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5 Common B2B Marketing Technology (Martech) Stack Mistakes to Avoid

As he was searching for the right filament for his incandescent lightbulb, Thomas Edison supposedly said, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”

Hopefully, by learning from these mistakes before you build your B2B martech stack, you will not end up in a position requoting Mr. Edison. In fact, you may save some time, money, and frustration along the way.

Have you seen the latest Marketing Technology Supergraphic from www.chiefmartec.com and Scott Brinker? There are 7,040 vendors on it! Where do you begin with your marketing technology strategy? Hopefully, not by making these documented mistakes which have derailed many a well-intentioned martech stack development.

Martech Mistake #1: Not Having a Process…or a Purpose…

Let’s face it, most of us start out by purchasing a few tools or platforms for a few specific purposes. Customer Relationship Management. Marketing Automation. Social Media Marketing. For example. It’s not until we have run campaigns on each of them for a while that we realize it might be nice if they were “integrated” together.

Few of us take a step back and ask why? Are we trying to convert new customers faster with this technology? Are we trying to do a better job of engaging existing customers? Are we trying to learn where prospects and customers spend most of their time? Are we hoping to analyze and predict behavior and conversion rates? Are we trying to see how to communicate better? Even if we answer “yes” to all of these questions we still need to get better at prioritizing these purposes and figuring out how. Too many of us jump to execution and jump right over strategy in an effort to take a shortcut and show some sort of results faster. Slow down and lay the ground work with a strategy. It will pay off in the long run.

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Martech Mistake #2: Not Asking for Directions or Having a Guide...

In Mistake #1, we see that many try to move ahead without answering “why?” In Mistake #2, we will learn that too many of us try to build our marketing technology stack without answering “how?” This is a confusing journey you are on.

If you were traveling in unfamiliar territory, had no GPS signal, and got a bit lost, what would you do? If possible, you would ask for directions. Or you would have a guide with you and you wouldn’t have gotten lost in the first place.The same holds true for building a martech stack.

Time for a moment of truth: most of us are not marketing technologists. So, depending on the size of your organization, you should hire marketing technologists or work with consultants who can help guide you on your B2B martech journey. For a small company, you may only be able to leverage one or two marketing technologists. According to Gartner, for a large enterprise, your FTEs may translate into teams of marketing technologists with a couple of leaders.

“Time for a moment of truth: most of us are not marketing technologists.”

                                                                                 Kelly J. Waffle

As shown in the graphic below,  www.chiefmartec.com and Scott Brinker talk about this journey as traveling through “Golden Ages of Martech.” In the first golden age of martech, we were inundated with innovation and growth from martech vendors. There were few limits. Some vendors were pitching cloud or all-in-one suites. Others were pushing best-of-breed point solutions. As I said earlier, most marketers are not marketing technologists and many organizations ended up with “Frankenstacks.” Compromise abounded and true integration rarely appeared.

We are now in the “reckoning age of martech” where more mergers and acquisitions among vendors are occurring. Vendors are trying to raise money, go public, and acquire or get acquired. Some companies and technologies will survive. Some will not. Where does your trust and confidence lie with many of these vendors?

As we move toward “the second golden age of martech,” Brinker believes that we are starting to see vendors offer “open platforms that serve as stable foundations, augmented by large ecosystems of specialized third-party apps that are more deeply integrated.” It probably is prudent and less risky to work with an internal or external team of marketing technologists who understand the subtleties and nuances happening weekly in the every-changing martech space. Stick to what you are good at doing.

Martech Mistake #3: Not Doing Your Homework…

Unfortunately, too many of us are busy and overworked. We don’t do our due diligence. Instead we take shortcuts to save time and enjoy convenience. Too many of us listen to the “thought leadership” put out by vendors in conferences, case stories, blogs, guides, white papers, infographics, and more. Some vendors will even map out ecosystems, infrastructures, and stepped processes for us.

Please take the time to do your homework when it comes to building a marketing technology stack. Speak with consultants at conferences. Read blogs written by “non-vendors.” Talk with peers at different companies. But be careful of analysts or consultants who are seen “partnering” with specific vendors on a regular basis. Look for folks who will give you the good and the bad on a given vendor or technology.

 

“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”    

                                                                                Thomas Edison

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Martech Mistake #4: Not Getting to One Source of Truth…

One of the most frustrating parts of building a B2B martech stack is trying to get the reporting to line up. Numbers show up one way in your marketing automation platform. They show up a little differently in your CRM platform. A survey from Leadspace and the Marketing Technology Industry Council showed that the average number of martech products in a given stack is 16 so having reporting that does not line up can get aggravating very quickly. This inefficiency and ineffectiveness will also impact future decisions, budget justification, and measured ROI. Make the investment of time, resources, and money to address this issue at the beginning of your martech stack journey.

Martech Mistake #5: Not Knowing the Value Created by Technologies…

According to that survey by Leadspace and the Marketing Technology Industry Council, only 12% of marketers consider the amount of value creation from their technologies to be “significant.” This percentage is concerning and highlights a critical disconnect between marketing technology benefits and marketers. Again, most of these marketers are not marketing technologists and do have the understanding and appreciation of most martech beyond CRM and marketing automation.

This mistake has to be addressed within your organization if you are going to be successful with martech stack development. The amount of money, training, and time required to bring on new tools makes marketing technology purchases seem expensive to any sized organization. You must be able to show that new technology will improve processes, help teams to meet strategic goals, generate revenue, acquire or retain customers, or save money.

By avoiding these mistakes, you put your team in a better position to integrate and optimize your martech stack. It is a worthwhile effort that will eventually enable you to leverage automation, data, artificial intelligence, processes, and insights to take marketing, sales, and other departments to new levels of performance and impact. But it does take work. As Thomas Edison once observed, “We often miss opportunity because it’s dressed in overalls and looks like work.” If you catch yourself or your team making these and other mistakes, expect to end up with a Frankenstack that will only cause frustration, heartache, and more work.

“We often miss opportunity because it’s dressed in overalls and looks like work.”                                                                                 Thomas Edison

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Kelly Waffle

Kelly Waffle Hinge's Head of Digital Strategy, Kelly has more than 15 years of professional services and digital marketing experience. He is a Visible Expert in Account-Based Marketing and is recognized by Onalytica as a Top 50 Martech Global Influencer. Kelly writes and speaks frequently on a variety of marketing issues that business leaders face in today's marketplace.

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