MarTech: Digital tools and IT as a foundation for marketing
Big data and customer centricity have become the buzzwords of digital marketing. But what appears contradictory at first is synchronized successfully by MarTech. Consumer data give companies an even more accurate picture of their target audience. Using the information collected, they can individualize and personalize their customer communication. Comprehensive marketing platforms map this strategic alignment in technical terms and enable digital pioneers to collaborate effectively within their teams. This approach also enhances the collaboration between the marketing, sales and IT departments. And the result of this symbiosis? Data-based decisions with a genuine competitive advantage.
What is MarTech?
The portmanteau “MarTech” consists of the terms marketing and technology and refers to any technical effort used in digital marketing to achieve marketing objectives. Data-based tools and software programs, in particular, are considered MarTech.
- Technical resources in marketing are unstoppable – the growth of the MarTech landscape conveys that.
- Investments in technological marketing solutions are increasing, new job profiles are emerging, and the competitive advantage is hard to miss.
- Only companies who know their customers – based on data-supported findings, to be sure – can establish a footing in the first place and prove themselves in digital marketing.
- MarTech offers enormous advantages that drive business growth. Do not miss it and jump on this moving train!
The definition of MarTech: What exactly is it?
The symbiosis of marketing and technology is almost unstoppable as the digital transformation progresses. The portmanteau “MarTech” captures this interaction between the two areas precisely. MarTech refers to people, initiatives, efforts and also tools that use technologies to achieve marketing goals. These include, for example:
- Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
- Content Management Systems (CMS)
- Ads Manager
- Social media marketing and e-mail marketing platforms
Having an effective MarTech strategy is essential for any company to survive in the market. Because with the help of real-time data, they can understand and design an even better customer journey. Products are tailored precisely to the needs of the target group. The data also helps identify trends, thus making predictions about future developments. If they use this approach, businesses have a significant competitive advantage.
Good to know: MarTech primarily involves “owned media,” i.e., all the touchpoints a company can actively control. With AdTech, it is a different story. The areas must be clearly distinguished from one another. The term AdTech consists of the words advertising and technology. Advertising is only a part of marketing. Also, AdTech must be considered a subcategory of MarTech.
AdTech solutions are often more complex in a technological sense. They use algorithms that pull information that is relevant to the company from vast amounts of data. Companies use AdTech mainly when they want to develop new customers or target groups – for example, in targeting when it comes to reaching a broad audience in a one-to-many environment (i.e., by customer communication that cannot be customized). Tracking methods, such as remarketing, are also considered AdTech solutions.
In contrast, MarTech is more personal and focuses on specific and individualized customer engagement, meaning that the solutions are mainly in a one-to-one environment. Personally identifying information (PII), data that can unmistakably identify a person, is also used to communicate with customers. A distinction is made here between sensitive (e.g., biometric or medical information) and non-sensitive PII (e.g., information from open-access websites).
Read on to learn about the benefits you reap by implementing a MarTech strategy, why technology drives the marketing team and sales growth, and find out about the trends in MarTech. Not every solution fits every business, which is why the MarTech landscape provides an overview of current developments. Essential resources and professionals with specific expertise are crucial for companies to develop a MarTech strategy.
There is no doubt that MarTech drives business growth. Why is that? Because the technical solutions allow the marketing department to develop an even deeper understanding of their target audience and communicate with it even more precisely. Content, products and services can be designed to be especially customer-oriented since the data sheds light on wants and needs and provides direct feedback from the target group. Companies that already use MarTech today are therefore always one step ahead of their competition.
Even the company-internal collaboration improves with the use of data-supported tools. Big Ops collects data from various processes, such as different apps, AI tools, single and automation processes, and merges them for use in the digital business, bringing marketing, sales and service even closer together as a result. Marketing, sales and service are up-to-date on every step since everything is digitally recorded. Every touchpoint with the customer is recorded – which is why companies can seamlessly continue the communication.
The increase in no-code and low-code tools also facilitates the implementation of potential solutions. For example, marketing teams can set up reports – no programming skills required. 80% of marketers report they are dissatisfied with the tools they currently use to calculate ROI (WARC, 2021). MarTech tools that are user-friendly and visual dashboards provide relief.
