Martech bloat occurs when companies accumulate too many marketing technologies without adequately assessing their needs. This results in increased complexity, cost overruns, data silos and inefficient usage patterns. Ultimately, it becomes hard to realize expected returns on investment.
Companies often fail to realize the full potential of their martech investments due to a lack of understanding and utilization. Smaller businesses or teams, in particular, may not have the resources or personnel to assess how they can use a given tool properly.
To maximize ROI, it’s crucial for marketers to:
- Consider more than just price when buying martech.
- Ensure that you understand all features available and how best to leverage them.
- Carry out regular maintenance and support to sustain any technological advantage from purchasing an advanced tool.
The effects of martech bloat vary depending on company size and scope. To prevent this, you should carefully plan and research before selecting and implementing technologies to ensure they provide long-term benefits.
Pre-analysis that considers budget constraints, timeline expectations and organizational capabilities helps teams avoid investing in the wrong products or services and create leaner stacks in the long run.
Unifying marketing technologies
Marketing technology integration is the process of combining disparate marketing technologies into a unified system. This includes integrating software, hardware, databases, analytics tools and other systems to enable data-driven decisions and automated processes.
The goal is to create a cohesive whole for more efficient customer engagement activities such as segmentation, targeting and personalization. Integrating the disparate tools that comprise the martech stack can:
- Result in greater efficiency — from gathering leads to closing sales opportunities.
- Give marketers access to real-time insights on customer behavior to optimize their campaigns quickly and easily with less manual effort.
- Provide better visibility into how each part of the stack works together and help identify potential bottlenecks early.
Dig deeper: My stack is bigger than your stack, so what?
Reducing martech bloat through API integration
The concept of an application programming interface (API) dates back to the 1960s. Software engineers initially used it to create application-specific programming interfaces, making it more straightforward for developers to work with different hardware and software. In the 1970s, larger organizations such as IBM and Microsoft began utilizing APIs as an access point for their products and services.
With the rise of the internet in the 1990s came web APIs, which developers used to create applications that communicate with remote systems over a network. Today, many industries use APIs, including finance, healthcare, retail and transportation.
Using APIs to integrate marketing technology point solutions and platforms helps reduce martech bloat by streamlining the data flow between different systems for better coordination across teams.
APIs make moving data between different systems easier, eliminating the need to input information manually or use multiple interfaces. The benefits include:
- More efficient use of resources.
- Faster strategic activation.
- Improved scalability.
- Cost savings by reducing the footprint of the martech stack over time.
Dig deeper: Why martech integration needs more than technical skills
5 steps to successful and efficient martech stack integration
Taking the following five steps is essential to ensure successful and efficient martech stack integration.
1. Identify data sources
The first step is identifying all available data sources that can be connected using API. These could include:
- CRM databases.
- Social media channels.
- Analytics tools.
It’s essential to map out what data is needed from each source and how it will be used holistically across platforms or applications.
2. Assess your current system architecture and platforms
Before integrating any new solutions into your martech stack, assess your existing system architecture and platform capabilities.
Look at legacy systems and modern cloud-based solutions. This will help ensure the integration process runs smoothly without causing disruption or loss of functionality for users.
3. Evaluate connectors and integration tools
Once you’ve assessed your current architecture and platforms, it’s time to evaluate connectors and integration tools. Connectors offer a straightforward way to join distinct elements within the martech stack.
- Allowing access to capabilities like automatically sending emails when contact information has been changed in a database.
- Constructing lead-scoring rules based on user interaction with website content.
4. Test different solutions before going live
Once all necessary integrations have been identified, test various combinations of these technologies to ensure everything works correctly once deployed.
Testing helps marketers evaluate if newly integrated solutions can deliver desired results without negatively impacting existing end-user processes. It can also uncover potential issues like latency caused due to too many API calls being made at once, etc.
5. Monitor performance and optimize
Finally, after successfully deploying integrated solutions, it’s vital to monitor performance and usage. Gather feedback to detect issues early on so adjustments can be made immediately instead of waiting until something goes wrong later.
Managers should reach out to users through surveys and interviews to understand how they use the new integrated solutions. This will help them pinpoint any possible problems that may have occurred during deployment.
Reducing martech bloat: Internal team or consultant?
Whether you use an internal team or a marketing technology consultant to reduce martech bloat, it’s essential to understand the benefits of both.
An internal team can be beneficial because they are familiar with existing systems and processes. This aids in making informed decisions when selecting new solutions and integrating them into the stack.
Additionally, having an in-house team allows for faster decision-making when responding to changes in customer needs or technology advancements.
On the other hand, working with a marketing technology consultant can provide access to more specialized knowledge on current trends and best practices from outside sources that could benefit your organization.
A good martech consultant:
- Delivers valuable insight into the latest trends and technologies in the industry.
- Guides you through complicated decisions when selecting, integrating and managing your martech stack.
- Identifies areas where automation or optimization would be beneficial and offer guidance on achieving these goals.
- Advises on topics such as budgeting for investments in new technologies and measuring ROI from existing solutions.
The choice to use an internal team or a marketing technology consultant depends on the size of your business and budget constraints. However, both options come with their own set of advantages for reducing martech bloat.
Creating a unified martech ecosystem
Reducing martech bloat can be daunting. But with the right approach and tools, it’s possible to create a unified, optimized stack that maximizes ROI.
Careful planning and research are necessary before selecting any solutions or services, as well as regular maintenance and support for sustained effectiveness.
Companies can reduce complexity by leveraging APIs to connect disparate technologies into a unified ecosystem and unlock greater marketing efficiency.
Finally, whether using an internal team or a marketing technology consultant depends on the size of your business and budget constraints. Still, both provide their advantages for reducing martech bloat.
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Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily MarTech. Staff authors are listed here.