Your MarTech Stack is Behind: How Can Enterprises Keep Up?

“Monolith” platforms are unable to keep pace with the broader martech capabilities, and marketers are beginning to demand a new system that can lead to deprecation and/or migration of the current platform.

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  • There are over 11,000 solutions, with over 1,000 added in the past year alone. 

    One of the most common complaints from marketing leaders at enterprise companies is that their internal marketing tech stack does not keep pace with the innovative capabilities they are seeing in the market. It’s time to explore how marketing leaders can unlock martech capabilities at speed using a new operating model: The Composable MarTech Stack.

    Most enterprises inevitably fall behind the market in enabling marketers with capabilities because they lack a composable internal architecture. The fatal error is that they tightly couple their customer data layer to their end channel systems like email, push, and SMS. This is sometimes referred to as a “Monolith” or an “All in One” MarTech platform. It creates a long-term vicious cycle where every 4-6 years, the platform capability lags behind the market, marketers demand new capabilities their competitors already have to reach customers, and the decision is made to rebuild the monolith from scratch. If this system was built by internal engineering resources, it is even more expensive.

    Martech Stack

    The image showcases a two-layer structure, with a robust and extensible unified data layer forming the base. Above it, there are capability layers, each contributing to the overall marketing functionality. 

    Monolith martech platforms start with promise, and end in frustration

    You might enjoy your all-in-one platform today. In the near future, you may feel differently when seeing other capabilities on the market. These monolithic platforms attempt to be a Swiss army knife with all the tools needed in one system for data collection, organisation, and end channel communications to customers. 

    Unfortunately, it is impossible for a Swiss army knife to contain all of the tools of tomorrow. When relying on an all-in-one tool within the rapidly innovative martech space, you may end up with a device that is mediocre at many things. Within that same vein, many teams have found that Monolithic martech platforms can be difficult to extend and adapt in an enterprise. 

    This can limit your ability to innovate and expand based on your growing needs, leaving you beholden to the platform’s innovation roadmap–whether it is built by an internal engineering team or it is a SaaS platform you brought in. Why let one roadmap control your entire marketing team’s capabilities?

    When faced with difficulties in extending the Monolith platform, they build their own systems to serve those marketers, or bring in additional 3rd party software to serve their marketers’ specific needs. This creates silos in the enterprise marketing technology stack, where different tools are operating in parallel on different data stacks. This phenomenon is also known as the “Splintering of the Martech Stack”. 

    Composable MarTech Stacks, by contrast, are more likely to keep up with martech innovation, as multiple internal engineering teams and 3rd party tools can be plugged in to make sure the system keeps pace with marketers’ needs. They enable marketing leaders to harness the power of their entire engineering team and 3rd party best of breed tools to innovate.

    How do you avoid the Monolith quagmire? Common protocols for an Extensible Unified Data Layer are now taking shape. By adopting a common data layer, enterprise marketing technology stacks have a strong ability to keep pace with innovation, and avoid costly rebuilds. 

    If you have marketing dashboards in Looker, Tableau, or PowerBI today, chances are, you are already well on your way to having an extensible unified data layer. Underneath your dashboards, your teams are storing customer data in a scalable data cloud. That data cloud is the future foundation of your Composable MarTech stack, your path out of the “Monolith Quagmire”.

    In a Composable MarTech stack, engineering teams can connect both internally built marketing-specific apps as well as propose 3rd party SaaS solutions that are all enabled on the same data layer. The Composable approach opens innovation to all of your internal engineering teams to support marketing, and puts the world of 3rd party SaaS at your fingertips. As a result, it increases the speed of capability enablement for marketers. And because it keeps up with external MarTech capabilities and marketer needs on an ongoing basis, the lifetime of an enterprise marketing technology stack is extended because it avoids marketer demands to build a new system out of frustration. This longevity of the stack leads to 

    1. More innovative capabilities for marketers, faster, and
    2. Significant cost savings because it avoids costly rebuilds of entire new systems.

    Owning your Composable MarTech Future

    Marketing leaders looking to get out of the Monolith quagmire should start by developing their universal data layer. As a marketing leader you should demand that any 3rd party software, or internal engineering stack has a plan for reading data and writing data back to the universal data layer. The future of your martech is composable. You already have your Phase 1 unified data layer. It’s time to exit the Monolith quagmire.


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