The Mental State of the Modern Marketer On Technology Adoption

MarTech San Francisco May 9-11th Conference: Recap Part 1

Going to the MarTech conference is a weird mix of excitement and apprehension. While it’s interesting to see how fast new technologies emerge and existing technologies evolve, it’s also scary to see how fast new technologies emerge and existing technologies evolve.

For selfish reasons, it’s also validating to see how Tealium’s value only seems to increase alignment with the pains being felt in the industry as a result of this pace of change.

Coming out of the Martech conference, we’d like to highlight 3 industry insights that marketers should be aware of as they continue to innovate at the intersection of people, processes and tools. We’ll post these as a 3-part series covering: (1) The mental state of the modern marketer regarding technology (below), (2) Platformization and the march from task-based silos toward enterprise orchestration and (3) The rapid and sudden rise of CDPs.

The Mental State of the Modern Marketer Regarding Technology

The first insight is around the current mental state of the marketer and marketing organizations at large. In a year where the marketing technology landscape grew about 40% YoY, going from ~3,800 solutions to about 5,000 solutions, it’s important to take stock of how this is making marketing professionals react.   

Scott Brinker (the chair for the MarTech conference) described the 5 stages of MarTech realizations for companies that go a long way towards describing where we are in the industry today (and the mindset we should have by this point).  Any individual marketer has probably also gone through these stages over the last few years and are just reaching that stage 5 state:

MarTech Stages

Photo Credit: Scott Brinker, MarTech Conference (link here)

Denial – This is the stage where you tend to ignore the fact that things are changing at an unprecedented rate (both with consumer behavior and how we execute marketing)…and that rate isn’t slowing. For as long as we’ve been talking about MarTech, it can be easy to fall into the trap of doing things the way they’ve always been done.

Anger – The emotion may not always reach outright anger, but generally the realization that you have to change is frustrating at best. It can feel like everything you know how to do is no longer valuable compared to how well you can use some stupid tool.

Bargaining – This is a baby step toward fixing the problem. All of a sudden you can justify in your mind, maybe this is a good thing…. “well, I know how to market and this tool seemingly can help me do it all, so maybe all this technology ain’t so bad.”

Depression – And then you realize that’s a false promise.  It’s not that easy…but it doesn’t have to that hard either…

Acceptance – While this is stage 5 of MarTech realizations, this is step 1 of truly solving the problem. This is where you realize 3 things; (1) new tools constantly come out, existing tools constantly evolve and this will continue, (2) no one tool can do it all or solve all my problems, and (3) there is an answer to this that will make life easier over time, even if I have to take small steps to get there.

I would argue that an important insight you should gain at stage 5 is that data underpins all of marketing and should be the organizational foundation on which marketing processes, people and tools should be organized. More specifically, the collection, enrichment, unification and activation of data comprising a single view of your customer.

That’s the most critical challenge facing marketers to withstand the constant headwind of emerging technology and shifting behaviors….how do we paint an accurate picture (not siloed, in real time) of each customer (not a whole group or segment) in a flexible (vendor neutral) and portable (from tool to tool) way that’s also actionable (insights automatically become action, not manual)?

That brings us to insight #2…

Part 2: ‘Platformization’ and the Evolution from Task-based Silos to Enterprise Orchestration

Part 3: The rapid and sudden rise of CDPs

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