Martech maturity and the digital hangover

Apr 08, 2021
Digital Martech

It would be hard to write an article in today’s climate and not mention that these are unusual times. In this article, I address the unique challenges that organizations across the globe are experiencing in relation to a phenomenon some industry pundits call the “digital hangover”. Simply put the digital hangover occurs when companies over-buy technology (usually because it’s a trend) and do not see the results they are looking for. 

Let’s look at the current scenario. In 2019, many marketers were under the impression they could meet the digital demand from their customers and prospects. Global shutdowns starting in March 2020, and the subsequent shift to remote work, changed everything. What this also meant was that the digital divide between millennials and Gen X/Baby Boomers disappeared as everyone shifted to their digital screens for most of their interactions.  

So, what does this mean? Marketers need to consider the following:

  1. Intelligent digital strategy will optimize the customer and prospect experience across the ecosystem. Your technology is only as good as your strategy and your talent. 
  2. Vanity metrics will lead you into a hornet’s nest.
  3. Agile strategy is necessary to drive innovation and optimize your plan on the fly.

Intelligent digital strategy means having a plan built and driven by a leader (typically Chief Digital or VP Digital) who understands the digital ecosystem end-to-end and how the technology works. The plan is also built with a talented team of partners and internal “digital ninjas” (i.e. specialists). Without this collaborative approach your technology roll-out will be lackluster and create more problems in the future. This matters because the average enterprise utilizes 120 marketing cloud services.

Part of this strategy involves placing your focus where you will see the most benefit to drive your current KPIs and moving through this in stages. If you do not have a digital strategist internally you may want to turn to an external consultant to help you identify low hanging fruit. At the very least you can look at your current ecosystem and ask yourself if these strategies are truly driving business outcomes.

Vanity metrics. What are vanity metrics? They are metrics that can make you look good to others, but they will not help you understand your own performance. When you peel back the onion these metrics do not drive real business outcomes. For example, you may have 10,000 likes (which looks impressive initially) but this metric will lose face quickly if you are not able to assign ROI to it. Instead, focus on measures that matter and ask yourself these questions: Can this metric lead to a course of action or inform a decision? Is the data a real reflection of the truth? What can we do to intentionally reproduce the result?

Agile strategy is the democratization of strategy to drive organizational agility. This is done by aligning efforts and resources which will bring value to activities, reduce churn and produce strategic and operational results. In order to drive organizational change to follow your intelligent plan, you need a way to move quickly without burning out your resources, and optimize when necessary. To do agile well, hire internal talent to drive this innovation; however, in most cases, you will also need to rely on an ecosystem of great partners, including agencies and technology vendors.

In conclusion, many marketing teams have over-bought technology. They have too many tools that aren’t fully integrated and they only use a fraction of the features. In addition, other teams may be using competing tools and there is little standardization and efficiency. Now is a good time to clear out the unnecessary.

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Michael Annett

Senior Director Salesforce




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