The world of martech stacks from a B2C brand, B2B company & agency perspective
This year's MarTech Conference Boston brought together Red Wing Shoe Co.'s director of marketing technology, iCrossing's CTO and Entuity's VP of worldwide marketing.
The ever-growing landscape of marketing technology, and the buildup of new channels, is resulting in an astronomical consumption of marketing technology, says CabinetM founder and CEO Anita Brearton.
The marketing technology veteran made the comment from the stage at this year’s MarTech Conference in Boston. Brearton was the moderator for the “Insights from Inside the Marketing Stacks of Red Wing Shoe Co., iCrossing and Entuity” panel.
“When constructing this panel, I wanted to look at martech stacks from three different perspectives,” says Brearton.
To offer a varied look at the how martech stacks are being built, and the challenges within, Brearton invited Jeff Harvey, the director of marketing technology for the consumer brand Red Wing Shoe Co., Laurie Klausner, vice president of worldwide marketing for Entuity, a data analytics platform for enterprise networks, and Shiva Vannavada, CTO of iCrossing, an international digital marketing agency with more than 900 employees.
While the three executives shared insights they’ve gleaned from building marketing technology infrastructures, Brearton was able to offer a broad look at how companies are building out their martech stacks.
As the CEO at CabinetM, a platform used to build, manage and gain visibility into marketing stacks, Brearton says a number of her clients have stacks with anywhere from 100 to 200 applications and average five or six layers of technology (although, she has seen as many as 20 to 30 layers).
“No two stacks look the same,” says Brearton.
She recalls when she and her partner, Sheryl Schultz, started CabinetM five years ago, investors said everyone will be using the same technology, but instead there are now more than 7,000 martech solutions.
Brearton says it has been interesting to watch the evolution of how martech stacks are created within their platform. Early on, clients were simply building out stacks, but now more and more are being built in ways that reflect the user journey.
She says, for the most part, martech gets moved around over time, but the big players remain the same.
“Everyone has Google Analytics, everyone is present on social channels, everyone has dark tech [code developed in-house, often to integrate marketing technologies],” says Brearton.
Echoing Brearton’s insights, Entuity’s Laurie Klausner says Salesforce is important to her organization, and the site runs on WordPress, although she says they don’t have a lot of dark tech.
“We’re using all the most common tech,” says Klausner. The VP of marketing at Entuity says a lot of what they are implementing is focused on demand generation.
“When I first joined, we were really a channel-driven company,” says Klausner. Now, the company is leveraging more demand-gen apps to bring in a greater number of leads.
As the director of marketing technology for a consumer brand, Jeff Harvey says his company’s anchor martech platforms also include Salesforce, along with Eloqua and Silverpop.
Harvey says one of the first things he did in his role was conduct an audit of the company’s martech stack.
“An inventory of tools is a great way to start,” says Harvey.
He spent a lot of time reviewing what was in place, what it did, how it was being utilized, and how it impacted overall goals. During the audit, Harvey discovered gaps. Before filling in holes, Harvey wanted to be sure the company had the right talent to manage the tools.
“It doesn’t make sense to go buy tools without having someone to run it,” says Harvey. He believes people and process are paramount to make sure you’re using technology in the best way possible.
As iCrossing’s CTO, Shiva Vannavada’s team provides martech stack services to the agency’s clients. Vannavada says one of the most common disconnects he sees is lack of integration between technologies.
“What I see in most client stacks, everyone is siloed,” says Vannavada.
When talking to a client, he says he often can’t speak to their entire technology because someone else is always managing other parts of the stack. Vannavada says it’s not necessary always to choose the No. 1, best-in-class martech solution, but instead, find technology that is going to work best with what you already have in place.
The CTO also recommends a customer-centric approach. According to Vannavada, he doesn’t look at a client’s technology stack during the first meetings. He wants to know what they are trying to achieve in the long run.
“You need to think customer-first,” says Vannavada. Determine the customer needs first, and then map the technology to align with the customer experience.
When asked about what’s on the horizon for the martech landscape, Vannavada is excited about the amazing experiences companies will be able to offer customers.
“Two-day shipping will become two-hour shipping everywhere,” says Vannavada.
Red Wing’s Harvey says his company is focused on personalization right now, but is also looking at what learning needs to be done around blockchain technology. Klausner says Entuity is also working to personalize more of its customer experience but doesn’t know if they have the right tools to make it happen.
“We think a lot about what tools are going to be relevant,” says Klausner.
Looking toward the future, Klausner says they already have an employee dedicated to General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which takes effect May 2018. A month into the role, the employee has been tasked with making sure everyone within Entuity has the right tools to comply with the coming regulations.
“We see it as applicable to everything we touch,” says Klausner.
Harvey is also looking at technology for the company’s website in terms of coming regulations. “GDPR is scary,” says Harvey, noting it’s going to be a huge issue for all marketers.