MarTech Myths Busted by Scott Brinker

Scott Brinker is a leading voice in the MarTech space, the Editor of ChiefMartec and the creator of the marketing technology landscape supergraphic. There are more than 9,932 solutions in 2022 — up 24 per cent from 2020. 

We spoke to Brinker about the common doubts marketers have while getting started on their MarTech journey; 

Myth 1: Martech is expensive

MarTech has a wide range of costs and software. You have to recognise that software is only a part of the equation. Marketing teams need to make sure they have the investments, talent and people. First, develop the process around how to use these tools and then harness their value. 

If you’ve seen the MarTech map consisting of the different MarTech solutions, you will realise that ten years ago – there were a relatively small number of choices, and many of them were expensive. But software has become easier to build, create and bring to market. So now, we see an explosion of MarTech products. Many of the new solutions are highly competitive on a cost-value performance curve.

If you’re a small business or are getting started, you know you want a MarTech solution that can help engage with customers digitally. It’s okay if your budget is modest – you actually have a lot of choices out there. So, MarTech doesn’t have to be expensive. 

You need to hire a team to manage your MarTech stack

It depends. MarTech stacks, like the landscape, are quite wide. You don’t necessarily need a stack.

If you are getting started with digital marketing, you could have a person in the marketing team who uses the simpler, more affordable tools. There isn’t a lot of technical knowledge required to use it. 

Most of the work is from the marketing side; figuring out how you want to use the solution, what’s the content you’re delivering to customers, how you want to nurture them, and through which channels. 

As the business grows larger, and your marketing processes become more sophisticated, you will need more technologies and tools to help out. At this time, you will need to have a tech-savvy team to figure out how all the pieces fit. 

In some cases, as businesses get more sophisticated, teams move away from buying off-the-shelf tools. They might look at developing customised tools or creating an app that plugs into the stack. These custom-built tools are unique to the business, which means it is more sophisticated. Here, you will want technical people who are a part of the team and understand the nature of the business thoroughly. 

MarTech takes away creativity from campaigns

Oh goodness! I feel the exact opposite. All this technology, the new channels and ways in which customers are interested in engaging with brands – this has dramatically expanded the canvas upon which marketing can create. It expands the potential to create amazing experiences and develop relationships with customers that your brand uniquely defines. 

MarTech like any other tool, is only an ingredient in the recipe. The magic is with you as the marketer, as it is with the chef. You are given all these ingredients to create a delightful meal. 

There is a danger when marketers start to think that MarTech tools have to be used in only one way. It is restrictive if you have to follow the same pattern that everyone else follows. That would be a mistake.  

Think of it like a scientific experiment. Follow a scientific method where you come up with a hypothesis, create a design and test the claim. You get the data from that experiment, and make a determination. Was the hypothesis correct or not? Scientific method is analytical and rigid except for one person’s role – the one who comes up with the hypothesis.

That is where creativity and genius lie. It’s the same thing in marketing. When you develop a campaign or a program idea, you experiment and test it with your audience. The data helps inform the team about whether or not the marketing actions are making the necessary impact. Knowing this, you can either double down on that hypothesis, or decide that it didn’t work. 

MarTech tools don’t work for B2B

One of the many hats I wear is – the VP of Platform Ecosystem at HubSpot, with 135,000 customers worldwide. We serve B2B marketers predominantly. 

The landscape has changed in the last decade. There are differences in B2B marketing versus B2C marketing; purchases tend to be larger with longer time cycles, and multiple people are involved in the decision-making. 

The movement around account-based marketing recognised that in B2B, you’re not just marketing to individuals, but the entire account. There are marketing technologies, tactics and creative solutions that have been developed specifically to win in a B2B scenario. 

But we can’t ignore the common layer – whether you’re purchasing things for yourself as a consumer or purchasing things in your professional role, there are patterns to discover what you want. The journey follows a similar path where you search online, engage with a website and with subscribed content or through a vendor who has shared relevant information. If you are interested, you will want to have a trial. Like all interactions, most of these B2B campaigns are now taking place in the digital world. Marketing technology helps give marketers the tools to engage with those prospects and customers in that domain.

There are over 7,000 MarTech tools out there. How do I choose?

If we could adapt a Dickens quote to the state of MarTech in today’s times, it would be ‘It was the best of times. It was the worst of times.’ 

The upside of having an incredibly diverse field with so many marketing technology solutions available is that vendors are competing with each other to lure the marketer. They want to win your business, and offer the best solution at the best price. 

As a marketer, you may be spoiled for choice. Identify the subset of features relevant to you within a tool, and follow a thorough evaluation process. 

My recommendation is to stay away from looking for the perfect MarTech. What you need to look for is functionality – does it work for the nature of your business, for the team and for the way you operate? The outcome isn’t going to come from the tool; it’s going to come from you as the marketer, and what you’re doing with these tools. 

Economists call this “satisficing”. Satisficing is a decision-making strategy that aims for satisfactory or adequate results, rather than an optimal solution. If it satisfies your requirements and does what it needs to do at a price that is attractive to you – go for it.

I always recommend talking to peers in your geography. There are a lot of review sites out there that look not just at functionality but at specific use cases for SMBs versus a mid-market or an enterprise company. Most solutions offer a freemium version. Nothing beats getting your hands dirty and seeing how a new solution affects your workday.

Scott Brinker will be speaking at Vibe Martech Fest, South Africa edition on July 27 and 28, 2022. For more information, visit https://za.vibemartechfest.com/