You are currently viewing MarTech Mess: The Unspoken Truth.  Technology is the backbone of all… |  by Sandeep Banyal |  Coinmonks |  Oct, 2022

MarTech Mess: The Unspoken Truth. Technology is the backbone of all… | by Sandeep Banyal | Coinmonks | Oct, 2022

MarTech Mess: The Unspoken Truth

Technology is the backbone of all industrial segments’ advances. The previous two decades have been dominated by technological advancements that have enabled individuals to stay always connected. Advanced machines and smart gadgets with lower carbon footprints are all the results of technical capabilities in all industries. This has driven organizations to push the frontiers of technology adoption and weave a spiderweb of technologies into their ecosystem. This has clearly increased efficiency in their operating tasks, but it has also introduced a slew of new issues to cope with.

Digital has been at the vanguard of the technological revolution, allowing for more customized and one-on-one connections between businesses and their customers. Digital usage has skyrocketed at both the organizational and industrial levels. Organizations have adopted digital to remain competitive, and CMOs are at the forefront of digital adoption. This is seen in Mckinsey & Company’s study on global digital adoption.

Image: Mckinsey & Company

Digital adoption has brought with it both possibilities and challenges for executives to deal with, which is particularly relevant in the CMO arena. In today’s BizTech model, CMOs have more operational issues than ever before, which is both alarming and concerning. The primary cause might be an abrupt transition from a technology-driven to a tool-driven ecology. Adoption of the newest and greatest tools is slower and always returns to MarTech Law: Technology evolves at an exponential rate, while organizations evolve at a far slower rate (logarithmically). As a result, MarTech Mess has emerged.

Yes, instead of leveraging the MarTech ecosystem, today’s CMOs are dealing with the MarTech Mess. Have you ever overheard CMOs discussing integrations, data channelization, server virtualization, cross-cloud enablement, server-side enablement, and technical jargon?

The emphasis has changed from creating to delivering value, resulting in significant investments in MarTech platforms.

Image: 2022 MarTech Landscape

According to the 2022 Martech Landscape, there are about 9,932 massive MarTech platforms. These, in my opinion, offer more of a challenge than an opportunity for the CMO. Since the first edition in 2011, this market has expanded by a whopping 5,233%.

But why is this a mess rather than an opportunity for a CMO? Let’s take it one step at a time.

Limited Liquidity between MarTech and operations

Integrating a desperate ecosystem

Identify what is good to go Out of the Box, Configuration, and Customization

· Capability-driven or Use Case drove to deliver Value

· Start from Scratch every time

Measure Data or KPI

Create a CMO organization based on Best of Breed or Full Stack.

Channel-driven or Tool Driven or Customer Journey

Invest or Optimize

Image: CMO: Dealing with MarTech Mess

Limited liquidity between MarTech and Operations

CMO teams have long struggled to strike the correct balance between three entities

MarTech Platforms

Operations they operate

· Agencies/vendors to deliver operations

I’ve noticed micro silos inside the business, which has led to MarTech platform-centric teams delivering operations. CMO businesses, for example, use the MRM platform for marketing planning, which is highly centered on the MarTech platform they choose and the vendor they choose to provide.

The downside and challenge: this has hindered the platform’s agility in operations and effective use. The emphasis has switched from enabling CMO firms to streamline using the MarTech platform to making the MarTech platform handle the operations.


Integrations are neither a new buzzword nor a new challenge for CMO organizations; in fact, they always look to the CIO organization to solve the integration conundrum. So, why am I calling this a new mess?

The MarTech ecosystem has evolved since 2011, prior to those platforms’ integration, but the CMO technology ecosystem has always been seen as a holy island that has never been fully connected to the wider organization’s technology ecosystem. With the introduction of data and privacy legislation during the last five years, it has become less of an island and more of a component of the larger digital ecosystem. This is when the issues began; Everything was fragmented, spread over many SaaS systems, with a lot of capability and data overlap.

Downside and Challenge: Fragmented MarTech stacks require not just integration but also alignment with bigger business security policies, forcing enterprises to restructure integrations and operating models to connect with the wider technology landscape. To compound the difficulty, the shell life of MarTech systems is relatively short, necessitating continual integration and migration in the CMO arena.

Living in the shadow of Out of Box

Even today, we believe that items may be delivered “out of the box.” Given the complicated environment in which a customer requires more real-time, realistic, and meaningful experiences, platforms, communications, and operating models must be tailored to meet the requirements of time.

Surprisingly, we are currently investigating the platform’s extensive list of out-of-the-box possibilities while prioritizing operations. This must alter, with the emphasis shifting to further clarifying the requirements, providing more closure to the humanized experience, and then moving backward for technology selection.

Downside and Challenge: We compromise further on the quality of the use case in order to get it delivered out of the box, and we cease challenging “how we can maintain delivering the newsletter, event marketing, and others.” There must be a next level, where we look beyond the standard to bring out the finest in the use case and how it may be provided efficacy and intelligently to the end consumer without restricting its dimensions with OOB.

Because of their love of the unconventional, CMO organizations end up investing in more MarTech platforms than necessary, contributing to the MarTech mess.

