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MarTech Recap Part 2: Tech is an Enabler, not a Solution

Jennifer Mulligan

Last month, I attended MarTech 2016 with my colleague, Sarah Dietze, who shared her thoughts on the conference recently. Her recent blog post discussed the dynamic between marketing and sales.

But what does marketing do once they’ve reached an understanding with sales? How do they measure the quality of leads driven to website, or even attract potential customers? It feels natural to turn to technology for the solution to these questions. After all, technology is an integrated part of our culture; it should incorporate into marketing departments as well.

Despite the conference name, a major theme of MarTech was the technology is an enabler, not a comprehensive solution or cure-all. Here are three experts and sessions that stressed this takeaway:

The Journey Wins, Not the Tech

Image Source: Twitter
Image Source: Twitter

David Edelman, global co-leader of digital, marketing and sales practices for McKinsey, discussed the buyer journey and how technology gives brands more insight into it. One of the reasons marketers love technology is that they learn so much about their customers! They also like that technology makes the purchase process easier. As everyone knows, the easier it is to make a purchase, the more likely it is that the customer will buy.

That’s not necessarily true, according to Edelman. Sometimes, buyers need more information about a product or company. By providing that insight, brands foster more loyal relationships with their customers. And that is what increases the likelihood of a purchase.

Marketing Technology to Enable Customer Obsession

Rohit Prabhakar, head of digital marketing strategy and marketing technologies at McKesson, talked about having the right technology in place to create a great customer experience. He was the first presenter to say that technology is the biggest enabler, but it is not the goal. Too often, he said, marketers get carried away with all of the amazing pieces of technology they can use. The most successful marketing team doesn’t have the largest marketing stack. Efficient teams will be most successful.

Instead, Prabhakar recommended that marketers have a mindset that focuses on ways to gather data about customers, tools to deliver the right content at the right time to the right customer and solutions for A/B testing. For most companies, these are the only pieces of martech required. There are exceptions, of course, and that is up to each marketing department. The takeaway here is to take a moment to consider which technologies are necessary to have in a stack.

Ready, Aim, Fire: LinkedIn’s Custom Targeting Suite

Ian du Mee, senior manager of marketing operations, and Sidd Sengupta, manager of data enablement at LinkedIn, shared their company’s approach to marketing technology. Despite the premise of the conference, these two recommended that brands build technology in-house as much as possible. This gives marketers more autonomy and personalization options. The key here is to understand your team’s needs and capabilities. Don’t attempt to build a CMS, for instance, if it’s not feasible.

Sengupta and du Mee shared that, like anything, marketing technology is only useful when you know what you’re doing with it. Don’t own a piece of technology for the sole sake of owning it. Purchase it and use it as if you couldn’t live without it.

What technology could you never live without in your job? Tweet us @WalkerSands!