How to Create a Best-in-Class MarTech Strategy

September 1, 2017

By Kerry Breen

Simone Andress/


Having a MarTech strategy in place is critical in today's digital environment, but figuring out where to start can be daunting. According to Scott Brinker, co-founder and CTO of ion interactive, "One of the challenges is that the marketing technology space is so large, it is intimidating. If you don't have a strategy, it is like an overwhelming sea of noise."

The ANA recently conducted research on marketing disruptions. The analysis, conducted by McKinsey & Company, found that survey respondents with MarTech strategies that were owned by the marketing teams in collaboration with IT were the most successful at mitigating risks from industry disruptions, like rapidly increasing consumer expectations. More specifically, those who said they used data and insights to guide their marketing strategies yielded an average of 10 percent new gross revenue. From Marketing Disruption: Technology to the Rescue," here are recommendations that marketing teams can take when putting a MarTech strategy in place:

  1. Start from the top and go down. Evaluate your corporate business strategy from which all other departmental strategies are derived. How do the corporate vision, strategy, and goals direct marketing to meet the demands for real-time expectations of consumers? "This is a transformation that's happening upstream, so this can't happen with just the people who are down in the trenches working on digital marketing, or the ones responsible for marketing execution," explains Jason Heller, partner and global lead of digital marketing operations at McKinsey & Company. "While they're agents of change at that level of the organization, there has to be an organizational commitment. This has to be a top-down initiative to truly happen at scale."
  2. Define your marketing strategy and goals. Derived from corporate strategy, define marketing's overall strategy and goals. Do not yet think specifically in terms of technology but what marketing needs to accomplish for it to contribute and how measurement of that contribution will occur.
  3. Develop your marketing technology strategy and roadmap. With the overall marketing strategy in clear view, build out a technology strategy that helps accomplish marketing's strategic goals. As you do this, account for these elements of the technology strategy.
  4. Prioritize your investments. Not all elements of the marketing strategy or marketing technology strategy are equally important, so prioritize all technology evaluations, acquisitions, and implementations relative to one another.
  5. Collaborate with IT.Make sure a partnership exists that is as unaffected by organizational silos as possible and lay out a clear understanding of who owns, manages, and uses the technology to support a three-part model that includes:
    • Integrated consumer data: Stitch together a variety of sources of consumer data to have a complete customer profile.
    • Decision-making: Score customers based on value, behavior, and propensity for value creation. Such scoring allows marketers to make optimal decisions about messages, offers, and experiences that have the greatest impact on the customer journey.
    • Distribution platforms: Use platforms that serve as customer data integration points and automate the distribution of the right content across multiple channels. These platforms track responses, conversion, and the value created.
  6. Track the right measures and show ROI. Ensure that measurements are not only defined for each component of the marketing strategy — and the technology strategy that supports it — but also that it is someone's job to monitor the data and do something with it. That "something" includes using the data to improve marketing's performance on an ongoing basis and determining the ROI of the things marketing is doing.
  7. Make decisions and take calculated risks. The hardest part is the last: to do something with the data and insights the strategic marketing processes produce. Lack of decisions and risk-taking is usually due to the fear of negative consequences or the lack of a supportive culture.

Read more findings from the ANA study here.


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