Data is the currency of digitization and helps analyze customer needs accurately. Using MarTech tools, companies capture and store customer data and present them in a manner that facilitates the creation of effective, data-driven campaigns. Marketing automation platforms accommodate the accurate evaluation of real-time campaigns, drive multi-channel communication, capture customers in cohorts and provide evaluations using interactive dashboards.
Since processes are automated, campaigns are managed effectively, and the team can focus on customer-oriented tasks, MarTech solutions help companies grow. Beyond that, MarTech has the following advantages:
Automated processes increase a company’s agility. With little effort, companies can set up lead nurturing campaigns, and the sales team receives a notification as soon as an interested party performs an action. As a result, employees can focus on customer-oriented or particularly complex tasks, while MarTech tools take care of the groundwork through automated structures. MarTech tools optimize the interaction between people and software.
2. Better customer relations
Any time a visitor carries out an activity on a website, she leaves crucial information. Whether she downloads a white paper, makes a purchase or registers for the newsletter, the data she enters goes directly into the CRM system and contributes to an even more accurate picture of the target group. The data also promotes the personalization of campaigns. In addition, companies can produce content based on the available information that accurately captures the target group’s spirit.
The shared exchange on social media also makes interested parties more likely to turn directly to companies to provide feedback. Zero-party data voluntarily shared by the community gives companies very personalized (and essential) access to the customer group, which, in turn, raises content personalization to a new level.
Monitoring and regular reporting are a company’s most important foundation for making strategic decisions. Most MarTech platforms include dashboards that contain the most essential analyses at a glance. Reports can often be customized to compute the key figures critical to your company. Visually presenting a company’s performance helps both the marketing team and the entire company recognize potential.
4. Data quality and accuracy
Software and tools are the best solutions to avoid data input errors. Good-bye, Excel chaos! Data accuracy is a considerable advantage MarTech solutions have. When data is collected, stored and managed on a single platform, all employees can access the same information.
Unlike human beings, software can collect data in real time and update it continuously, helping minimize errors and increase the accuracy of data used for making business decisions.
5. Improved communication and agility
Not only does the use of MarTech solutions, such as a CRM system or a digital experience platform, ensure a better understanding of your customers and enhances communication with them. Marketing and technology also drive collaboration and agility in the company.
In addition, the fusion of marketing, sales and service teams is enhanced, first and foremost, by coherent tools. It is well-known that this synthesis of marketing and sales results in increased business growth. Transparency and uniform data structures facilitate the communication between the groups and ensure a shared strategic direction.
The challenges of using MarTech
MarTech solutions come with many benefits. However, the increasing potential also increases the responsibilities. Employees need new skills to keep track, select suitable approaches for their companies and, lastly, actually work with MarTech applications profitably.
Not every technology implementation is important for every business. When it comes to MarTech, there is no “one size fits all” solution. Instead, companies have to establish specific objectives and implement them with the appropriate technical solutions. Doing so requires people who can compare different platforms, identify their pros and cons, and even recognize if a solution does not fit the company’s strategy.
An important issue for companies to consider when they introduce new tools is data security. Pertinent software from the DACH region is highly preferable because its standards are adapted to GDPR requirements.
MarTech Tools: What are the options?
The MarTech tool landscape is expanding daily. In the last decade, the market has grown by about 5% (Chief MarTech, 2020). By now, companies can choose from many applications depending on their preferred benefit. The most common tools are in the areas of analytics, e-mail marketing, social media, CRM and project management.
By using a CRM platform, companies manage their customer data in a central location. Comprehensive marketing platforms make it possible to manage CRM, e-mail marketing and social media from one single location. That has the significant advantage that communication is uniform across all channels and can be customized for prospects and customers. Simultaneously, project management in the team becomes more transparent and effective since every team member has the same information.
A comparison between the European and American landscape shows that vendors in Europe offer an exceptionally large number of solutions for account-based marketing, mobile marketing, personalization, channel partners and local marketing. In the United States, SEO, e-commerce tools and digital asset management are way out in front (Chief MarTech, 2020).
In the DACH region, Germany plays a big part in the MarTech field: The industry is growing, and Berlin, the German capital, stands out: There, founders and startups abound, and MarTech developers have started to recognize the potential of this major city. In Switzerland, too, the MarTech industry is growing. Swiss vendors offer the most solutions in content & experience, social & relationship, commerce & sales and data.
Do MarTech skills create new employment environments?
