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Just How Techy Is Your Marketing Department?

Technology isn’t just for your IT department. Marketing technology, or MarTech, is a hot topic, especially as organizations ready their 2017 budgets. Why should your business pay attention to the marketing automation trends for the coming year? Companies have access to an increasing amount of data about consumers, and applying that data via advanced applications like target account list building, customer profiling, predictive lead identification, and others can help give your business a competitive edge. The suite of MarTech tools is so important to success that some organizations have created a position dedicated to overseeing their successful implementations: We call it the rise of the marketing technologist.  There’s a flip side, though: Surprisingly, some organizations have yet to leverage MarTech at all. Let’s examine the data around that finding and explore MarTech’s priorities and challenges for the year.

Report: Two Thirds of Businesses Don’t Use a Marketing Automation Platform (MAP)

Openprise recently released its 2016 MarTech Data Report, revealing that a substantial number of organizations still do not use a MAP at all (see Figure 1). There’s more, though—for those organizations that have opted-in to an automation platform, their usage of these powerful tools remains primarily basic or moderate.

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Figure 1. Source:  Openprise 2016 MarTech Data Report

So, what’s the problem, exactly? You might reasonably assume a lack of technology skills would be the biggest contributing factor to the 40 percent of organizations that don’t engage in any type of advanced marketing—but you’d be wrong. Budget is sometimes the culprit, but the real issue is data—inaccurate data (16 percent of respondents), lack of data (24 percent of respondents), and too much data (10 percent of respondents) all stood out in the report as key pain points for marketers. Data hygiene—that is, the quality and accuracy of the data that feeds the MarTech machines—was cited by 50 percent of MAP-adoptees as their number one challenge related to data.

MarTech Priorities and Challenges

According to the report, the top three MarTech priorities for 2016 were data management (43 percent), analytics (39 percent), and CRM (35 percent). For survey respondents not currently using marketing automation, the top three challenges were data management, data quality, and system integration. The same three challenges ailed those organizations that did use a MAP, just in a slightly different order.
These data hygiene challenges will be addressed, no doubt, if the MarTech hiring spree is any indication. According to the Openprise report, data management was projected to be the “top hire in 2016.” Hiring in marketing automation, though? Oddly enough, it made the bottom of the list. I think this is one area marketers will need to put some thought into as they look to the coming year. See Figure 2 below for a hiring breakdown. As you review it, think of your own company. Did your year mirror the projections, or did you take a different path?

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Figure 2. Source:  Openprise 2016 MarTech Data Report

I look to lead scoring as another potential MarTech priority. The data from the report shows 78 percent of those who use marketing automation use it to score leads. We all know marketing and sales have their differences, and this is no exception: When it comes to lead scoring, marketing emphasizes engagement while sales leans in to demographic data. The two can agree, however, that they’re not overly confident about their lead scoring efforts, both rating their performance at a six out of ten.

What’s crazy to me is only half of marketers who said they use MarTech for lead scoring actually  leverage those efforts when it comes to lead qualification—I look for that to change in the coming year as MAP adoption goes more mainstream.

What’s Next?

So, just how techy is your marketing department? Are you one of those forward-thinking marketers who uses a MAP or other type of MarTech? If so, what has been your experience? If not, what is holding you back? Tell me in the comments.

Photo Credit: robwriggs Flickr via Compfight cc

Eric Vidal

Eric Vidal is the Senior VP of Marketing & Principal at BroadSuite Media Group (BMG), a strategic partner of V3B and The Marketing Scope. Eric heads up the lead generation services for brands both large and small, and is a recognized leader in start-ups, marketing, content marketing, lead generation, advertising, tracking behavior, PR, messaging, social media, online events and web collaboration.