Embracing Minimalism in Your Martech Stack

With the disorienting speed of technological innovation and increasing pressure to deliver revenue, it’s no surprise that marketers are stressed out.

The British job site CV-Library surveyed U.K. professionals about their level of job satisfaction in 2017, finding that about 40 percent of those surveyed were unhappy with their line of work. Marketing was one of the top industries unhappy respondents were part of, making up about 57 percent of those dissatisfied and stressed. The uptick in stress could be tied to the ever-changing state of the ad tech industry, where uncertainty is inherent and there is a flooded market of tech solutions. Per a 2018 Walker-Sands survey of the ad tech industry, a majority of marketers believe that the space has rapidly evolved within the last year, but just 28 perfect feel that their company’s use of martech has kept pace with such innovations.

This begs the question: In a flooded market, how do you know what your focus should be? Sean Brady, president of Emarsys Americas, an independent AI marketing platform, seems to think things are trending toward “less is more.” A lot of this stress on marketers is self-inflicted, he said. 



“I’ve been in this space for a decade, and there was a period of time — I really honestly think marketers wore like a badge of honor that they had 10 different applications that they use,” Brady said. “[But] that created a ton of inefficiencies across their business and actually siloed [it] to some degree.”

In his talks with marketers, Brady said, he finds that they will often begin discussions enthusiastic about buying up the hottest tech, without realizing that they’ve already lost sight of their strategy. “I would tell a VP of marketing … evaluate the tech stack based on the strategy and objectives — not the other way around,” Brady said.

So, what does that look like? When marketers take advantage of so-called “shadow IT,” Brady said, which effectively excludes departments in their own company in the interest of buying up tech solutions, things can get hairy. For this reason, he explained, he observed a trend toward reducing the total number of solutions in the interest of supplying a cleaner, more seamless omnichannel experience — particularly in eCommerce and retail. 

“They have — with or without IT — bought a bunch of different technologies to try to do strategies,” Brady said. “What’s happened is they’ve created their own disparate experience for their consumers.” 

At the end of the day, according to Brady, less is more — and customer engagement is fundamentally business-to-human (B2H). He said it’s a recipe for disaster when brands start so many tech solutions that don’t communicate with one another. For example, he said, one particular brand that partnered with Emarsys had been using different SMS and email providers, which occasionally sent conflicting offers to the same customer via different channels. “We’re in conversations with companies that are trying to take it from 10 [solutions] to five,” Brady said.

Minimalism shouldn’t be (and often isn’t) a foreign concept for brands. But looking inwardly, it might just be the most productive philosophy there is in the long run.

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