How to incorporate more flexibility in your martech stack
To build a killer martech stack, businesses must be flexible and embrace change, writes Shanice Jones.
Technology is often viewed today as a compelling solution to problems that exist in most industries. This is especially true for marketing.
The global health crisis has created a competitive landscape in which the ROI of martech expenditures is expected to be considerable. Whether it’s content management systems, CRM integration or predictive analytics, marketers have never had so many options when it comes to martech solutions.
The key to finding marketing-based technology solutions that will accelerate your company’s growth is to choose tech that is flexible. Martech technology must be able to bend without breaking, meaning it should be adaptable to new trends without losing sight of the main goal. Meanwhile, your marketing team must be able to learn new things, unlearn formerly successful tactics that are no longer working, and keep up with rapidly changing customer expectations.
With technology and innovation continually shifting priorities, it’s vital that businesses can be flexible to ensure customers are satisfied, employees are engaged and the competition kept at bay. In this article, I’ll discuss what to consider when choosing a flexible martech stack that can serve your needs without causing bigger problems.
Have an agile mindset
Your marketing team has to have an agile mindset if you want to succeed. Teams must evaluate both technology and strategies as we enter a new era of digital life. Sadly, the coronavirus pandemic has exposed how razor thin profit margins are for most businesses.
In an increasingly competitive and economically uncertain landscape, businesses must be able to embrace using digital tools that are multi-faceted and multi-functional. This is further illustrated by the fact that since the pandemic hit, three-quarters of consumers now report that they prefer digital communications exclusively when being contacted by businesses.
Don’t be emotionally attached to older marketing methods that may have been successful previously. The marketing landscape is changing based on how customers prefer to be contacted and reached out to. This is why having an agile mindset, where you are willing to take risks to adapt, will be beneficial.
In that sense, finding the best martech stack for your business starts with an open conversation with your business’ management team and your employees who are the closest to your customers. Reviewing marketing objectives, ensuring everyone is on the same page and having a firm idea of what is working and what isn’t is a great starting point for building a killer martech stack.
Embrace hyper learning
What is hyper learning? It’s not reading a book as fast as you can and spewing out all the facts you can remember. Actually, it’s quite the opposite.
Hyper learning is an important and yet overlooked quality for future success. It involves continually learning new approaches and unlearning old strategies that simply aren’t working anymore.
It also flies in the face of our natural, humanistic tendency to want to hold on to the tried-and-true tactics we’ve deployed in the past – the same ones that we are unwilling or uncomfortable admitting are no longer serving us.
As such, your team should brainstorm and have discovery sessions where you identify your technology gaps and how to build bridges to cross them. A gap analysis and technology audit is crucial to understanding which of your martech solutions are worth a continued investment, and perhaps more importantly, which ones aren’t.
It’s true that many businesses have tightened their budget in response to harsh lockdowns and a bleak economic outlook. However, that doesn’t mean that using technology in marketing has to be expensive.
Consider investing in your colleagues and encourage them to develop their skills and to showcase them in your industry. Establishing colleagues that are ‘thought leaders can give your brand a natural spotlight in the form of professional articles, thoughtful opinion pieces, instructional videos or social media presence.
Establishing credibility in an industry can cause your brand to be organically associated with a high level of expertise. It also helps colleagues boost their confidence and careers. Who doesn’t like to encourage that?
Research has also shown that there is a link between finding patterns in data and increased creativity. This could also lead to the much-desired after-effect of discovering new marketing approaches that can take your brand to new heights.
Although many view data as the realm of computers that engage in algorithms and predictive analytics to come to quick conclusions, the simple power of data to change our mindsets toward a problem or common goal should never be underestimated.
Embrace changes in your team’s structure
Inevitably, as you embrace a new martech stack, you must have patience as you train a team on new skills. Consider which personalities fit best for different roles and allow flexibility for different learning styles.
It would be remiss if I didn’t mention that the flexibility you yearn for in your martech solution should be extended to your employees, especially in these uncertain times. It’s also important to take note of shifting ways in the way we work. Remote work is rapidly becoming the new normal, and if you run your business out of a physical location it will be necessary for your company to rely on project-based communication tools that enable your team members to work closely together regardless of where they are.
Furthermore, it’s expected that 50 percent of the workforce will be made up of freelancers working entirely online by 2027. This means that you should be prepared for the eventuality in the near future that your team may consist of less employees and more freelance contractors working independently, who you can hire intermittently for different projects and tasks.
However, one example of a bending-until-breaking type of flexibility is falling into the trap of having just one colleague responsible for the majority of technical issues of a martech project. If this person moves on or simply gets tired of being the ‘go-to’, this will spell huge problems for your martech implementation as a whole.
Finally, you must be open to new marketing ideas from your team – and beyond. After all, many of them are closest to the clients and can offer different perspectives in different stages of the customer journey.
At the end of the day, you don’t want to get stuck over analysing your long list of martech options. As they say, time is money, and a decision should be made as a team as swiftly as possible. But with a little planning, open-mindedness and a lot of flexibility, you can find the right martech solutions that will help your marketing campaigns more effectively adjust to new trends.
Shanice Jones is a software engineer and freelance technical writer.