Why a Balanced Tech/Human Approach to MarTech Is Key to Reducing Waste

By Myles Peacock, Worldwide CEO, Investis Digital (iDX)

Efficiency and accuracy have always been front-of-mind for marketers—as they should be. But MarTech’s relative explosion over the past decade has enabled our industry to more readily tick these objectives off. But has this efficiency come at a cost? Namely, in the form of waste.

Consider that forecasts suggest that the United States’ total investment in MarTech will exceed $27B in 2024, up from $15B in 2020. But increased spending doesn’t guarantee results, let alone perfected results. Waste Less. Grow More. which iDX produced based on findings from a commissioned study conducted by Forrester Consulting, examines how inefficient MarTech and AdTech stacks contribute to soaring waste levels, which have very real financial ramifications as well. Nearly four-in-five (83%) of businesses recognize that their platforms don’t work well together.

While this doesn’t just mean that businesses are pouring money down the drain, the reality is that increased complexity is causing organization-wide disruption. Digital waste’s global carbon emissions now rival the aviation industry—and if you don’t find that assertion shocking, perhaps you should.

Taken together, this means that there’s a significant opportunity to “do better”—for our businesses, of course, but maybe for our industry as well. In other words, we have a collective responsibility to take action.

Because publicly, marketers continue to advocate for environmentally-friendly operations—sustainability is a buzzword, afterall—but how many are tying those efforts to direct actions? In fact, 94% agree they should be braver and more experimental in their pursuit of greater sustainability. Which means it’s a matter of identifying how to effectively manage MarTech stacks, and this necessitates creating a content framework that unifies MarTech, AdTech, content and audience targeting.

More MarTech, more problems.

Modern businesses aren’t confined to a single building. Internal stakeholders are scattered across the globe—with each market and department using their own siloed MarTech stack.

In truth, this is where the problems begin. It doesn’t matter if your set-up consists of CRMs, CDPs, or DMPs. Duplicated systems which fail to interact as a unit will generate friction and send marketing campaigns into disarray—phrases which should panic even the most confident CMO.

We’ve found that poorly-integrated MarTech systems can generate an additional 10% – 13% waste across effort, resources, budget and time. These numbers are felt even more intensely given the current economic climate.

Now, let’s agree that underperforming MarTech structures are the leading contributor to disconnected and duplicated content. Developing extensive libraries of assets isn’t an issue anymore. But mismanagement forces digital waste levels to take off. And this is where frustrating customer experiences, extended sales cycles, and flawed digital transformation journeys also begin to creep in.

Digital waste doesn’t just reduce overall marketing effectiveness. Investing in redundant tools that don’t contribute to a cohesive marketing strategy will drive your unnecessary expenses skyward.

So how can marketers maximize campaign impact while minimizing wasteful expenses?

All under one roof.

Emphasizing compatibility across tools and driving synergy across the structure is the first step to optimizing MarTech management. Building a streamlined and efficient approach empowers marketers to better utilize their resources.

But best-in-class marketing strategies don’t hinge solely on MarTech. You need a connected framework that harnesses the potential of all available assets—both technical and human.

What’s more, shifting toward this strategy doesn’t mean abandoning the investments you’ve previously made. Rather, marketers have the opportunity to optimize their existing stacks—not generate more waste by piling on more tools. Embracing this balanced approach can be the catalyst to getting your marketing set-up firing on all cylinders.

Campaigns are consistently defined by whether or not they reach the right audiences. Fostering deeper connections with these groups is a stepping stone toward improving ROI, creating enhanced customer experience, and reducing waste. But failure to do so leads to (unintentional) pollution of the digital landscape.

Best practice suggests that streamlined MarTech stacks should be achieving ROI in the region of 60-80%. Adopting a simplified strategy that leans on a centralized MarTech stack across the organization is key toward eliminating the complexity issues. This is the differentiator between businesses increasing their market share and those that lose ground on the competition.

Balancing the scales.

Marketing shouldn’t be mentioned in the same breath as the air travel industry when it comes to waste—it’s a “bad look,” to say the least. And while research shows that leaders are saying the right things when it comes to sustainability and adopting eco-friendly processes, the reality is that we’ve got a long way to go as an industry.

No one should debate MarTech’s influence on the marketing landscape or the fact that it has driven considerable efficiency. However, in order to move forward, there must be some level of harmony between digital marketing strategies. Boosting ROI will always be a top-level objective for marketers—but this shouldn’t mean sacrificing sustainability goals.