In an ever-changing and complex marketing landscape, a strong digital foundation is key, according to Gartner research director Kirsten Newbold-Knipp. Furthermore, a strong digital foundation doesn’t just mean investing in marketing technology, but also making sure to get all the value you should from your existing technology.
Newbold-Knipp will take the stage at Gartner’s upcoming Digital Marketing Conference, May 10 to 12 in San Diego, where she will present the findings of a new study that dissects marketers’ investments in marketing technology. In the exclusive interview that follows, Newbold-Knipp provides a sneak peek at the results.
CMO.com: What are some of marketers’ biggest martech pain points?
Newbold-Knipp: It all comes down to defining an appropriate road map and the right levels of investment to deliver value to the business today, while preparing for a really dynamic and different marketing future. Balancing those two is really difficult, compounded by the fact that there’s lack of skills and training. The hardest roles to hire for are marketing analytics leaders and digital commerce leaders. There are skills that didn’t even necessarily need to exist 10, 15 years ago, or where there was very little expertise, so you don’t see a lot of folks who are already trained in these areas.
CMO.com: Would you say marketers are getting the most out of their technology investments?
Newbold-Knipp: Marketers aren’t getting all the value they should from their existing marketing technology. In some cases, clients come to us asking what is the best new personalization technology, yet they haven’t even tried the standard personalization that comes with their web content management system. They’re out there chasing new, shiny objects, without really knowing what they are already capable of doing.
CMO.com: Can you talk about the martech study findings you’ll be presenting at the Gartner Digital Marketing Conference?
Newbold-Knipp: We decided that we needed to put together and understand data around what marketers are actually investing in. You hear hype about all sorts of technology and horror stories about other technologies. And, just like in “Keeping Up With The Joneses,” you wonder, “Gosh, what has my peer next door invested in?” Are they actually using multitouch attribution tools, or are they just talking about it?
We looked at large enterprises and asked questions about marketing technology staples. We found that things like web analytics, web content management, and e-mail marketing, which you’d assume are pretty widely adapted and would be considered table stakes, is still not being used by 20% of large enterprises. These are things that we consider to be the bare minimum for a fully functioning marketing team today. That’s not to say that they don’t have a website. They do. They might be outsourcing those capabilities to agencies or just an IT department. Maybe they have hard-coded websites that are required to be used through other systems. But that all begs the question: How agile can these companies really be at their marketing if there are so many steps involved to get content published online or to send an e-mail?
So that finding is definitely a call to action for CMOs to think about. If they’re not currently using technology that everyone else considers table stakes, are they able to move and scale as fast as they need to be, or should they question their strategy?
We found that few technologies are being adopted at rates that outstrip all the others--things like multitouch attribution, dynamic creative optimization, and A/B and multivariate testing. What’s so interesting about this is they’re all very data-driven practices that demand an increase in analytical skills in the marketing organization. But our prior studies show that that talent is among the hardest to hire.
CMO.com: What else can attendees expect to learn at your session?
Newbold-Knipp: Marketers who attend this session will have a better understanding of what is and is not being invested in from a marketing technology standpoint.
And, as I mentioned before, marketers aren’t taking advantage of the technologies that they have. Some of the sessions that we’re doing in the marketing technology track are really to help clients avoid shiny object syndrome and focus on the critical investments that they’ll need for the next 12 to 18 months, while staying abreast of the broader market dynamics that can signal needs for a bigger change. We’re letting them look around corners while also helping them shore up the opportunities and challenges they have today.
Read related interview, “Gartner’s Polk: CX Goes Beyond Marketing”