Marketers today have a tech solution for every day of the week. However, according to a recent consulting research study from Forrester, only 23 percent of marketers has a cohesive suite of tools that works together to meet their marketing needs. The remaining 74 percent of marketers use a disjointed combination of tools that need to be managed closely.
There are solutions for data, sales leads, market research, CRM, analytics, content, PR, branding… the list goes on, and all of these dashboards can get overwhelming pretty quickly!
Marketers seem to be in one camp or another: build a custom stack, or purchase a single solution that aspires to do everything. Forrester points out that in many cases “multi-vendor marketing tech stacks [are] the reality of the market.” The advantage of a custom stack is that it affords the flexibility and retained control to carefully select each aspect of the marketing dashboard.
Unfortunately, these various tools have limited, if any, interconnectivity, which leaves marketers to serve as the ‘glue’ between the platforms. Building and operating a custom marketing stack comprised of tech solutions requires more than simply presenting a list of each tool and its function. It requires its own integrative strategy that unites each component. A custom stack requires much closer management and a “champion within marketing”. Inevitably, when that individual leaves their position or the company, the stack often crumbles.
In the case of a custom marketing stack, marketers are expected play the role of ringmaster to some degree. However, clients and other leading industry experts tell us that marketers playing the middle man (or woman) between so many tools has gotten out of control. Marketers have more on their plates than ever, and many have added Inter-technical Messenger to their already long list of responsibilities.
Marketing stacks are towering, and are crippling the marketers who built them, to no fault of their own. Vendors boast of their tools’ ability to ‘speak’ to other solutions, in an effort to sell an a la carte approach to marketers, and carve out a piece of the budget pie for themselves. Unfortunately, this is rarely the case in practice.
After working in the field of marketing for more than 25 years, one trend that trumps the marketing stage is Account-Based Marketing (ABM). We encourage our clients to utilize ABM because it is a tried-and-true holistic approach to a marketing program. What marketers may not realize, is that ABM can also alleviate the stressors of a fragmented marketing stack, by providing marketing with a comprehensive, strategically-aligned, and forward-looking view of all the activities taking place. I discussed the advantages of ABM in a recent blog post, and reiterate that its track record of success is a long and less complicated one.
Where do you stand in the marketing stack debate? Are you struggling to integrate across multiple vendors? Align solutions? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.