The state of integration is poor right now,” declares a new study [download page] released by Signal based on a survey of 281 marketers primarily based in the US. Indeed, while respondents recognize a range of benefits to a fully integrated marketing stack, around half of respondents said their marketing data and technology are either managed separately (10%) or that only some tools are integrated (41%). Just 4% reported having a completely integrated stack.
Part of the problem can be traced to the sheer number of technologies being used. In a recent Forbes Insights and Sitecore survey of senior executives at large organizations, respondents averaged 36 different data-gathering systems and vendors for marketing efforts, with some using hundreds.
That means that for some marketers, integration is a prerequisite to platform evaluation: 1 in 10 said integration is one of their top considerations when evaluating platforms, and another 4 in 10 say they actively look for platforms that can connect to their stack. In other words, many marketers would consider not purchasing a new tool because it won’t integrate with their current stack.
In an interesting – and related – question, the Signal survey asked respondents if their marketing strategy defines their technology plan or if their current tech structure defines what they can do with their strategy, finding close to one-third feeling stuck (6%) or slightly held back (25%) by their technology. A plurality 29%, though, believe they have struck a good balance between strategy and structure, with the remaining putting structure second to strategy.
So how can a fully integrated stack aid marketing efforts? Respondents were most enthusiastic about the positive impacts of saving time and effort (96%), driving more ROI (95%), helping understand and measure what elements are working best (95%), and more relevant and impactful messaging (89%).
The report offers the following recommendations:
- “Make integration a chief priority in your marketing technology acquisition strategy”;
- “Let the customer experience guide your requirements and priorities”; and
- “Technology is just one hurdle – organizational and execution challenges still need to be addressed”.
About the Data: The primary research was sourced from an online survey to marketing professionals in the US, Canada, Europe, Latin America, Asia, and Australia. The survey was conducted by Signal in September 2014 and completed by 281 marketers. All responses were anonymous.
More than 8 in 10 respondents are in the US; the retail (28%) and advertising (17%) industries were most heavily represented.