To understand modern marketing challenges, you must understand the tools marketers use every day. We’ve put together a brief introduction to get you up to speed on enterprise marketing technology and commonly faced issues.
The Core Enterprise Marketing “Stack”
Sean Zinsmeister, VP of Product Marketing at Infer, offers a simple overview of the three primary components of a traditional enterprise marketing “stack”:
System of Record (CRM)
Customer relationship management software enables companies to maintain a centralized record of important business contacts, whether they are end users, prospects, customers, or partners. Salesforce and Oracle are the most popular solutions, but smaller players like Zoho and Sugar CRM have also gained traction.
System of Engagement (MAP)
Next is marketing automation software, commonly from Oracle, Salesforce, Adobe or Marketo. Other popular solutions include HubSpot and ActiveCampaign. The purpose of marketing automation platforms (MAP) is to automate marketing functions such as customer segmentation and campaign management.
System of Intelligence (AI & Predictive Analytics)
Analytics and A.I. allow marketers to extract insights from vast stores of customer and campaign data and calculate ROI of their efforts. While fast-growing, this function is highly segmented, leading some marketing executives like Mark Kovscek, President of Velocidi, to lament of a “lack of an enterprise-grade solution for analytics.”
Add-On Marketing Solutions
These three core functions outlined by Zinsmeister do not encapsulate the range of marketing technologies available. Enterprises typically also work with advertising platforms and exchanges as well as niche solutions for market research, social media management, customer support, and other functions.
Most Fortune 500 companies do a significant amount of media buying and ad targeting on the major advertising platforms of Google, Facebook, Instagram, etc as well as on ad exchanges like AppNexus.
Enterprises complement their core “stack” with solutions for specific use cases. S3 and Hadoop are popular for data storage, Forrester and Gartner for third-party research, Tableau and Domo for business intelligence, Spredfast and Netbase for social analytics, Mechanical Turk and Crowdflower for crowdsourcing, WordPress and Sitecore for content management, and Zendesk and Intercom for customer support and engagement. The list of possible solutions feels virtually endless.
Common Challenges Faced By MarTech
Common issues with marketing technologies include navigating the overlap between advertising, marketing, and sales as well as understanding and adjusting for differences in technical implementation of competitive tools.
MarTech vs. AdTech vs. SalesTech
The overlap between advertising tech, marketing tech, and sales tech confuses even professional marketers since industry jargon is used inconsistently by vendors. Ritchie Hale, Chief Innovation Officer at TouchCR, offers this handy distinction for B2C companies: “AdTech focuses on advertising, client acquisition, and brand awareness. MarTech, focuses on monetizing and maintaining the relationship with existing clients and leads.”
Hale adds that the “separation of these two stacks creates an identity gap, where we are trying to uniquely identify the person we are advertising to before we have an identifiable piece of information from them.” The lack of connectivity and integration between tools leads to data silos and poor flow of information within the ecosystem. Kovscek of Velocidi also adds that as “data is cleansed and prepared, it is optimized for a specific use case (e.g., programmatic, campaign reporting, media attribution) and therefore creates competing versions of the data.”
For B2B companies, sales technology stacks center around CRM, but also includes tools to improve sales operations, analytics, and performance. B2B marketing, also called Account Based Marketing (ABM), lies at the intersection of sales and marketing tech.
Tools with the same functionality can be implemented in vastly different ways which impact usability and performance. Unfortunately, the blackbox, proprietary nature of most marketing technology vendors makes comparison difficult without conducting sustained trials.
Even the same type of tool, such as CRM, differs functionally when used by B2B versus B2C customers. Eric Stahl, an SVP of Salesforce Marketing Cloud explains that B2C customers manage “hundreds of millions of contacts inside our Salesforce system and send billions of messages. It’s a completely different architecture.” Monika Ambrozowicz, Global Marketing Manager at Synerise, also advises distinguishing between systems with “operational capabilities for real-time, interactive workloads where data is primarily captured and stored” and systems that use your full data to “provide analytical capabilities for retrospective, complex analysis.”
Vendor différences in implementation and definitions often lead to conflicting results from different tools. Additionally, user metrics cannot be reliably and uniformly measured on all devices and platforms, making data collection and verification difficult.
Mark Torrence, CTO of RocketFuel, cites one severe case where “2 video viewability vendors disagreed about whether an impression was viewable, on 80% of the impressions in a single campaign, when both vendors were in use.”