Insight

Modernize marketing technology: The Integration imperative

Is it time for your business to invest in its integration strategy?

Jason Galloway

Jason Galloway

Principal, Advisory, Customer Solutions, KPMG US

+1 636-614-4250

Marketing technology is growing exponentially with new solutions to meet any marketer’s need. As the martech stacks become more complex, integrating marketing solutions becomes more daunting. This is especially true when tools with limited integration capabilities are involved.

Integration of marketing and customer technology is critical for an effective martech stack.  Joining marketing and customer technology streamlines the marketer experience allowing for more effective delivery of personalized customer interactions.  Unfortunately, for many organizations marketing and customer-facing technology integrations pose a significant challenge.

Signs your integration approach should be re-evaluated

Even though the majority of marketers report integration is the most important selection criteria when considering new marketing technology,(a) 52% still identify integrating disparate systems as their greatest barrier to martech success.(b)
Marketers today require an integration approach that supports rich access to customer data. Lack of full and timely access to customer data inhibits marketing decision-making and delivering the personalized experiences today’s customers expect.   Unfortunately, almost one-third of marketers report “access to data” is a major obstacle to increasing their organization’s focus on personalization.(b)  When integrations exist, just under half of all marketers have connected data from only a few of their channels.(b)  Without the right data marketers are limited to providing generic experiences that are less likely to move the needle with their customers and can’t effectively measure the impact of those experiences to better allocate resources going forward.

There are several key characteristics that indicate an organization should re-evaluate its existing integration approach.

  • Pervasive Custom Integrations
    Technology with a lack of out-of-box integrations leads to the need for custom integrations. Custom integrations are common across martech stacks today and are responsible for increased architectural complexity, total cost of ownership and the probability of functionality breakdowns during technology updates. Dedicated resourcing is required to constantly evaluate and update custom integrations. The extra time and effort required can result in fewer system upgrades, causing marketers to sacrifice the software’s latest features and functions in favor of integration
  • Poor Due Diligence on Out-of-Box Integrations
    Selecting technology based solely on the existence of an out-of-box integration can have long- term cost implications. Many out-of-box integrations are limited in functionality and will only address parts of required use cases. If only a cursory review of out-of-box integrations is conducted, the organization may later discover custom integrations are also required making integration costs higher than anticipated.  
  • Assuming Open APIs Solves All Issues
    To help organizations address ongoing integration challenges, many technology vendors have taken the approach of providing a platform built on open APIs. This approach ensures flexibility, and readily provides access to ingest or extract information from the solution, but the availability of APIs can provide a false sense of simplicity. Using APIs requires skilled developer resources that understand business use cases and have solution specific knowledge. This can result in the need for ongoing internal developer support or assistance from external professionals.  Either way, costs increase.

Invest in your integration strategy and implementation

For marketers to maximize the value of their tech stack and prove the worth of their activities to the organization, they need an effective integration strategy rooted in driving business value. Developing and deploying an effective integration strategy requires input from a cross functional team (Marketing, Procurement, IT, Legal, etc.) as each team may have different needs and integrations may have up or downstream impacts. KPMGs A New Model for Maximizing Value from MarTech white paper provides additional guidance on identifying members and establishing roles and responsibilities for a successful marketing technology stack.  Once a cross-functional team is established, they can get started.

  1. Define an integration roadmap:
    • Assess current pain points and capture the future state vision
    • Identify gaps stemming from existing integration.
    • Determine any key missing integrations within the current martech stack
    • Consider future technology needs and integration requirements (review our previous post on core technology considerations for modern organizations)
    • Rank integration gaps based on business need and projected value
    • Identify solution options and estimate costs and timelines
    • Prioritize integrations based on value, costs and timelines
    • Develop the integration roadmap
  2. Implement your roadmap:
    • Identify the resources that will develop, deploy and maintain future-state integration.
    • Include members from key positions throughout your cross-functional team to validate integrations are providing an efficient and effective business solution
    • Work with technology vendor customer success teams to ensure out-of-box integrations and APIs continue to evolve to meet the needs of your organization and minimize ongoing support needs from your own team

Enjoy the advantages:

An advanced, modern integration strategy provides tangible benefits to marketing:

  • Increased revenue through accessibility to customer data for personalization
  • Decreased total cost of ownership through simplification of technical infrastructure
  • Reduced risks through increased ability to meet privacy and regulatory requirements
  • Improved insight generation at the segment, contact, and persona level
  • Enhanced reporting and analytics for performance tracking and optimization
  • Better ability to govern data ensuring consistency and accuracy across the enterprise

How can KPMG help? 

If you would like to know more about developing effective integration strategies and addressing immediate integration needs, then KPMG is interested in teaming with you. Let’s start the conversation.

Coauthors:

  • Craig Rutkowske
    Director Advisory, Customer Solutions, KPMG US
  • Parisa Heydarifar
    Manager Advisory, Customer Solutions, KPMG US