it’s a bit of the wild west out there. We’re living in a period where digital addiction is rife. With the sheer volume of available marketing technology solutions (6,829, to be precise, and growing everyday!) acquiring a new SaaS service within seconds has become all too easy. It’s tempting to just fill in the credit card field or subscribe to a free trial and get what you need without thinking too hard about how the technology aligns to the business outcomes your company strives so hard to achieve, or without consulting your fellow colleagues to see what tools they might be using. Once that trial is over it can easily roll over to a 12-month subscription with the unwitting consent of the user.
But before you pull out that credit card, ask yourself: is what you’re buying really aligned to your company’s goals? Will it help you achieve your KPIs and move the needle for your business? Is it going to augment and enhance your existing apps, does it have cross-functional relevance, or will it just add unnecessary bloat to your martech stack?
Scale back bloat through better communication
Consider the exploding use of chatbots. You might use a chatbot for marketing – but so might customer support, HR, and sales teams, all for their own needs. It’s likely that the data for these apps resides in silos, which can make it difficult to get a 360 degree view of your customers’ experiences. It can also be tough to tell if those different chat experiences are cohesive and consistent with one another, or your company’s overall brand.
This exemplifies the disconnect that too often exists within companies. Teams often do not consider how the apps they use will or will not integrate with the rest of the stack or how data can flow between them. Worse, they may even buy technology that undermines or simply doesn’t support the larger goals of the company. It’s not uncommon to find multiple marketing apps being used in one company, even in one department – in fact, the average enterprise uses 91 marketing cloud services.
But if you do this, you’re missing an opportunity to synergize with other departments and attain efficiencies that can help you reach your business goals. Synergy can result in getting rid of overlap and eliminating unnecessary SaaS subscriptions. It can also help you gain visibility into what apps are in your inventory, so you can uncover ways to integrate them via APIs for even greater insights across teams.
That’s why martech stack management is so critical today. Your stack is the backbone of your business’s operations. You can’t afford to let it succumb to unnecessary bloat and redundancy.
While it’s OK (and, in some cases, even necessary) to have large martech stacks, make sure that all of the apps in these stacks serve their purpose. Reign in sprawling software deployments. Understand exactly what you have, and what you’re using it for. And don’t use four chatbots when one will do.
Stack smarter and get stronger
We talked in an earlier blog about how you can declutter your stack. Yet, it’s an exercise that is overlooked too often by companies.
But, with the right approach, you can develop a structured, strong, and well optimized martech stack. Pay closer attention to what you already have, and encourage others on the team to do the same. Resist the temptation to just add more, at least before communicating with others. And, above all, make sure what you do have aligns with the overall goals and objectives of your company. Because once you get strategic about your software, and your technology is organized into one cohesive unit – aligned to business outcomes – amazing things can happen.
Learn more about harnessing the power of your martech stack in our whitepaper: The 2019 Guide to Tech Stack Management.