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Why CMOs should be concerned about their Martech stack

Earlier this year Chiefmartech.com unveiled its 2022 Marketing Technology Landscape Supergrahic that listed an eye-popping 9,932 technologies, which signified approximately 24% growth over 2020.

Clearly, the marketing technology landscape is showing no signs of slowing down and marketing departments are in a feeding frenzy when it comes to acquiring technology: 


These statistics indicate that this may well be that we continue to be in the golden age of marketing technology, and also serves to underscore the strategic role of marketing. However, CMOs now have the challenge of managing the pace of technology acquisition and deriving value from these investments. This in and of itself presents a challenge, and should be a lesson to B2B CMOs that all that glitters is not gold.

Here are a few things that I believe CMOs and Marketing Ops professionals need to consider as they manage their martech.

Technology is not a strategy

I was speaking recently to a CMO who told me, “I have no desire to adopt another technology as my team has a tendency to look at the latest technology as the cure to all of our problems.”  She was right in being wary of adopting more technology as her team had become enamored with the new “shiny objects” that were available.  

When looking at a technology purchase, B2B marketing organizations need to think strategy first and then determine what, if any, technology is needed to enable that strategy. 

As marketing departments look to drive better customer engagement, deliver relevant content, and produce higher quality leads and accounts, the belief that technology alone will get you closer to these objectives is faulty thinking. 

Value from this technology is elusive

Recent studies by Content Marketing Institute and ANNUITAS show that less than 40% of B2B marketing departments are finding success with their content marketing and/or their demand generation efforts.

Additionally, a recent Walker Sands study states that “only 3% of marketers surveyed stated they are getting the full value out of their tools.” 

While marketers are not realizing the value from these tools in terms of performance, there is also an added opportunity cost that is further limiting the value of these investments.

With such significant investment in these technologies, CMOs need to demand full utilization. While I believe technology is a must, marketing leaders need to begin analyzing the true value and how these technologies are enabling, not limiting, business outcomes.

Customer alignment is necessary

Buyer disruption has changed the role and the focus of marketing departments. With multiple buyers involved in an average B2B buying process, and B2B buyers largely self-managing their buying process, it would seem to make sense that marketing departments need to harness the power of technology to do their job efficiently.

While written back in 2017, I do believe this quote from a McKinsey article still applies today, “One typical shortcoming of traditional operating models is a strong focus on optimizing internal capabilities instead of making the customer’s needs and wants the organization’s central orientation point. The strong individual silos that make up the organization of so many of today’s organizations are another barrier, at odds with the need for achieving truly cross-functional collaboration.”

Many organizations view technology through the lens of their marketing function rather than looking at it through the customer journey. The problem with looking at the tools with a functional view is too many marketing departments are organized the same way – email teams, social teams, web teams, event management, etc. However, customers do not treat channels and functions the way marketers do. Understanding the customer journey and aligning the enabling technologies to it are the first steps that every marketing organization should take when assessing further technology adoption.

At the end of the day, B2B marketing departments do not need more technology; we need to utilize the technology in a more strategic way that enables a better connection with our customers. 

While the technology landscape will continue to grow, CMOs need to give careful consideration to the investment and assess if it is really making a difference in driving revenue and improving customer lifetime value.  

Carlos Hidalgo

Carlos is passionate about helping leaders desing lives they love and building corporate cultures that retain, grow and help talent rise to their highest levels of potential.

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