As companies continue to increase their investment in martech, especially in North America, making use of all these technologies as well as having them work together efficiently is a hurdle many firms are still working to get over. Two-fifths (39%) of the 265 marketing professionals surveyed for a report [download page] from Ascend2 say they currently working on implementing a martech stack strategy, while 1 in 5 (19%) are still developing such a strategy.
When creating a martech stack optimization strategy, improving marketing efficiency is a key priority for more than half (55%) of those surveyed. Marketers are also hoping that optimizing their martech stack will help with improving customer experience (51%), which is an area for which more than one-third (35%) of retail marketers feel their marketing technology is currently doing “very well”.
Meanwhile, although many marketers set increasing marketing ROI (45%) as a martech optimization priority, fewer cite improving marketing personalization (29%), improving attribution of revenue (27%) and improving data management & security (26%).
Notably, improving marketing efficiency is not only the biggest priority for marketers when it comes to martech stack optimization; it’s also their most challenging barrier.
Important Martech Stack Features
Beyond the priorities and challenges of optimizing their martech stack, what features are marketers keen for their suite of tools to have? One of the most important features for implementing a martech stack is data insights and analysis (51%). This is not a surprising response considering that data and analytics technologies are where marketers would spend more if they had extra budget available. At the same time, finding people with skills to properly analyze the data provided has been an issue for companies for some time.
Marketers also place importance on features such as real-time processing (40%), data centralization (34%), scalability/flexibility (31%), multi-channel experience (30%) and, to a much lesser extent, artificial intelligence (14%).
Systems integration was cited as one of the most important features for implementing a martech stack by 46% of respondents. That said, integration of disparate systems was low on their list of priorities, with only one-fifth (19%) citing it as a key priority to be achieved by a martech stack optimization strategy. It is also considered to be a challenging barrier for more than one-third (36%) of those surveyed.
Indeed, many marketers feel that to optimize their marketing, the technologies in the stack need to improve ease of use (52%) and integration with other technologies (38%).
Only 14% of marketers say they are not planning to invest in their martech stack this year. Conversely, 7 in 10 say they will continue to invest moderately (49%) or significantly (22%). This comes after earlier data from Ascend2 found that 2 in 5 marketers are investing in more martech on a quarterly basis.
Separately, research from Merkle has found that larger companies (those making at least $200 million in pre-tax annual revenues) are outsourcing about 43% of their marketing technology operations. In this latest study close to two-thirds (62% share) of marketers said that a combination of outsourced and in-house resources is the most effective for implementing martech optimization tactics, with few (24%) preferring to rely on in-house resources alone.
The full report can be downloaded here.
About the Data: Results are based on a survey of 265 marketing professionals from B2B, B2C and B2B/B2C equally companies. The survey was fielded in January 2020.