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Sometimes, a picture really is worth a thousand words. And in the case of the martech supergraphic, that number is actually well over 5000. 

As marketers we have the ability to leverage this technology and do more than ever with respect to serving our customers, understanding our customers, and providing that right message, at the right time, using the right medium. But we have also never had such an enormous challenge as harnessing and activating data. And to top it off, understanding the myriad tools and technology is increasingly part of the marketing remit.

During Analytics Rising, David Booth, Chief Commercial Officer, Cardinal Path, sat down with leaders from industry giants including Adobe, Google, Salesforce, and Lytics to discuss the marketing technology landscape and what marketers should know about this incredibly dynamic space – straight talk from the top martech vendors.

Here’s a look at the discussion around one of the key questions posed to the panel: What are the biggest challenges your customers have with choosing and leveraging marketing technology?

Data is Dispersed and Siloed

Adobe – George Sadler, Sr. Director of Enterprise Marketing & Analytics – The challenges really haven’t changed! A lot of companies are still faced with dispersed data systems and most of their data in silos, especially when it comes to customer analytics and some of the advanced analytics marketers want to do today, like applying machine learning and artificial intelligence to drive better business decisions, marketing actions, and better sales. The first challenge is getting all of that data into one place to drive data insights. At Adobe we’re focused on marketers working in the B2B space around account-based marketing, or account based experiences.

Lytics – James Dermott, CEO & Co-Founder – We’re seeing companies take two different approaches to this challenge. One approach is an all-in suite approach. They’re thinking ‘ maybe we go all-in and put all our eggs in one basket’ and try to do the integration around one suite of tools. The second approach is more of a data-first approach, focusing on building out a meaningful data set about our customers and then using that data set across a best-of-breed suite. We’re also seeing this unique change in the marketplace where the Clouds have  started to build out tooling. So now companies are also trying to figure out how to integrate all of the data they have in the cloud and leverage both data sets and the knowledge and capabilities of machine learning in our marketing applications.

Deployment and Activation of the Data

“Customers are coming to us and asking how do you deploy the technology, how do you use it within your organization, and what are the people and process changes that need to occur?”

Salesforce – Jon Suarez-Davis, SVP & Chief Strategy Officer – What we’re hearing from customers is not really about the technology, but that most companies are struggling with crafting the appropriate strategy, designing the organization, and onboarding the right capabilities to take advantage of that strategy and technology. We’ve partnered with the Mobile Marketing Association (MMA) sponsoring a program called the Organizational Structure Think Tank. With this think tank we’ve interviewed over 100 CMOs and marketing executives to try and understand what organizational design structure and capabilities are needed internally and externally.

Lytics – James Dermott, CEO & Co-Founder – When we talk to customers and companies today, the main concern and the main challenge they’re having is trying to figure out how to use customer data more effectively and in more campaigns. Essentially they’ve been listening to all the calls to be more relevant and more personalized, and now the challenge is figuring out how do we build out this customer data layer, how do we get more knowledge about our customers, and then how do we use it in more campaigns.

Adobe – George Sadler, Sr. Director of Enterprise Marketing & Analytics – Customers are coming to us and asking how do you deploy the technology, how do you use it within your organization, and what are the people and process changes that need to occur? Some of the leading edge companies are moving beyond the technology and thinking about deployment technology in their space and leveraging best practices and also making it their own.

It’s all about the Integration

“It’s important to understand that no one stack is complete at this point.”

Google – Vikas Jain, Head of Strategic Alliances – The challenge is ensuring that marketers’ core ad tech and martech components work together and support 3rd party integrations. This means having a core integration technology pack which is what we’re doing with the Google Marketing Platform, but I think it’s important to understand that no one stack is complete at this point and it’s very important for technologist like us to understand our marketers better! For example we announced our partnership with Salesforce because that’s not core to what we do at Google. With the Salesforce and Google marketing platform integration we’re hoping to provide marketers better solutions.

Salesforce – Jon Suarez-Davis, SVP & Chief Strategy Officer – Integration is a problem, we continue to hear customer ask for integrated solutions. If you’re going to deliver an exceptional experience you need to have the technology stack integrated not only within marketing, which is critical, but across marketing, commerce, and service.

One thing all of these industry leaders agree on is that so far no one has it all right perfectly! What we need to recognize is that we have both a challenge, because of the complexity of the landscape that’s out there, and and opportunity.

Listen to the full session from Analytics Rising: Building a Martech Super Stack

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