Report: CMOs need to step up their martech ecosystem approach

Forrester's latest paper looks at the imperative for marketing leaders to take an active role in orchestrating a cohesive and unified martech stack

Marketing leaders need to bring an ecosystem-oriented mindset and take an active role in orchestrating their company’s marketing technology stack if they want to achieve competitive advantage.  

That’s the guidance expressed through Forrester’s new paper, A CMO’s Guide To Marketing Technology, which is advising CMOs to take an active role in architecting more cohesive martech deployment. While effective marketing technology is critical to executing marketing strategy, the analyst firm said many companies have taken a decentralised, adhoc approach to tech planning and delivery.  

“CMOs must maintain direct involvement in their martech strategy to ensure that investments live up to their full potential and support the business,” the report authors stated. “CMOs can provide the leadership to centralise planning, align staffing and resources and develop a comprehensive martech ecosystem.”  

Forrester noted martech continues to gain criticality and spending continues to increase. The recent Gartner CMO Survey showed martech consuming more than 26 per cent of marketing budget dollars in 2021.  

However, it’s clear martech tools are still commonly treated as one-off tools and remain disconnected in many organisations today, Forrester noted. This year’s State of the CMO report also found martech integration as a growing challenge for Australian marketing chiefs as these technologies mature and become even more critical.  

To succeed, CMOs need to assemble a true martech stack, not portfolio of applications, Forrester advised.  

“After years of tactical planning, siloed decision-making and reactive responses to market trends, most companies’ martech stacks suffer from fragmentation, incomplete data access, inefficient workflows, and underutilised functionality,” the report stated. “Now companies face the colossal task of designing, deploying and managing a complete and cohesive martech stack. Few companies will succeed, but the ones that do stand to put themselves at a competitive advantage through improved customer engagement.”

To help, Forrester highlighted four pillars of capability in its framework for building out more cohesive and connected martech stack. The first is the ‘data fabric’ and imperative for precise, complete and scaled data to martech applications for insights and engagement. Second is reporting and analysis that enables teams to understand customer behaviours and needs, as well as testing functionality to optimise performance against such insights.

Forrester’s third pillar of ‘brand strategy’ means harnessing technology that provides tactical organisational, creative and measurement capabilities to marry brand strategy and execution. Finally, ‘brand experience’ requires engagement functionality, including the systems execute customer experiences across marketing, advertising and loyalty touchpoints.

The report also noted wider considerations such as data management, identity resolution, staffing and skills CMOs must factor into the martech picture.

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