The 5 Most Effective Enterprise Marketing Technology Solutions
- Enterprise Marketing Technology (MarTech) brings process automation, information reporting and scale to marketing operations. Technology is the primary tool to eliminate manual labor and do more with less.
- Marketing Automation Platforms, sometimes called Marketing Clouds, were cited as the most important technology by the Best-in-Class performance archetype. However, this group's design and use of this technology differed greatly from their lower performing peers.
- The research found that what separated the most and least effective marketing technologies was less about the actual apps and more about how they were designed and implemented.
Enterprise Marketing Technology Research Findings
Research published in the Marketing Transformation Report found some interesting disparities when it came to marketing technologies (MarTech).
The research survey was not designed to identify the most used MarTech but instead the most effective.
Survey participants were asked to rate each type of marketing technology (on a 10-point scale) in terms of effectiveness. For those technologies rated above a score of 8 we asked why they were effective. For those scored below 7 we asked why they were ineffective.
We were not interested in just measuring adoption as that's more of a popularity contest and not necessarily indicative of value. As said by English author and founder of Pennsylvania, William Penn, "Avoid popularity; it has many snares, and no real benefit."
Our aim was to identify what the top performing marketers identified as the most effective marketing technologies. So, we filtered the results by performance archetype.
The below quadrant displays the results for the Best-in-Class marketers (i.e., the top 15 percent). The red box highlights what we were after, the most effective enterprise marketing technology solutions.
When MarTech is both Panacea and Pitfall
The data surfaced some unexpected results. Most enterprise marketing technology applications were rated as both effective and ineffective by large numbers of participants. Even the MarTech with the highest scores had large numbers of low scores and vice versa.
This suggests that most technologies could be effective or ineffective depending on how they are used. So, we focused on the top five technologies ranked by the Best-in-Class marketers.
The 5 Most Effective B2B Marketing Technologies
The bar chart below drills down a level to show the 5 most effective marketing technologies among all respondents and delineated by archetype.
Marketing Automation Platform
Marketing Automation Platforms (MAP) automate campaign execution and lead management processes such as lead tracking, lead acquisition, lead scoring, nurture campaigns, lead transfer to sales and lead analytics.
The two most used MAPs among the respondents were Adobe Experience Cloud (33 percent) and the Salesforce Marketing Cloud (23 percent).
The interesting discovery here was not how many participants used a marketing automation platform. Most did. It was how much of the software they actually used.
For example, as shown in the pie chart below, most respondents reporting using only 1 lead scoring rule, and that rule only scored the contact. Scoring everyone with the same rule, irrespective of their product interest and other criteria, or scoring contacts but not the account, degrades lead score effectiveness. It's a missed opportunity as once lead score rules are configured, they are completely automated.
Similarly, most respondents used only one nurture campaign. That suggests those marketers believe customers are homogenous (not true) and treat every prospect the same. That's also a missed opportunity, as nurture campaign conversions go up when campaigns are relevant and personalized, and delineated by persona, customer segment, product interest, or other dimensions.
The research found that most Medians and Laggards used their MAP software to build landing pages and repeat simple batch and blast email campaigns. This group reported low to moderate effectiveness for this application.
In contrast, the Best-in-Class cohort used their MAP to step up to omni-channel or integrated campaigns and other multi-flight, multi-channel campaigns that achieve much higher conversions. This group reported their marketing clouds were their single most effective enterprise marketing technology.
When we measured even more software capabilities, the differences in utilization became even more skewed. The data suggest it's the use of the application more so than the application itself that determines its effectiveness.
Customer Relationship Management Software
While the MAP is the lead system of record, the CRM software is the customer system of record.
Once a MAP acquires a lead, the MAP and the CRM system become inextricably linked. Marketers spend much of their time in the MAP and forwarding digital footprints to the CRM system. They monitor the CRM software for lead progression, stalled leads or leads that should be recycled. They leverage CRM for Service Level Agreement (SLA) goals and compliance.
The Best-in-Class archetype described their CRM software as mission critical and essential to their work. Many suggested they couldn't do their jobs without it.
Many Medians and Laggards described CRM as a foreign system belonging to the salesforce and providing limited information to marketing.
We know from related research and over two decades of experience that sales and marketing alignment is a prerequisite to fully leveraging both MAP and CRM software. We also know that sales and marketing alignment creates a synergistic relationship among the company's two top revenue contributors by defining an orchestrated effort toward a mutual goal.
Marketing analytics include dashboards, information reporting, predictive models and artificial intelligence.
While the Best-in-Class marketers cited analytics as their top tool for increased productivity and continuous process improvements, their lower performing peers were more often data rich but information poor. To their credit, the underperformers understood the value of data but struggled to transform it into actionable intelligence.
The research found analytics were rated effective when they focused on the most important measures and delivered actionable insights that would otherwise not have been unearthed. They also delivered more value when those insights aided revenue generation activities and were not just focused on activity measures or cost savings objectives.
Analytics were rated ineffective when they presented information that was considered not that important or not actionable for the recipient. Participants often cited too much low value information content that was ignored.
The below charts show the adoption differences among several types of analytics tools.
The Best-in-Class overwhelmingly described artificial intelligence (AI) as a 'game changer' or quantum leap. This group was 43 percent more likely to regularly use AI than their lower performing peers. 96 percent of this group cited using the AI in their MAP or CRM system.
Popular MAP and CRM systems such as Microsoft Dynamics 365 with its Azure Machine Learning and Salesforce with its Einstein have removed many of the technical barriers and put AI capabilities into the hands of business analysts and power users.
Customer Data Platforms
A plethora of marketing systems has created as many data siloes.
Customer Data Platforms (CDP) have stepped up to harvest lead and customer data from multiple systems and unify the data into a single and central master profile record. The master customer data is then shared with other systems as needed.
There was a significant difference in CDP adoption and effectiveness ranking by archetypes. That makes sense as the Best-in-Class leverage more sophisticated MarTech stacks so they have a greater need for a CDP to consolidate and standardize customer data.
The most named CDPs included Adobe's Real-time Customer Data Platform (CDP) (built on top of Adobe Experience Platform), Microsoft Dynamics CDP and Salesforce Data Cloud.
The number 5 ranked enterprise marketing technology caught us by surprise.
But maybe as this is a MarTech that helps buyers buy it shouldn't have.
Conversational marketing software uses a suite of automation tools, such as chatbots, natural language processing (NLP) and artificial intelligence, to engage online visitors in one-on-one conversations.
It is a relatively nascent category and market adoption is low. In fact, only 21 percent of respondents reported using this MarTech. But as shown in the graph below that 21 percent overwhelmingly consist of the Best-in-Class segment that advised its very high effectiveness.
As conversational marketing software ranked number 5 in terms of effectiveness, we suspect we may see increased utilization of this MarTech in the future.
The Point is This
Business leaders recognize that technology is essential to improve performance while maintaining cost efficiency.
But the MarTech landscape is overwhelming.
Trying to understand the options, and separate hype from truth, can consume as much time as the core marketing activities.
That's why we've reverse engineered the MarTech ranking process.
Asking marketers what works and what doesn't, and filtering the data by performance archetype, shifts from MarTech mayhem to manageability and streamlines planning.
This planning is part of our overarching Johnny Grow MarTech Framework which measures enterprise marketing technology in terms of effectiveness not popularity. It anchors with foundational systems to support growth and extensibility, identifies platforms that can replace the dizzying array of point solutions, and most importantly recognizes no technology is a business outcome but instead an enabler of outcomes. Only with the right combination of process and technology directed to specific business outcomes, will MarTech deliver its potential and a sustainable ROI.