What Good Tech and Pancake Stacks Have in Common
- Over the last 10 to 15 years, marketing has focused on developing new specialties, with the side effect of creating organizational and technology separation
- B2B organizations can provide a dizzying range of interactions and experiences, but many struggle to create a single cohesive experience
- In the near future, best-in-class marketing organizations will have the ability to operate in four distinct capability layers that are horizontally integrated across the organization
If you think about a stack of pancakes (and really, who isn’t always thinking about a stack of pancakes?), what defines it is how every element — from the pancakes to the butter and syrup — work together to deliver one amazing, cohesive taste and experience. Each element works together to make something greater than the sum of its parts.
If you think about your tech stack, odds are it isn’t nearly as integrated. Likely it’s the equivalent of serving everything on separate plates. And in some unfortunate cases, it would be more like separate tables or even dining rooms.
If you look at the evolution of marketing over the last 10 to 15 years, you’ll find it’s largely been focused on developing new specialties, which can create organizational and technology separation. Today’s average marketing organization has many more capabilities and competencies, but it comes at the price of increasing separation between marketing elements as each new specialty (e.g. account-based marketing, content marketing, digital marketing) carves out its own team and tech stack. As a result, B2B organizations can provide a dizzying range of interactions and experiences, but struggle to create a cohesive experience across the organization.
Unfortunately, just as marketing organizations are undergoing this slow evolution into highly specialized disciplines, B2B customers are demanding a more unified hyper-relevant experience built on predictive, targeted interactions that provide meaningful value toward their goals. This is exactly what specialized and separated marketing organizations struggle to deliver.
So, how do you fix this? We believe that the evolution of B2B marketing is about to take a radical step away from specialization and separation to focus on connecting the disparate pieces into an integrated whole. In the near future, best-in-class marketing organizations will have the ability to operate in four distinct capability layers that are horizontally integrated across the organization. These layers will be composed of resources, skills, processes and technology and include the following:
- Data. Delivering a hyper-relevant experience requires a deep understanding of an individual, buying group and account that can only be provided by a broad range of data about those entities and their needs. Organizations will need a comprehensive data layer that can collect, connect and rationalize data from all systems across the organization and third-party data sources.
- Analytics. Although data provides the fundamental understanding of an individual, buying group or account, that data is only useful after it is analyzed and the relevant insights, patterns and connections that provide guidance on creating and delivering the hyper-relevant experience are extracted. To accomplish this, organizations must build the mix of processes and technology that allow human and machine-driven analysis of the data in near real time and at scale.
- Orchestration. The insights must be parsed and decisions must be made about what interactions will be delivered to each individual, buying group and account. Active, purposeful orchestration will be required to craft and plan the hyper-relevant experiences. To achieve this, marketing organizations must assemble the right technology and processes and assign responsibilities into an orchestration layer.
- Delivery. Once the plan is created, it must be delivered. To this end, the delivery layer integrates and connects the existing systems, processes and teams to harness them to deliver the orchestrated experience.
All of these steps require more than cosmetic changes that can be achieved by moving some boxes in an org chart. This transformation will require marketers to take a hard look at the underlying infrastructure of marketing — especially the tech stack.
At the SiriusDecisions Technology Exchange on December 10-11, we will dive into what it takes to align the tech stack with this new approach. TechX keynotes, track sessions and client case studies will also provide additional insight into the challenges and opportunities companies must navigate.
Register now and join us in Denver to see how to make your tech stack more like a pancake stack!