Integrating the marketing technology stack into an integrated digital ecosystem can be difficult. Without the proper strategic and tactical road mapping and execution, it can also be expensive and frustrating.
When creating and enhancing the marketing stack, integration is key. It develops a more effective and efficient digital ecosystem, giving marketers real-time insights into the success of their campaigns and a comprehensive picture of their target market. However, it is understandable why martech integration is not a top priority for most organizations.
The process requires many resources and is challenging because of its technical component. Additional skills beyond technical preparedness are needed to successfully address the martech integration challenge. In addition to technical expertise, organizational skills, and an experimental culture are critical for successful martech integration.
Integrating technology requirements
Integrating the marketing technology stack into a digital ecosystem can be difficult and time-consuming. Without the proper martech consultants to guide strategic and tactical road mapping and execution, it can also be expensive and frustrating.
However, failing to launch integration initiatives poses several difficulties, including technical debt. Similar to software development projects, marketing technology projects have a technical obligation. In both cases, the primary motivator is the cost of rework due to choosing the quick fix over a more cautious strategy that might take longer.
Martech debt may result from the following:
- Lack of resources and requirements.
- Inadequate due diligence on the vendor or product.
- Hastily addressing the current issue.
- Poor management.
Martech integration is a difficult task requiring a high level of technical aptitude. Furthermore, the foundation of effective integration initiatives lies in organizational and martech skills and a culture of experimentation.
Cross-departmental collaboration is the most important organizational trait when it comes to martech. It is crucial to establish a partnership between marketing and IT. Ten years ago, the CMO and CTO didn’t interact often.
CMOs frequently spend more on technology than their CTO colleagues due to the cloud, data-driven marketing, mobile, e-commerce, cybersecurity, and untethered consumers who move faster than every brand they engage with today. That’s a sizable investment that requires some risk control. In other words, marketers must acquire the organizational skills required to create this connection. A crucial tool for the CMO to establish the marketing/IT relationship is the martech leader.
Martech executives need a strong foundation in business, marketing, and technology. They are relationship builders who can affect change throughout the organization. Furthermore, they understand how business, marketing, and technology interact to produce quantifiable business results.
Experimentation is the foundation of ongoing innovation. COVID-19 accelerated technology adoption by at least one order of magnitude and sparked unprecedented global e-commerce growth. It’s safe to say that a massive increase in experimentation played a role in the e-commerce explosion.
Particularly in software development, many corporations encourage team experimentation. Organizations can develop new strategies or validate existing ones with team experiments.
The following are some tips for brands to use to enhance team experimentation:
- Encourage teamwork: Organizations need to get out of the way and let teams work to achieve business objectives that address important problems while generating fresh ideas.
- Provide background data and context: Organizational outcomes measurement offers information vital for making the best choices so teams can deliver on expectations and resolve issues. Teams can choose the appropriate work by making informed decisions when given information and context.
- Trust the team with the details: Teams can choose the technologies and tools they will use in the best groups and organizations. Recognize and accept that they are the experts, and allow them to alter stories, specifications, and technologies as they see fit.
Businesses need to prioritize carefully, integrating disparate and diverse martech tools into a single digital ecosystem to maximize the return on their marketing technology investments while lowering the risk of martech debt. However, technical expertise is only one aspect of martech integration. The ability to use APIs and other integration tools effectively requires more than just technological know-how; success also requires consideration of cultural factors.
Key Approaches to Assessing Marketing Integration
The four most crucial approaches to consider when assessing the integration of marketing technologies are listed below:
Complexity of Content
Don’t undervalue the complexity because there are numerous unrelated technology systems managing content, which has caused massive data and content fragmentation. Furthermore, as marketing technology systems advance, their complexity rises. Now imagine that each system is probably run by a different team, with knowledge limited to the requirements of providing X data to department A and receiving Y information from department B. Unsurprisingly, these systems don’t communicate with one another, and the data they manage and store overlap.
They were probably acquired and put into practice separately over time by various groups for various purposes. They were added to the marketing ecosystem like a puzzle piece based on a specific feature that was needed, but they don’t quite fit with the puzzle itself. As a result, businesses must spend much money on overhead to maintain and sync content in addition to the labor-intensive process of manually entering range into each system. Numerous ways exist for inconsistencies and mistakes to reach customers and delay supply chain deliverables.
Understand the ecosystem
Marketers must obtain complete visibility into the entire marketing ecosystem to fully comprehend the big picture. A business partner who thoroughly understands the procedures, difficulties, and rules relevant to a sector can assist in supplying this visibility. The first step is to record every system involved in a product’s development and promotion. The systems of record for each piece of content must be established, as well as those that “manage the milestones” for all or a portion of the end-to-end process. The business partner will then evaluate the potential for integration of each system.
Unluckily, it’s likely that one or more of the systems lack an integration layer, such as an API (Application Programming Interface), that would make it simple for systems to communicate with one another. Business partners can start designing the integrations needed to create a seamless workflow once marketers understand the ecosystem, including the data behind the scenes (such as supply chain and metadata for search criteria).
Think API-first when connecting marketing technology systems to build a collaborative digital network. An application’s component that receives requests for data and content and responds is known as an API, as was previously mentioned. It might just be a data field, or it might be as complicated as sending a command.
Not all APIs are created equal. An intuitive API with no unpleasant surprises has been written well. Robust APIs enable solutions to integrate much more quickly than those without them. Another benefit of integrating APIs into existing applications is a much shorter testing and validation phase. Upgrades to systems without a layer for integration can be very painful from many perspectives.
Before a brand can go “live,” it usually takes months of planning, developer work, and quality assurance work to ensure that an upgrade won’t bring down another application. This is crucial When deciding whether to replace outdated technology in the marketing ecosystem.
Companies need to be very prudent while picking a business partner to assist in integrating marketing technologies. A strong partner needs to have a thorough understanding of the company. Many technology providers are skilled at integrating systems and perform well independently, but “in isolation” won’t result in a seamless user experience.
Working with a business partner who comprehends the industry is essential if organizations want to transform the marketing ecosystem into a collaborative digital network. A business can lower its technology overhead costs by successfully integrating the systems to exchange critical content. As a result, all marketing content will disseminate uniformly, paving the way for automated content creation across all channels.
The marketing ecosystem should be simpler and integrated to produce better business results and increase marketing resilience helping the company to operate efficiently and productively in the face of unforeseen circumstances. Even though there will always be factors beyond control during such events, organizations can control strategies like integrating marketing technologies. It can help create a collaborative digital ecosystem before the next event disrupts the business.