In 2011, I worked with a large tech firm on their martech stack. This was years before marketing operations (MO) was cool or the term martech or stack was in play.
During our meeting, my contact handed me a single sheet of paper with 20 different logos representing all the technologies they used to support marketing. Her question was, “What should we keep and what should we get rid of? Also, keep in mind that this will be a battle to get alignment on any changes.”
I picked up the sheet of paper, took a look at the logos and replied, “I have no idea.” She was a bit taken aback; after all, I was supposed to be consulting with her on this.
However, like many tech stacks, this one was put together over time and based on many different goals with many different owners. Without a unifying thread with which to make decisions on what stays and what goes, how things are used and how they are integrated, there wasn’t a chance that this tech stack would ever be anything but a set of disparate, costly and ineffective systems representing different fiefdoms.
Fast forward to today, and we know that marketing ops as a capability has quickly matured. Even so, MO groups are still all over the board in creating the “unifying threads” to envision and optimize their stack. Today there are three primary unifying threads in action:
- Customer journey.
If the MO group uses “technology” as their unifying thread, we find a MO group that acts more like a traditional IT group. Characteristics include chasing the next bright and shiny toy, poor communication protocols, a fiefdom mentality and an “I know best” set of behaviors.
I recently had a front-row seat to a blow-up in a company between a tech-centric MO group and the marketing group. One of the first issues that exacerbated the blow-up was that the MO group was actually part of the company’s IT organization.
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