Technology is an essential component for successful B2B marketing - but the plethora of choices is beyond confusing - it’s daunting.

The Marketing Association’s Special Interest Group for B2B marketing hosted a panel discussion “Does your martech stack fit your needs?” to tackle this giant question head on.

Ably led by Cassandra Ong (Assurity), the panel shared their insights and experiences using technology to support marketing activity. We heard from:

  • Travena Addenbrook, Performance Marketing Lead, Spark NZ
  • Sharn Piper, CEO, Attain  
  • Alex Mercer, Head of Group Marketing and Communication, Datacom
  • Simon Wedde, Co-Founder, Stitch

Find the right tools

Half the panel confessed that they were in the process of simplifying their technology at the moment. Travena Addenbrook (Spark) assesses each technology based on whether it supports Spark’s data unification goal while Sharn Piper (Attain) always matches the tool to the job which needs to be done and then tries to use that tool to its fullest extent.

Datacom’s Alex Mercer confessed that when she joined they had an incredible amount of websites! Her team are integrating platforms in support of their brand development. Getting the data talking across platforms is a sizeable job. Simon Wedde (Stitch Tech) strongly advocated seeking native integrations between different software tools and to never use custom integrations, because any one software update can cause you headaches. He also recommends using your own data when doing demos of new tools so you can assess tech platforms’ suitability to your unique use case.

Bring the team with you

Many marketers inherit ‘hangover’ software which is already in place. This is not necessarily a disaster because if you assess the adoption rates for each, you’ll quickly be able to make a case for getting rid of the ones you don’t like or have become outdated. By surveying your team and understanding the landscape of actual use Travena managed to simplify her stack and improve both the integrations and the processes which support the marketing team. She had a word of caution about fear. Some team members may not use technologies which are in place and you need to understand your team’s capability around each tool before deciding which to sunset out of the tech stack.

Get the most out of your stack

Many marketers already know that we use only a small percentage of the capability of the software tools we buy. Relax says Simon, just use that part really well - but also build your use cases to confirm that the tools are aligned with business needs.  It’s important to understand where your data is and how clean and up to date it is says Travena. She reminded the meeting that sometimes things turn out in unpredictable ways - this isn’t a disaster. Don’t blame the model is her advice. If you understand data lag and the implications, you will not have any trouble explaining to stakeholders what happened and why. If you’ve already done your internal PR with these folks you can remind them why they invested in this tool, that they should trust your marketing process and trust you. Marketers need to be comfortable around technology, so they’re empowered to make informed decisions.

What about AI?

Sharn is not worried about AI tools replacing marketers, but he is worried about a marketer who knows the AI tools better than you replacing your job. The AI itself is not what you should be concerned about. His team is already running tests using AI to save time or money in the business. Get it done, know what works and what fails and build your knowledge about how to write AI prompts. 

Written by Rebecca Caroe, Member of MA’s B2B Special Interest Group