In my last blog, I mentioned the need for all marketers to have a marketing technology foundation to support developing (and improving upon) an end-to-end marketing program. I passionately believe in this.

What complicates things is the sheer number of marketing technologies out there that can fit into a MarTech stack. This is perfectly illustrated by Chief Marketing Technologist’s landscape chart that shows more than 7,000 marketing technologies currently exist. It probably won’t surprise anyone to see that number even bigger next year either.

The question I hear a lot is “what technology is critical versus nice to have?” It’s a great question. While that answer is somewhat dependant on a variety of factors including your organization and marketing department’s size, marketing budget size, goals/objectives/revenue targets, in-house expertise/resources, and more, I think I can distill it down to two core technologies: CRM and Marketing Automation Platforms (MAP).

I know, I know. The marketing automation agency is calling marketing automation platforms critical. How cliche – I get it. But here’s why I think this. The two technologies compliment each other well. They make for a strong tag team, like Batman and Robin or peanut butter and jam. More specifically:

CRM: System of record for all data related to prospects/leads, customers, partners and more.
MAP: System of execution to prospects/leads, customers, partners and more.

Previously, I talked about the concept of looking at marketing technology as a strategic investment. I would certainly add CRM to that strategic track too. Looking at these two technologies, it’s simple: one stores all the data about your audience and the other powers engagement tactics to that audience.

Below is our view of a solid MarTech foundation. Note how the CRM is the first layer of technology with marketing automation directly above. Depending on how you look at this diagram, from an outbound marketing/database marketing perspective, you would work your way up the diagram. An inbound marketing campaign would be the reverse, following the image down from top to bottom.

As I mentioned above, we view the marketing automation platform as the layer that executes and powers engagement with your audience. Of course, MAP enthusiasts will likely agree there are much more automation platforms can do than listed in this image – and that’s 100% right – but really we’re trying to make the point that there’s so much functionality in any standard marketing automation platform that can be used to interact/engage your audiences across any kind of journey.

Makes sense, right?

According to Econsultancy, 98% of marketers agree marketing automation is critical to their long-term business success. Translation: I think they agree with the chart above and important role marketing automation plays in marketing programs. However, the same report found only half of marketers currently use marketing automation (!!).

And finally, that same report also found just 41% of marketing automation users are using the tool to its full capability.

What does that tell me? A few things.

  1. Clearly, there’s a great opportunity ahead for marketers to adopt marketing automation into long-term marketing plans either for the first time or as a continued practice. This industry has so much more room for growth.
  2. Going back to my previous article, there’s an even greater opportunity for marketers to leverage this kind of technology in other aspects of marketing, especially since marketers, in general, are now responsible for much more of the customer journey than ever before (branding/awareness, sales, customer experience, etc.).

In my next post, I’ll break down some other marketing automation use cases and examples that these platforms are capable of. Examples that differ from “traditional” CRM + marketing automation uses such as lead generation and inbound marketing.

If this is a priority for your organization, please don’t hesitate to contact us. Otherwise, see you next week!