Taming the MarTech Tangle

Jumble of wires from server

What opportunities and dangers lurk in your company’s marketing technology?

Is your marketing technology stack starting to look like a jumble of wires tumbling from a computer server?  Companies large and small are awakening to the challenge of taming the MarTech tangle.

It’s no longer news. marketing technology has exploded over the last five years. See Scott Brinker’s now famous Marketing Technology Landscape graphic (below) naming 6,829 marketing technology solutions. Frankly, there is too much software available to our marketing teams. And it’s very difficult to understand what you need and what you don’t need.  For most marketing organizations there is a mix of known and unknown software being used by the team to do their day-to-day work. You may have a handle on the enterprise level software being used in your organization, but what about everything else? The ease and allure of downloading new technology to help with marketing tasks allow interns and directors alike to add new apps to the marketing technology mix. But at what risk? What opportunities and dangers lurk in your company’s marketing technology? And how do you manage it all?  What’s a Marketing Operations Manager or CMO to do? It’s enough to get your heart palpitating and palms sweaty. If you are like most, you have duplicate systems and gaps in your marketing technology mix.

Marketing Technology Landscape 2018

Sure, things may be running rather smoothly but are they optimal? It’s up to you to make sure your MarTech has all of the bases covered. But where do you start?  

Planning your Marketing Technology Assessment

Just like any other business endeavor, you need a strategy and a plan that is guided by your marketing and business objectives.  And with that in place you need to understand exactly where you stand on your path to marketing technology excellence.

Where are there overlaps and what are the gaps?  What imminent dangers need to be quelled now? What opportunities do you have to improve your MarTech and how you are using it? Are you unconvinced that this is something you need to focus on?  Consider the risks to a haphazardly managed marketing technology system:

  • MarTech that leaves your computer systems vulnerable to hackers and viruses
  • Duplication of systems
  • Wasting money on payments for duplicate systems
  • Ineffective process and communication among people and systems
  • Poorly trained team members on marketing technology
  • Silos of information stored on individual hard drives
  • Gaps in information, data or analysis
  • Loss of information
  • Lower sales

If you are feeling the hairs on the back of your neck standing up, that’s good! It’s your marketing technology intuition telling you to flee or fight! (Don’t flee – you got this!)

What benefits can you expect from actively managing and improving your Marketing Technology program?

  • Increased sales
  • Secure marketing technology systems
  • Smooth information flow
  • Elimination of information silos
  • Reduced cost
  • Better organization
  • More capable marketing team members (And happier too!)
  • Congruence between business objectives, marketing technologies and marketing goals.

How do you begin Taming your Marketing Technology Tangle?

You start by determining the current state of your marketing technology. This means you need to conduct a marketing technology audit.

A marketing technology audit first lists all of the marketing technology that exists in your organization. This includes official systems that may be installed on servers or delivered through SaaS (Software as a Service) systems and it also includes any individual technology paid or free that is installed or used by individuals within the organization. You can do this as simple as developing a spreadsheet or you can get fancy and include a spiffy marketing stack graphic into your plan.  Get inspired by checking out these incredible Marketing Technology Stacks.

Next, you need to assess the technology in relation to the marketing strategy and the objectives of your organization. Are these technologies producing results and helping you to achieve your marketing goals? Are there any technologies missing? Are there any duplications? Which systems may no longer be utilized. Which are running out of date versions or systems that may not be secure? It helps to evaluate these in terms of a marketing technology framework. (We will discuss this in a future article.)

Measuring the effectiveness of your MarTech investment can be tricky. At cebit 2018 in Australia, IAG’s director of media and technology, Dr. Willem Paling discussed the true contribution of marketing to the organization.  He said, “The goal of marketing is not just sales, it’s to maximize sales generated by marketing, or incremental sales that wouldn’t have happened without marketing.” When evaluating your MarTech program it’s critical to make sure that you understand how your MarTech is contributing to the overall effectiveness of marketing.

Next, assess the utilization of the systems by the team members. Are team members well versed in the various technologies? Are there any shortfalls that can be addressed by training? Upon completing this evaluation, develop a plan to improve upon deficiencies in marketing technology skills.

Evaluate your Marketing Technology

Now you have the building blocks to assess your MarTech Stack:

  • A complete inventory of the marketing technology existing in your organization
  • How the technology fits (or doesn’t)  within your marketing and business strategy, plans and goals
  • your organization’s aptitude for using the technology

And you may be scratching your head saying, “How did we get here?”  Don’t worry! When beginning any important journey, one of the most important steps is to determine where you are. The next step will be to evaluate where you are going and to make plans for the future. Begin by managing any threats identified. See where gaps and overlaps exist. Identify training deficiencies. Begin to craft your plan to optimize your marketing technology utilization.

Hire a Pro or DIY?

If you’re like most marketing organizations your resources are stretched. How do you shoehorn in this one more (important) thing to do? What is the best strategy for completing your marketing technology audit? And how often do you need to revisit it?

You have two options for completing your Marketing Technology Audit:

  • Do it yourself.
  • Use an outside contractor.

Here’s a list of Pros and Cons for either approach:

Do it yourself:


  • No funds are required.
  • Internal resources may be able to identify MarTech Systems currently deployed more quickly.


