Buying a Martech tool is a race, Integration could be a crawl
Estimated to be a $121 billion global market and growing, the Martech Industry is the new reality for CMOs as per a report compiled by BDO, WARC and University of Bristol across North America, the UK, Europe, and APAC. This explosion in the industry is seen due to an increasing trend in share of the marketing budget dedicated to Martech. For instance, on an average North American companies spend 30% of their marketing budget on technology. Even though the cost of technology takes up significant part of the expense, integration is a subject that is demanding attention due to its potential to impact overheads. As per a report , an average company spends a staggering 21% of their marketing budget and 2.5% of the organisational revenue on Integration services. Hence, it is important to understand it in detail.
What is MarTech
MarTech, an amalgamation of Marketing and Technology, as the name suggests is using software and digital tools to perform and achieve your marketing objectives. This encompasses the digital tools that marketers leverage to plan, execute and monitor the progress of these marketing campaigns. They are also a value add to the marketing process as they help automate and optimize the marketing efforts, collect and analyse the customer data to give them an enhanced experience.
Given the expanding range of players available in the Martech Space and the advantages that can be derived out of it, its no surprise that one third of Marketing budget for most CMOs is spent on Marketing Technology. The growth in demand can also be seen in the explosion of MarTech solutions, nearly 8000, available in the industry .
Marketing Landscape: The Stack
As per martechadvisor.com, Martech Stack can be described as: 
“a selection of tools chosen to make marketing operations and processes more effective and efficient. Tools can incorporate SaaS platforms, social media tools, content management systems, analytics tools and many other types, dependent on the business in question.”
A MarTech stack is a wide array of customer centric tools. The main elements of the stack are:
· Advertising and Promotion
· Content and Experience Management Systems
· Commerce and Sales
· Social Media Management
· Data Analytics and Visualization
· Market Automation Platform and Management
Integration and few Caveats
With penetration of digital into core business verticals and availability of over 8000 solutions, it is no surprise that more and more marketers are going for the best and expensive tools. On an average marketing teams have a stack of 8 tools that take care of marketing activities end to end. However, all these tools may or may not be compatible with each other and therefore quite understandably, one of the most important factors for choosing a Martech solution is the: Ease of its integration with the Internal Systems.
Some of the biggest challenges in integration of the Business objectives and the marketing tools are:
1. Lack of a translation of Business objectives to each individual team’s objectives and how they interact
2. Different departments of the same organization using different tools for the same activity
3. Underestimating the number of possible customer scenarios and a lack of understanding of various customer journeys
4. Lack of cross-functional collaboration and a distributed view of KPIs
5. Budget focused on stack over servicing the stack
6. Scarcity of skilled resources
7. No clear sponsorship and accountability of business outcomes
The above pitfalls result in a disjointed customer experience and impact the business negatively. This points to the fact that it is not enough to buy the best in class tools, but equally important to ensure that they serve the marketing and business objectives. Therefore, integration, though a daunting task, requires a well-structured approach.
Seamless Integration: Things to keep in mind
Some things marketers need to keep in mind, in their digital transformation journeys are:
· Aligning business KPIs and marketing goals: Define what you are trying to achieve and translate your goals into marketing terms. This clarifies the expectations from the tools and results an efficient selection. Creating the marketing vision based in business strategy can help to serve both the customers and the business better.
· Combating Content Complexity: Because of the scale of operations, organizations tend to have multiple disjointed systems that result in fragmented content and data. With time the volume of data and complexity increases. Therefore, businesses need to synchronize the disparate systems to eliminate errors and inconsistencies, ensuring a uniform customer experience.
· Understand the marketing ecosystem: The marketing activities involve a number of systems that perform different tasks. It is essential to understand the nature and behavior of each system, how they synthesize into the bigger picture and their inter-dependencies. This facilitates a seamless integration of the stack.
· Technical Integrations: As discussed earlier, the disparate systems need to work in sync with each other and they need to be updated with APIs or Application Programming Interfaces to create a communication network. Use of APIs shrinks the testing timelines and assures quality,
· Leverage Business Partners: Engaging with the right business partner that brings the right industry knowledge and experience of dealing with challenges and pitfalls can reduce the overheads and lead to a smooth integration process.
Future of Martech for Financial Services
Due to the recent crisis, financial institutions have had to reimagine the way they interact with their customers and the focus has shifted to enhancing the customer’s digital experience. The demand for an omni-channel digital banking experience, creating a tailored experience for the customer is increasing. Martech tools can deliver predictive insights, that can further improve the customer interaction building brand loyalty and image in the market. Hence more and more banks and insurance companies are looking out for the latest innovations and the right time to invest in those technologies to gain an edge in the market.