The introduction of MarTech solutions also creates a demand for professionals that can skillfully move back and forth between marketing and technology and act as an interface. Moreover, even management skills are in demand since new processes and data-based decisions require strategic experience. MarTech has given rise to new professions such as marketing technologists or citizen developers that need to be integrated into corporate organizational structures.
Marketing technologists are professionals that are well versed in brand building but also its implementation using software and tools. They are the link between the marketing and IT groups and drive the automation process with intelligent solutions. Hence, MarTech does not only refer to technical implementations. It also comprises people who can unlock digital solution pathways and shift a company’s mindset towards digitization.
At the same time, marketers must face new technical tasks too, such as setting up chatbots, building apps, or cataloging and analyzing data evaluations. Placing technical tasks in the marketing organization brings more agility into a company and creates a need for professionals such as citizen developers, citizen data scientists, citizen integrators or even chief artificial intelligence officers.
Zero-code platforms and marketing automation no longer require full-stack developers. Instead, there is a demand for professionals who can work with data and software, who are always up to date on digital development and know in which context specific tools can be used profitably.
What are the MarTech trends of tomorrow?
Over the last decade, MarTech has established itself in the marketing landscape and has become a staple in the day-to-day work of marketers. The development of new approaches and solutions rises along with increasing digitization. Digital pioneers lead the way and provide a look ahead on the trends we can expect in 2021.
1. Increased investments in content marketing platforms:
More and more marketers use MarTech and, for example, use the medium video as a marketing tool: A 2020 study found that 85% of surveyed companies fall into this category. The successes: 84% of consumers say they are sold on buying a product or service after seeing a branded video (Wyzowl, 2021). With a content marketing platform, companies coordinate their overall content strategy and various formats across all channels – this is particularly important because today, end-users want companies to provide storytelling and informational content more so than ever before.
The process chain of content marketing software ranges from research, planning and creation to distribution and analysis. Content-focused campaigns are becoming increasingly important in marketing, which is why the investment in content marketing platforms will continue to rise.
2. Increases in MarTech spending
60% of marketers will significantly increase their spending on MarTech solutions (Welcome, 2020). The focus is primarily on marketing analytics, performance & attribution, and automation and campaign management tools. Primarily during times of working from home (WFH), marketing departments increasingly rely on technical solutions to coordinate the work in their teams.
3. MarTech will help promote business growth
Only 36% of marketers measure the success of their campaigns against business growth (Welcome, 2020). That is a surprisingly low number, mainly since performance measurement is the key to the effectiveness of marketing campaigns. MarTech tools are the ideal means for accurate analyses.
Evaluations in the form of reports and dashboards can be set up on low-code platforms without requiring any technical background. First, this gives marketers information about the impact of their marketing campaigns and, secondly, they get a tool that justifies strategic decisions. The use of artificial intelligence (AI) is expected to lead to additional revenues of up to 14 trillion US dollars (by 2035) (Accenture, 2017).
4. The focus should shift to more personalized content
Customers have expected the things that MarTech can do for a long time. Digital pioneers are already showing us what it means to create highly personalized content and always offer customers what they want. Consumers get used to this standard, which is one reason why 71% of marketers want to use AI for personalization (Everstring 2018).
96% of marketers recognize the benefits and importance of personalized marketing (Quicksprout, 2018). This finding is also reflected on the consumer side, where 80% of consumers say they are more willing to buy a product or service from a company that provides a personalized experience (Marketing Dive, 2018). If marketing content does not meet a recipient’s needs, it fails. Therefore, target group and content analyses always go hand in hand.
5. Collaboration tools are becoming more critical for marketing flow
A cross-functional, interdisciplinary team that can work together from anywhere using project management tools is definitely an emerging development that companies increasingly advance. In times of WFH, systems that promote digital collaboration become hygiene factors. Not only do comprehensive marketing platforms cover more than one area, but they must also facilitate efficient collaboration, from planning to implementation.
MarTech is the new standard in modern marketing. The positive development of the MarTech landscape shows that data-based platforms are becoming an essential resource in the digital business world. For one, they promote collaboration between the various departments and, secondly, contribute to corporate growth.
CRM systems, content marketing platforms, e-mail marketing, social media and project management tools are particularly sought after in the investment strategy of marketers. To get to know your customers even better and put fact-based customer needs at the center of corporate activity – that is what MarTech solutions provide.
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