Overdone with capabilities

We still believe in a capability-driven world. We forget that every customer interacts with an infinite number of brands, and not only are customers becoming wiser, but they are also naively anticipating the unexpected from other businesses.

I was surprised to learn that in today’s environment, use cases are finalized and conceived by the MarTech product vendor and channeled through the lenses of MarTech platform capabilities. I firmly believe that the use case must be conceived, recognized, and channelized prior to the selection of MarTech products; Otherwise, the quest to find the finest MarTech platforms will continue and get more challenging.

For example, whether they have a use case or not, the CMO organization is running behind the CDP platform; In fact, most clients are running the same use cases with some polishing that were established for Data Management Platform systems ten years ago. Of course, CDP has come out with a few more added capabilities, to me, it’s like DMP++

To bridge the capability gap, we onboarded a new capability, er, the New MarTech platform. 

Downside and Challenge: Today’s CMO businesses require rigorous analysis and research. In fact, if given the choice, I would prioritize research above COE.

Instead of looking at MarTech platforms via capabilities lenses and attempting to sort through the integration mess, the emphasis should be on one end-to-end customer experience, from marketing planning to execution to measurement. This will assist the CMO organization in identifying the disconnect in the overall story as well as in examining the whole MarTech stack through the lens of related use cases rather than capabilities.

The dilemma between creating a value or delivering a value

A highly competitive environment for reaching out to new customers, engaging existing customers, and retaining lost customers had driven CMO companies to deliver value. Customers’ ever-changing expectations and ad hoc behavior have driven the company to focus its attention and efforts on delivering value with pre-set offerings and capabilities.

This tendency is concerning; In fact, most CMOs today are failing to generate new revenue streams for organizations, which is the primary goal of the CMO ecosystem. Existing revenue streams are being depleted today due to an overemphasis on offering value. MarTech does not contribute to the establishment of new revenue streams but is more suited to delivering value.

To take the simplest way to deliver value to the organization, the CMO organization has onboarded more than the needed MarTech platform, resulting in a MarTech Mess

Downside and Challenge: Since each platform has its own database and restrictions in handling customer data, MarTech platforms have failed to build a unified CMO technology ecosystem. This has led CMO organizations to place a premium on delivering value and meeting short-term goals. As previously said, this is mostly due to silos of skills and would need extensive study and research to achieve a balance between creating and delivering values.

Focus is KPI nor Data

The majority of MarTech platforms are built to focus on the output, its quality, and its measurement in the form of KPI. However, the customer interaction path is very rapid, and the focus should have been on data.

“Better KPIs are reflected in healthier data.”

To summarize, if you want to enhance the KPI, the first and most significant step is to measure and improve data quality in terms of correctness, completeness, up-to-dateness, consistency, privacy, and security.

The shift must focus on the data and its quality otherwise the quest for KPI will continue without realizing what we are measuring is not complete and accurate. Indeed, CMO organizations will be able to minimize or eliminate some of the MarTech platforms in their ecosystem that have overlapping capabilities and, of course, restricted data creation capabilities

Downside and Challenge: To now, MarTech platforms are data exhaust platforms with extremely limited data creation capabilities. The CMO organization must carefully write the requirement to guarantee that they can build an environment in which the MarTech platform has complete visibility of data creation and can contribute to higher data quality, which will, of course, show in better KPIs.

Best of Breed or Full Stack MarTech Platform

CMOs have recognized the existence of the MarTech mess and attempted to correct it by implementing best-of-breed or full-stack MarTech platforms. Some are optimizing the MarTech platform, some are consolidating, and some have only begun their journey.

To be honest, none of them has a set formula; it all relies on the customer environment, method of working, and, of course, the use cases they are attempting to solve. We must examine the characteristics listed below.

What did not work in the past

Why did it not work in the past

What was the major learning

What is the future vision and objective

CMO organizations must understand MarTech platform is not a magic stick, but the overall CMO ecosystem is magic ground, thus it’s important to find a common ground

Downside and Challenge: The primary difficulty with best-of-breed vs. full-stack MarTech platforms is that it has pushed the narrative of capability-lead platforms once again. CMOs prioritize capabilities above practical use cases.

Invest or Optimize

CMOs have a brief lifespan in any organization and may be found in every analyst report. This drove CMOs to choose either the investment or optimized approach to make the vision more practical and doable in the short run.

MarTech is a crucial component of the CMO’s arsenal for delivering outcomes on time. Therefore, MarTech platforms are decided in accordance with the short-term strategy and with the goal of producing results rapidly. As a result, there is a lack of constant MarTech transformation in the CMO organization.

Downside and Challenge: The MarTech mess has led CMOs to focus on optimizing the MarTech stack. They are reconsidering their MarTech investments and the very short lifespan of MarTech platforms in the CMO area. This is obvious from the 9000+ MarTech platform’s rapid growth, which is a clear indication of unhappiness.

Tom Treanor Esther Vargas Tim Soulo (CMO @ Ahrefs) Chris Moody Ryan Bonnici 🚀 CMO @ G2 Ana Andjelic Edward Nevraumont Joe Martin I’m looking for your views and inputs. Do you agree with the harsh reality of MarTech Mess?

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