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    Martech consultants are the secret weapon for conquering martech complexity

    Martech consultants are the secret weapon for conquering martech complexity

    The marketing technology landscape has exploded into a vast ecosystem of over 15,000 products across 500+ categories, fueled by relentless innovation from generative AI to new channels and data sources. This growth challenges enterprise organizations to build integrated, data-driven martech stacks for seamless customer experiences.

    Amid this complexity, martech consultants have become indispensable guides for enterprises. With their deep expertise in the martech landscape, they devise overarching technology strategies, steer product selection and ensure smooth implementation — bridging the expertise gap for in-house marketing teams struggling to keep pace.

    As innovation accelerates, the role of martech consultants will become even more crucial. Their specialized, comprehensive knowledge is vital for enterprises navigating the rapid changes in the martech landscape.

    The transformation of martech consultancy

    In my company’s early days, as we defined our product offering, we spent months on the road talking to enterprise marketing teams and marketing agencies to validate our ideas and hypotheses. A surprise learning for us during that period was how dismissive marketing teams were of consultants and agencies regarding marketing technology. We heard the same story repeatedly: “They don’t know any more than we do about marketing technology and can’t add value.” 

    In fairness, there were some standouts. For example, The Real Story Group has been a consultancy and analyst firm highly regarded by enterprise teams and agencies for its in-depth look at technology categories. But overall, there was a big disconnect.

    Fast-forward to today and things have changed dramatically. The extraordinary growth of the martech landscape has changed the marketing environment and the dynamics between enterprise marketing teams and consultants. For instance:

    • The marketing technology landscape has grown rapidly, with many new products emerging yearly. 
    • Innovation is at an all-time high, highlighted by the rise of generative AI and over 100 new AI products last year alone. 
    • Martech stacks have grown larger. Marketing is an additive function. We rarely discard marketing channels (direct mail, email, social media, etc.) and instead layer on new channels as they emerge.  
    • These stacks have become more complex, as these tools must analyze, share and act on collected data. Effective data integration is essential for optimizing customer experience and engagement.

    In this environment, product selection and implementation are challenging. At the same time, it’s becoming increasingly difficult for marketing teams to hire the breadth of technical expertise needed to design and manage these complex stacks cost-effectively. 

    Dig deeper: How enterprises are pursuing martech and adtech integration today

    The role of traditional research and advisory firms, peer community forums

    Enterprise organizations used to rely on research and advisory firms for product recommendations. Now, these firms focus on individual product categories, ignoring the overall stack and product interactions, giving narrow and less useful advice.

    Today, research and advisory firms are just one of many information sources. Trustworthy technology information now comes from two types of sources: information companies and peer community forums. 

    Information providers are collecting enormous information on new technology through customer reviews, vendor profiles, specialized research, vendor materials and expert editorials. Companies like G2, TrustRadius, TechTarget and Technology Advice deliver vast amounts of information to audiences that turn to them as trusted advisors. They collaborate with each other in interesting and innovative new ways. 

    You may have noticed that G2 and TechTarget recently announced a partnership introducing the reciprocal G2 TechBlend feature. This feature will help both destinations become even better go-to sources for technology trends, insights and information. 

    I reached out to John Steinert, CMO of TechTarget, to ask about the motivation for the partnership. 

    “TechTarget’s editorial purpose since the beginning has been to serve the information needs of technology buyers. The foundation is all about delivering quality editorial. We want to be a trusted advisor, just like any consultant. At the same time, we also need to deliver in the places our audiences prefer to do their research, so we partner with quality outlets like G2. The reality today (I’m sure you’ve noticed this) is that nearly everyone is getting involved somehow in technology decisions and all buyers crave education, expert advice, and guidance in-line with their research journeys. Since our editorial leans hard towards depth and granularity, I think one way to understand the growth we’re seeing in buyer research is to understand content as a form of consulting that evolves to meet expanding needs and expectations.”

    John Steinert, CMO of TechTarget

    And if all this weren’t enough, communities like MarketingOps.com and free podcasts and events showcasing technology practitioners and their experiences add the much-valued, real-time peer commentary to all of this information.

    Dig deeper: Beyond quadrants: An alternative approach to martech selection

    How martech consultants bridge the expertise gap in enterprises

    With so much information freely available, it can be challenging to aggregate and apply it to the needs of a specific organization. This is now the role that martech consultants are taking on.

    Over the last 10 years, we’ve seen large business consultancies launch martech practices and the emergence of specialized marketing technology consultancies. From single practitioners to the largest consulting companies, there are consultants available to address every company’s needs. 

    Martech consultants bring a breadth of hands-on technology expertise and have deep experience evaluating and building martech stacks in their entirety. This allows them to devise technology strategies that integrate every tier of the stack seamlessly.

    If your team struggles to deal with your martech needs, staying on top of technological advances or architecting a cohesive stack, hiring a consultant may be just what you need to augment your in-house expertise. Notice I wrote “augment” and not “replace” — I’m not an advocate of the latter. 

    Marketing technology is too important to the overall business to be outsourced. The key to success is to work with a consultant rather than delegate responsibility to the consultant. Collaborating and working in lockstep with an external consultancy on your stack and data architecture can create a strong foundation for a smooth introduction of new technology.

    Assistance of martech consultants

    Paving the way for successful partnerships

    It’s important to note that just like the rest of us, consultants must adapt to the ever-expanding technology landscape and pace of innovation. This means rethinking:

    • How they form and manage client teams.
    • How they work with clients.
    • How they leverage learnings from the totality of their company’s experience and not just from a single operational silo. 

    An industry colleague who is the managing partner of a fast-growing tech consultancy told me this: 

    “Over the last 18 months we’ve really evolved our client engagement strategy. We now prioritize creating a visualization of the client’s technology framework to grasp their system comprehensively, assessing product interdependencies and the scale of effort required for new integrations. By maintaining this blueprint as a joint endeavor, it allows both parties to rapidly respond to technological advancements. Working collaboratively alongside our clients, rather than operating behind the scenes, has led to more effective processes and superior outcomes.”

    Dan Vawter, Sojourn Solutions

    This is an excellent time for consultants to capitalize on the current market environment. Those who evolve their models to fully leverage their key assets will experience accelerated growth and success.

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    The post Martech consultants are the secret weapon for conquering martech complexity appeared first on MarTech.

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