  • Uses resources that may otherwise be used for other departmental work
  • Learning curve in completing
  • Competition for other projects may cause delays in completing
  • Internal resources may lack objectivity

Hire a marketing technology professional:


  • Objective
  • Efficient
  • Well trained
  • Timely
  • Not a resource drain on the department


  • Investment is required

When and how often should a marketing technology audit be completed?

If you have never done an audit, plan to complete one as soon as possible!  You may be exposing the company to unknown risks.

If you have completed an audit, an annual audit should be sufficient. This should be supplemented with other quarterly activities, such as completing training and upgrading/replacing systems as detailed in your marketing technology plan. This process should be part of your overall marketing program.

The marketing technology explosion has created many wonderful opportunities and presents many challenges. Proper goal setting, technology implementation, training and management will allow you to tame your marketing technology tangle.  But once done, an annual audit can keep your goals on track and your technology stack tangle-free. Begin today to tame your marketing technology tangle.

Need help?  

Call us at Mass MarTech. We can help you with the plan and path for marketing technology success.

Thanks for reading. And please share your thought and comments.



SaaS Startup CEO, Meet Saasli

SaaS Startup Checklist

  • Mini-fridge stocked with craft IPA’s
  • Cool two-syllable name that can be used as a verb
  • Modern downtown office space
  • Foosball table
  • Free lunch
  • CRM system customized for a SaaS business?

CRM for SaaS?   Yes! There is now an add-on that was designed just for you, the SaaS startup.

As CEO of a SaaS startup, you are probably asking yourself three things:

  • How fast can I scale?
  • How can I can I keep my investors investing? And happy?
  • How can I reduce churn?

Saasli the Saas add-on to Salesforce.com will help SaaS Startups with all three important SaaS issues and more.  Continue reading “SaaS Startup CEO, Meet Saasli”

Steak & Tech – Work Smart Luncheon by Workfront

Does the combination of a juicy steak and awesome technology appeal to you? Last week I was invited to attend a Work Smart luncheon by Workfront.  I love to work smart and I love lunch, so I agreed to attend. The Capital Grille venue in Boston was great. And they executed perfectly.  Here are some reflections on the seminar.

First of all the food.  OK, so I’m a foodie, I admit it. They did this up right, there was nothing shrimpy about the jumbo shrimp cocktail, liver pate, a delicious salad, a 12-ounce bone-in dry-aged New York sirloin.  (The more words needed to describe your steak, the better, right?) and then a lovely selection of desserts including an amazing coconut cream pie.  Sorry to the bosses out there, if you were expecting productivity in the early afternoon, that’s impossible because we all left in a food coma! (Oops, I’m the boss. Sorry, self!)

OK on to the technology and the other 50% of why I went. Workfront added an Agile module to their project planning system.  It has a nice dashboard, and it supports a full agile workflow including backlog, stories and a KanBan burndown report  In addition, it supports a combined waterfall and agile approach, something Jerry Hyde, Workfront account exec, calls it Water-gile.  I think that is appropriate. Continue reading “Steak & Tech – Work Smart Luncheon by Workfront”

9 Revered Brand Qualities of Mother Teresa


Who hasn’t heard of Mother Teresa and what she stands for? She was sought after by World Leaders both religious and secular. People love and admire her for her work with the poor. How did this slight Macedonian woman rise to such prominence? As marketers, we can also learn a great deal about the qualities she embodied and how she became one of the world’s greatest brands.  As we embrace her qualities we create stronger, more enduring and more meaningful brands.

The Nine Revered Brand Qualities of Mother Teresa:

1. Mother Teresa was a leader.

Great brands lead the way.  And as a leader, she was sought out by other leaders.  United States Presidents, British Royalty, Secretary-Generals of the United Nations wooed her.  Her style of leadership was that of a servant leader.  And our brands’ first mission should be to serve our patrons. We should lead and be worthy to be pursued by other great leaders. Continue reading “9 Revered Brand Qualities of Mother Teresa”

3 Huge Benefits for CMO’s who adopt Agile Marketing


Hey, I’m a CMO, I get it. We’ve got a lot to stay on top of:  blogs, events, customer journeys, Account Based Marketing, SEO, SEM, Content Marketing, Relationship Marketing, Advocate Marketing, Influencer Marketing, Mojo Marketing, branding, pricing, customer experience, user experience… we all feel the pain. And it keeps on growing.  Look at my LinkedIn skills section. It looks like a bowl of alphabet soup! (Oh, about the Mojo Marketing, don’t worry. There is no such thing as Mojo Marketing… yet!)

So here comes another thing: Agile Marketing.  Is it a fad or here to stay?   I don’t think I have room for one more thing.  But, maybe this can actually benefit me and my team.

Agile marketing works for me.   In the software business, product life cycles have shrunk from annual to semi-annual to daily. Yes, a new release every day!  How can a one year marketing plan forecast all the change that will happen in a year?  I bet your life isn’t much different.  Cycles are shorter, change is happening quicker.  Agile helps me to adjust to changes that are part of my life. Continue reading “3 Huge Benefits for CMO’s who adopt Agile Marketing”