Sizwe Dlamini
Sizwe Dlamini

How MarTech will change brand performance for good

by Sizwe Dlamini. It is important to understand what forces have combined to create this unstoppable MarTech reality.

by Sizwe Dlamini. Nowadays, communication channels are coming out by the droves. While that seems great for brands whose objective is to engage and generate leads online, it certainly is not easy. It can be a time-consuming and resource-eating process to ensure you are hitting all the right bases at precisely the right time during the buyer’s journey. Unless, of course, you decide to hit cruise control and automate your marketing.

Digital transformation is the idea that modern technologies can drastically change the way we approach traditional issues. It affects every level of business and often dictates how you choose to progress through the trials you face. Marketing, more so than many other disciplines, has been turned on its head due to the impact of digital. Gone are the days of booking a campaign and praying for the best. Instead marketing technology, or MarTech as it is being referred to, is dominating, giving those in charge of campaigns a much firmer grip on outcomes and key performance areas.

While this is a substantial step in the right direction, it presents some unique challenges for some businesses. Often, they are slow to change, and many of the transformations that come quickly through our digital world, rarely comes easily or cheaply. Marketing leaders should be wary of the marketing automation alarm bell and focus on building the foundations to enable real digital performance.

The real opportunity that MarTech offers

Most marketing decision makers are under serious pressure to deliver business growth. By throwing tech at a problem without first getting the basics right, they are missing out on the real opportunity that MarTech offers. Brands should be looking at what tools they have and see how they can use these to achieve the basics. Then, once this is done, they can work with a digital partner and add new product licenses and technology which puts them in control of their data.

Though marketing automation is nothing new, programs that can manage – in real time – paid search strategies, are new. This new breed of predictive analytics solutions can adjust bid prices on the run, based on who else is participating in the auction or what the last five minutes click-through rate has been or, indeed, what the conversion has been of those click-throughs.

While these shifts in shopping behaviour may seem like a sudden transformation, the adoption of conveniences like grocery delivery and curb side pickup are not unexpected, nor temporary. With the cancellation of live sports and rapid rise of ad-free environments, marketers are reallocating ad budgets away from traditional channels and instead investing their dwindling spend on more measurable digital channels. Rather, this transitionary period will be marked by the shift from unmeasurable to measurable channels, resulting in a rapid acceleration of performance-based marketing programs and partnerships.

Beware of letting the tail wag the dog: technology is integral to modern marketing, but tools are no replacement for strategy or good brand stories. The challenge is not to leave it there. Behind the data there are great stories as to why it is important. So, before you move forward with your automated marketing, always start with why. Data without a story is like a palette without a painting. Tell a data-illustrated story. Data and stories may seem at odds, but here are two ways they complement each other:

1. Drive a culture of data-driven decision-making by helping the team visualise and interpret: CMOs always struggle with this – no matter how many millions you invest in data analytics technology, or in managing customer databases for unified views – unless the data can be conveyed or shared with team members in a visual or otherwise ‘storified’ manner, it is difficult for (most) people to imagine action outcomes from a set of data points. It gives them a context from which to work, otherwise it is merely numbers.

2. Leveraging multiple customer data points to create personalised engagement and experiences: Data enables marketers to turn brand messages into compelling stories that people can relate to. Undoubtedly, data-driven marketers are winning today – but it is the ability to take the hard data and create stories out of it – internally and externally – that will resonate with and set good marketers apart from the great ones. Managers who win tomorrow are the ones who can connect the data points through the art of storytelling.

Why you need a MarTech specialist who knows their story

MarTech or marketing technology makes the lives of marketers easy by streamlining and scaling marketing activities. MarTech tools are not something to consider in isolation, it’s a blend and mixture of all of the tools that deliver overall marketing success and each individual piece of marketing Return on Investment (ROI). Good balance is key to a successful MarTech stack.

The customer and their adoption of digital – and particularly mobile – is one of the driving forces of this change. The relevance of technology in most organisations is obvious, but until recently, strategy ideas for consumer brands based on the capabilities of MarTech, was often not considered relevant. MarTech is applicable to most industries and it is important to understand what forces have combined to create this unstoppable marketing reality.



Sizwe Dlamini is head of commercial at Idea Hive, brand storytellers. At Idea Hive we create and execute pioneering Brand Storytelling Solutions to illuminate your brand’s power. We apply a strategic framework which extracts and aligns all the key components of your brand’s story.



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