Gartner unveiled a pretty alarming statistic about marketing technology (martech) in its Gartner Marketing Technology Survey 2019: Marketers only use 58% of their marketing stack’s full capabilities and potential. We covered some potential reasons why this is happening for marketers last week. So much technology available, yet we're not using it to its full capabilities. Perhaps Deloitte researchers said it best in their 2020 Global Marketing Trends report, "The breakneck pace of technological change is simultaneously exciting and overwhelming, full of opportunity and the potential for missteps.”

Today we catch up with companies who are dealing with the very challenge of managing their martech stacks to gain insights on how they try to take advantage of their tool sets.

Renew the Entire Martech Stack, Twice

Marketing in B2B is becoming much more relevant and measurable, according to Merijn te Booij, CMO of Genesys. “A big part of that,” he said, “is the very rapid tech advancements in martech. At Genesys, we have renewed our entire marketing stack in the last three years twice.”

Part of the effort to manage the martech stack is finding the right people. To that end, te Booij said finding people that are true marketers and savvy technologists “is like finding a unicorn.” That combination is fairly new, he added, “Because of that, the role of agencies is changing rapidly, too. The days a CMO had a budget to spend on agencies are over, particularly in B2B. Most CMOs will invest in insourcing simply because they don’t want to invest time in educating contractors.”

Related Article: Why Marketers Can't Realize the Full Potential of Their Martech Stack

Two Martech Evaluations Per Year

Brandon Doyle, CEO and founder of Wallaroo Media, said his marketing teams evaluate their martech stack a couple times each year. “It's important for us,” he said, “to always have the latest, best tools/software at our disposal to help us deliver the best results for our clients.” The recent approach has been to find a best-in-breed suite and then find supplemental products to perhaps fill in the gaps or cover additional needs. “This allows us to keep our costs down while not sacrificing performance at all,” Doyle added.

Testing is Core of Martech Foundation

Test runs are the only way to go about selecting marketing technology for some companies. Lily Ray, SEO director at Path Interactive, said her teams normally do enough demoing with a tool to ensure that it will become part of the company’s day-to-day workflow before purchasing. “This reduces the risk of us buying something that ends up not fitting our needs.” 

Learning Opportunities

However, it is common for the Path Interactive team to take a while to learn to incorporate new tools into processes. Many SEO tools offer more features than they routinely use, she added. Further, the amount of time it takes to learn all of the features can become counterproductive. “We try to only add new tools when they offer a need that isn’t already met by one of our existing tools, many of which are becoming more all-encompassing over time,” Ray said. “Once in a while, a tool we subscribe to doesn’t end up being worth the cost or worth the investment of time required to make it a routine part of our workflow, and we decide to stop using it.”

Related Article: Are Your Organization's Martech Investments Working?

Dividing the Martech Talent

Path Interactive does not have a point-person or assigned expert of its martech tools, but it does have individuals who have a stronger proficiency with some tools than others. “We have more technical SEO specialists who specialize in crawling, page speed or diagnosing indexation issues,” Ray said. “We also have SEO professionals who are focused on local search and therefore have more experience leveraging our local SEO technology. The same is true for content and content optimization tools." 

Data Sources Must Be Trusted

For Jason Dodge, founder of BlackTruck Media & Marketing, it all comes down to trusting the data sources and having a reliable stack that his team can run multiple scenarios through, while testing and tracking those changes. “Many tools out there might give you the answers you are seeking, but perhaps they don’t fit your team’s workflow or data processing efforts,” Dodge said. “The last thing you want to do is invest heavily in just one tool or application only to find out that it is not the right fit.”

For many, Dodge added, it’s easy to step back and look at your martech stack and base the needs of your company off of generalizations informed by your practice. “However,” he said, “this is an approach that is met with many pitfalls. The reality of the situation is that rarely is there a one-size-fits-all approach for anything digital marketing related."