paint splatters on white table
PHOTO: Ricardo Viana

Whether it’s seamless platforms, seamless integrations or seamless campaigns, when it comes to marketing technologies, everyone’s obsessed with being seamless.

The problem for a lot of marketers though, is that so much of what they do isn’t actually seamless. In fact, much of the best marketing is quite the opposite: it's messy, it breaks the rules and requires thinking outside of the box. That’s what makes marketing creative — and why so many marketers enjoy doing what they do.

Marketers Need Room to Experiment

Working in marketing tech, it can be easy to forget this fact. We get used to seeing campaigns as a series of triggers which fire off to neatly segmented audiences. If you’re building a marketing drumbeat, this is great, but if you want to create something truly unique, something creative, you need room to experiment. Such experimentation requires technology.

The mistake that many large marketing platforms make is they force people into their own, predefined user experience patterns. They nudge, direct and limit you into doing things in a certain way, using very particular predefined steps. This leaves little room for marketers to experiment and explore different ways of working and types of output. To escape this predefined pattern, users must be willing to devote significant time to configure, develop and adapt their chosen suite to their own working patterns. This can be a slow and arduous task.

Rather than forcing you into their user experience patterns, any good marketing technology should plug perfectly into your work patterns and wider ecosystem. It should provide a base around which you can build and experiment with the content, campaigns and creative execution that you want. This will not only provide greater freedom, but also regain valuable time that would have been spent painstakingly configuring your suite.

This is why, for both CMS providers and the wider digital experience market, I’ve been arguing the case for modular — rather than monolithic —platform design.

Related Article: Marrying the Art and Science of Marketing: From Engagement to Bliss

Modular Systems Provide Choice

Cumbersome, ‘monolithic’ platforms are forcing marketers into uniform processes, rather than providing them with the freedom they need to build their own stacks that meet their individual business needs.

In contrast, modular platforms have been compared to LEGO bricks. They are universal because they’re based on an intuitive, clearly-defined, modular system. The result is these systems provide us with a choice. Either we can follow the instructions to the letter, or we can choose to ignore the instructions and build something completely original.

This is the beauty of modular marketing technologies. If marketers want to follow the instructions and create neat, automated processes, they can. But if they want to experiment with alternative formulas for success, with additional technologies, third party apps or integrations, they also have the option. The choice is theirs.

Related Article: Build Your Digital Customer Experience Platform Brick by Brick

Giving Marketers Room to Be Messy

Great marketing needs room to be a little messy. It comes from the freedom to experiment, trial new ideas, and create new things. Great marketing platforms must do the same. They must provide marketers with the flexibility they need to experiment and run their own, unique creative campaigns.

That is why I believe modular technologies will be the future of our industry. As providers of marketing tech, our platforms must be more than just overcooked, IT-run monsters. They must be creative tools designed specifically to facilitate the very best and most creative marketing. That means providing marketers with real flexibility, freedom and choice.