10 Myths Martech Vendors Tell and the Real Story

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Marketing technology (martech) users in B2B often have to ask themselves if they fully understand the solutions the martech vendors sell them. Seemingly, these tech goodies perform every conceivable operation under the sun. Turns out many martech tools remain more myth than fact. At the recent MarTech 2016 conference, this topic served as the centerpiece for presenter Theresa Regli, principal analyst and managing partner, Real Story Group, a martech analyst firm. She rounded up 10 of the more hyped-up martech tales during her presentation in San Francisco.

Myth No. 1: the digital marketing suite

Many B2B vendors claim that users can buy a digital marketing suite, according to Regli. She says the truth is B2B marketers have to connect them by themselves. For example, the Adobe Marketing Cloud suite remains many separate products bought but not integrated.

“The number of knowledgeable people who can effectively stitch together a cohesive marketing stack—understanding both the business and technology issues—is a limiting factor to growth,” says Jason Seeba, chief marketing technologist, BloomReach, a marketing technology and personalization platform company.

Myth No. 2: martech is highly evolved and you are way behind the curve

If B2B marketers listen sincerely to the martech vendors, they come away with the impression that the field has reached full maturity. However, 52 to 54 percent of all enterprises are in the “just starting” phase of martech, according to Real Story Group. In the case of mobile marketing, 26 percent of survey respondents report that it’s not on their radar at all.

Myth No. 3: these fancy tools are very mature and meet all your needs

While B2B marketers want to believe in the robustness of their martech stack, just 47 percent of Real Story Group companies say they find a fit between the software tools and their marketing requirements. Even more discouraging, only 37 percent of enterprises say they leverage the full potential of their marketing technology.

Myth No. 4: setup is easy

While vendors intimate that marketing solutions—particularly those that are cloud-based—can be up and running in no time at all, only 39 percent of martech projects finish on schedule, according to Real Story Group. As a parallel, many B2B marketing cloud solutions promise savings for corporate budgets. However, this proposition proves only somewhat better because Real Story Group research shows that just 55 percent of martech projects finish on the money.

Myth No. 5: martech requires no training

Martech vendors say that their solutions are out-of-the-box intuitive. Users just boot them up and away they go! But according to Real Story Group research only half of all enterprises answer the question “We have the right level of internal expertise” in the affirmative.

“Deploying and using martech requires specialized skills,” says Sheryl Schultz, founder, president and co-CMO, CabinetM, a marketing operations platform. “And more and more IT and marketing folks are cooperating to meet company goals around marketing technology adoption.”

Myth No. 6: marketing tools can scale

The beauty of cloud-based marketing solutions—at least theoretically—is that they are available everywhere for any number of users, if you buy enough seat licenses. A marketing solution can scale just fine for one or two departments, according to Regli. Real problems occur, though, if hundreds of departments or country units become involved. The complications rise with the number of users, concurrent campaigns, languages and formats.

“With all the redundancy and point solutions, you end up logging into multiple tools to see the outcomes of different, yet overlapping, activities,” says Jim Regan, president, MRP, provider of marketing intelligence, software and services. “This ends with a micro-fragmentation of the marketing process. Technology companies have dissected every inch of marketing and created solutions for each channel, stage and conversion point. While the possibilities for execution rise considerably for the marketer, so does complexity and need for additional resources.”

Myth No. 7: marketers love these tools!

B2B practitioners should be the first ones to recognize marketing spin when they see it. Especially when over-the-top customer-facing martech reps do the spinning, claiming that B2B marketers love their tools. To a certain degree, this is true. Real Story Group results show that marketing personnel remain only marginally positive in satisfaction with their martech choices. On average, users rate their solutions a 5.8 on a scale of 1 to 10, according to Real Story Group.

Myth No. 8: martech solutions should be the B2B data warehouse

Many martech newbies would just leave all their data in their martech solutions, and their vendors encourage such thinking, according to Real Story Group. That’s not such a good idea, Regli says.

The real story is that B2B users should decouple their customer engagement systems from the data. “Martech data should be a shared service,” Regli says.

Myth No. 9: martech doubles as a Digital Asset Management system

A Swiss Army Knife has many tools but few would say any of them exist as the best option for a particular job. Likewise martech vendors may say that their solutions can store digital assets. But a Digital Asset Management (DAM) system can offer specialized functions that a martech solution cannot, including rendering and transforming assets, embedding metadata in files and editing media on-the-fly, according to Real Story Group.

Myth No. 10: martech solutions understand human sentiment

Understanding the sentiment of customers, press, analysts and other humans remains the Holy Grail of martech. How nice would it be to have your computer tell you how the marketplace perceived your company’s brand? “Machines cannot understand human emotion yet,” Regli says.

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Derek Handova

Derek Handova

Derek Handova is a veteran journalist writing on various B2B vertical beats. He started out as associate editor of Micro Publishing News, a pioneer in coverage of the desktop publishing space and more recently as a freelance writer for Digital Journal, Economy Lead (finance and IR beats) and Intelligent Utility (electrical transmission and distribution beats).