Is Marketing Tech as Innovative as Vendors Claim?

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One marketing automation insider asserts that marketing technology needs to get back to the future.

“There's a lack of innovation in marketing technology,” says Robert Tas, SVP and CMO of Pegasystems. In fact, Tas, a marketing veteran whose background includes running digital marketing at JP Morgan Chase, says marketing automation workflow hasn't changed much since the technology first came to market.

“John Wanamaker still wouldn't know how his ad spending is performing,” he adds. “Marketers today are no closer to knowing than he was. With all the great data available, we're still 10 to 15 years behind where I thought we'd be by now.”

Indeed, marketers struggling to keep pace with escalating consumer expectations need a solution now—one that will help them today, as well as over the medium term.  “The next five years will be about delivering on the promise of customer experience and connecting systems,” says Tas, adding that customer experience requires a C-level commitment to really make it work. “And with digital driving more interactions, marketers are trying to figure out where they need to invest.”

Of course, it's hard to plan for the next five years when marketers are still planning for next quarter—and they expect their plans to continually change. As Tas puts it, “There's no rest in marketing.”

But marketers need to start somewhere. One area that Tas recommends paying special attention to is customer interactions. Focusing on customers' experiences across channels, as opposed to interactions with a single campaign, will help companies' branding come to life, he says.

“Many companies are too campaign-centric. Branding is and will stay important, but how brands come to life will change,” Tas asserts. “[Marketers] have to respect customers across processes. A website should know who a customer is. That site should be connected to the service organization, online community, etc. You can't not be connected.”

So how can marketers achieve this connectivity? One way, he says, is by improving cross-channel processes and viewability into the outcome of their marketing spend. Unfortunately, however, for most marketers there's “a lack of viewability into the details of their marketing spend,” Tas says, adding that few marketers have a well-integrated marketing supply chain—and fewer still can or do report on it.

“Process is a competitive necessity,” he stresses, adding that tools need to adapt to a marketing organization's workflow, not the other way around.

So, it's up to the CMO to be the new systems integrator, Tas says.  “You couldn't build a car with siloed data and disconnected processes,” he says. “Marketers need to integrate.”

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