The pressures on marketers to meet ever-changing customer expectations have never been greater. Successful firms capitalize on the moments that matter while executing appropriately on those that don’t. Reaching consumers at the moments that matters is no small ask. Many marketing organizations are still working with outdated campaign automation and marketing technology platforms that are inhibiting marketing effectiveness and data-driven marketing agility. Older campaign tools were not designed to deliver the at-scale curated customer journeys required of marketing today. Marketers have no choice but to modernize their campaign management tools to effectively and efficiently deliver the experiences their consumers demand.
Understand the consequences
While consumers have shifted quickly to a fully digital lifestyle with a multitude of applications, enterprises and their IT and marketing departments have not been as quick to evolve. Many marketers currently are working with campaign management and automation tools that were selected and deployed a decade ago. The marketing technology (martech) stack of yesterday inherently limits marketing’s ability to deliver on today’s customer expectations and, just as importantly, inhibits its ability to achieve future growth through competitive campaign management.
Holding onto legacy systems can increase cost and decrease productivity. Enterprises are suffering a cascade of problems through not actively upgrading their marketing campaign solutions:
- Compounding upgrade reluctance
Older campaign automation technology, especially on-prem solutions, require a high level of effort to process software upgrades and come with associated risks. Investments in time, resources, and money are needed to prepare, conduct, and test the upgrades to help ensure they are in working order. This larger commitment presents itself as a hurdle to marketing and IT organizations, deterring them from completing an upgrade. Unfortunately, many upgrades have sequenced requirements as well, where a previous version is required to be installed before a newer version can be (e.g., version 4.1 and 4.2 are sequentially required to upgrade to version 4.3).
- Outdated campaign delivery functionality
The steady aversion to upgrading marketing technology has left some marketers with obsolete campaign execution functionality, leaving marketers with an inability to deliver personalized automated journeys made up of multiple nurturing campaigns. Additionally, many of today’s more advanced test-and-learn capabilities are simply not available, which means driving incremental gains becomes far more manually intensive.
- Increased technical debt
Another symptom many marketing organizations experience is that without the right features in their core marketing solution they pursue siloed niche tools and technology to fill the gap. These point solutions may be purchased externally or even custom built in house. Over time, this has created a large amount of technical debt for organizations that is increasing marketing technology costs overall, whether that be through additional implementations, tools to be managed, or a multitude of vendor fees. Long term, this surplus of applications results in duplicative functionality —the overlap of software and capabilities across solutions (A new model for maximizing value from martech)—increasing resource and budget constraints. And while more difficult to measure, more solutions drive a more complex marketer experience, which means it requires more time and resources to develop and deploy the experiences marketers want to provide.
- Lack of integrated solutions
The frequent activity of adding one-off new marketing software to an enterprise’s martech stack versus reevaluating the main campaign automation solution is causing application silos. Rarely do legacy systems integrate with new technology easily. More enterprises are suffering the consequences from a lack of integrated solutions across the broader marketing ecosystem to support both campaign delivery and marketing operations.
- Limited scalability
Outdated technology is limited by throughput requirements of the past. This will cap marketing’s ability to scale campaign delivery by situational marketing needs. Marketers will at best be operating reactively to campaign opportunities versus proactively to identified opportunities.
- Unsupported technology
A lot has changed in the campaign automation technology arena in the past decade. Many solutions have been bought, sold, resold, repackaged, renamed—you name it. But not all solutions have been managed as a strategic priority by vendors. This has left some legacy campaign solutions lacking in functionality compared to the competition. Additionally, obsolete technology may have limited to no support service when encountering a product issue. Make no mistake, the cost to upkeep a legacy solution will continue to increase while the functionality gap continues to grow.
- Amplified risks
The lack of focus in product feature evolution and architecture upkeep for some older technologies can also bring forth many security risks. Some older campaign management tools may have been built on languages that have now been abandoned. Or they could have been built upon outdated or unsupported database versions, operating systems, or web servers. Even more so, there are new cyber threats sprouting each day that an outdated campaign delivery system may not be able to protect itself against.
Define your modernization plan of action
The cons of staying on legacy campaign automation solutions far outweigh the pros, and the long-term impact of delaying an upgrade will increase costs, tighten marketing budgets, increase resource needs, and decrease marketing productivity and ROI. It is vital for marketing organizations to evolve with the marketing technology capabilities available today by developing a plan of action for modernizing their campaign automation platform to deliver rich, multichannel, easy engagement for leads and customers:
1. Conduct a martech health check. Reassess your entire current marketing technology stack by identifying what foundational capabilities are required to support your organization’s go-to-market objectives as well as achieve your marketing strategy and goals.
2. Decide on a central marketing technology platform. Deliver the desired customer experience and support core marketing operations to help enable marketing to sunset outdated marketing solutions. Be sure to select a platform that:
- Provides a plug-and play solution architecture that lays the foundation for a connected martech ecosystem where solutions can exchange information and data freely and easily across the entire enterprise
- Covers key capabilities such as advanced customer segmentation, personalized automated multichannel journeys, innovative lead management functionality, and advanced marketing intelligence and analytics
- Is hosted on the cloud to drive seamless, low lead time upgrades
- Capitalizes on new scalability and elasticity functionality from cloud-based infrastructure
- Delivers easy out-of-the-box data integration capabilities to help empower marketing with access to data across the martech stack.
3. Document your implementation roadmap. Rebuild your martech platform with a cross-functional team held accountable to your enterprise’s front-office vision and operating model evolution. Be sure to take a holistic marketing technology perspective (A new model for maximizing value from martech) during this activity to:
- Improve alignment with organizational goals
- Facilitate rational and analytical martech decision making
- Draw insights from diverse stakeholders
- Create accountability of decisions to the organization with strong business cases with measured ROI
- Prioritize integrated solutions to reduce costs and efficiencies.
Determine the benefits
A lean, effective martech platform with advanced campaign automation and cloud adoption is not an end in itself, but a means to an end, which is to drive improvements across every dimension of marketing:
- Increase marketing productivity
- Improve marketing campaign agility and nimbleness
- Enhance test-and-learn capabilities through advanced marketing intelligence and analytics
- Deliver rich, multichannel customer experiences at moments that matter
- Decrease lead times for campaign automation upgrades through a cloud platform
- Access new campaign automation feature updates without interrupting operations.
How we can help?
Marketing teams and IT organizations need help navigating marketing modernization initiatives and cloud adoption to help ensure they can realize the full potential for both IT and marketing while simultaneously supporting existing marketing operations. Leveraging a thought leader with deep experience and a global knowledge of marketing practices across both IT and marketing is critical. Organizations should focus on holistic solutions that address the entire martech management value chain and focus on driving quantifiable marketing outcomes. Combining the right strategic services with a first-rate martech vendor with a platform that provides increased marketing productivity, facilitates data-driven marketing, and facilitates new approaches to multichannel marketing will help marketers realize the full potential of modernizing marketing.
- Craig Rutkowske
Director Advisory, Customer Solutions, KPMG US
- Parisa Heydarifar
Manager Advisory, Customer Solutions, KPMG US
- David Kelly
Senior Pre-Sales Solutions Engineer, SAS