Build Your Marketing Technology Stack Around People and Results
Marketing leaders are increasingly challenged to sort through a growing and seemingly endless stack of new marketing technology. Scott Brinker’s infographic of the marketing technology landscape identifies nearly 1,000 different vendors from which to select, and the list is growing. Gartner research director, Martin Kihn, observes that “the speed of change in digital marketing alters math… this is a market that literally moves at the speed of light; an industry may never have changed so much, so fast.”
To identify the right technology suite, CMO’s must think beyond tools, tech, “hot new” buzzwords, and “next big” thing-ness. Leadership must hone in on what moves the needle for business and select the technology that powers the needle. For the modern CMO, clarity is a competitive advantage. What’s clear about the world of marketing today is that people drive actions and relationships drive results.
Historically, the units of marketing have been message and experience. The precedent is: marketing delivers mass messaging; messaging activates prospect segments; and the product experience inspires conversion. Consequently, brand marketers have grown accustomed to feeling absolute control over message delivery; and they have grown comfortable with having low visibility into what happens next. The days of controlled message delivery to masses waiting on the other end of finite media channels are a thing of the past.
The information age has ushered in an era of buyers whose purchase behaviors are driven by online research, social network connections, and trusted third-party sources. Buyers are critical of messaging and skeptical of brands. In this climate, the sensible approach for marketers is to focus on the people who drive buyer behavior.
Narrowing the aperture from mass markets to marketing influencers is the influencer marketing approach. Whether the action of marketing is advertising, content, automation, advocacy, research, or a combination thereof, influencer marketing aligns all marketing initiatives around the common goal of connecting with the right people, at the right time, to power the marketing organization.
Although the transition to influencer marketing may feel challenging, the transformation is a game-changer. The challenge for marketing leadership stems from the trade-off between control and results. Rather than controlling the message up to its delivery to customers, marketers control up to the delivery to influencers. Influencers, in turn, internalize and re-craft the message for their own communities. This process reverses the dynamic to which marketers have grown accustomed. Although the process is happening regardless of brand engagement, anxiety around formalizing it is understandable. In exchange for control, however, marketers gain visibility into the impact and results of influencer outreach that is disproportionately greater than historical marketing approaches.