Intersection of Marketing, Technology, and Management

Episode #015: Scott Brinker, VP of Platform at HubSpot, Editor of Chiefmartech.com, and Program Chair of the MarTech Conference

In the last decade, there has been a growing intersection between marketing and technology. Previously, IT departments would typically manage all of the technology used by a company, but with the introduction of email marketing platforms, social media, and more, marketing teams started spending more and more of their budget on technology. This trend has grown in recent years and now martech accounts for 29% of the total marketing budget according to Gartner’s CMO Spend Survey 2018-2019. In this episode of Mobile Matters, we talk to HubSpot’s VP of Platform and editor of chiefmartec.com, Scott Brinker, about how it’s not helpful to other marketers to only see a picture of your tech stack and why you need to be experimenting with 20 percent of your tech stack.

Stephanie's Strong Opinions

  1. We need to stop posting pictures of our tech stack on LinkedIn without providing any context around why we’re using each piece of software and how we’re using it in our strategy.
  2. Your marketing needs the ability to move fast and feel safe enough to fail. If not, then you need to seriously reconsider how your marketing team is managed.
  3. The customer journey mapping process might need an overhaul to align with how consumers actually behave in today’s digital world.

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Episode Transcription

Stephanie Cox: I’m Stephanie Cox and this is Mobile Matters. Today I’m joined by Scott Brinker at Hubspot. Scott is the VP of Platform at HubSpot, Editor of ChiefMartec.com and the Program Chair at the Martech Conference. He’s basically the go to for anything you need to know about the intersection of marketing, technology, and management. He is also the brains behind the martech landscape graphic that comes out each year and provides an overview of all the martech software available. In this episode Scott and I talk a lot about the latest trends of sharing your tech stack on LinkedIn and why you shouldn’t immediately adopt the same tech as everyone else. Why you need to make sure that 20% of the technology you are using is actually for experimenting with new things. And how the customer journey mapping we’ve all done might actually be hindering us in our efforts. Make sure you stick around to the end. Where I’ll give my recap and top takeaways so that you can not only think about mobile differently but implement it effectively. Welcome to the show Scott.

So, you have a really long career in marketing and tech! Can you tell me a little bit about how you got started? 

Scott Brinker: Wow. Well, back in the days when there were horses and buggies. So, I actually got into it in like the dot com era. I was running the technology team of a web development agency. We did some work for some fairly large brands and it was fascinating. We’d always get hired by the marketing departments but then because it was my team that actually be the folks building this, we got volunteered to then go and talk to the IT department at that company. Because the marketing department and the IT department wouldn’t actually talk directly to each other. 

Stephanie Cox: Whatever do you mean? 

Scott Brinker: So yeah that fascinating dynamic is what started me down this journey, of like Oh, good this could be really intriguing, how did these two [marketing and IT] get married?

Stephanie Cox: No, it’s funny that you say that because I always joke about how in a lot of organizations, especially as you get in the mid-market space and definitely in enterprise, marketing and IT have this like a love hate relationship! We want to work together, we have totally different priorities, totally conflicting goals a lot of times. Marketers want things fast and now and IT wants to, I think rightfully so in a lot of cases, spend the time what they believe is building it up the right way and doing it the right way. And I’m just like, well why can’t I just do it now? 

Scott Brinker: No, it’s exactly right. It’s like IT has a certain set of incentives and they are good incentives. But, yeah they are a very different set of incentives than what marketing is being held accountable for. And so, we’re getting better at connecting the dots between them. But there were a few years in there where I was like “No!” Just a completely Tower of Babble type scenario. 

Stephanie Cox: Yeah, I can say that I, probably in my career, have asked for forgiveness a couple of times with IT than permission. 

Scott Brinker: That tends to be… I’m seeing that pattern elsewhere. What else are you gonna do?  

Stephanie Cox: So one of the things that I see a lot on places like LinkedIn s marketers talking about what’s in their tech stack. So these posts are always generating a ton of buzz because we’re always looking for that tech that’s really going to help us and dramatically improve our results. But, it’s kind of hard to figure out you know what should your tech stock look like because there are so many options out there today. So, how should marketers be evaluating technology? 

Scott Brinker: Yeah it’s a great question. You know I actually just have to pause for a moment and like, isn’t it kind of weird or wild that, like, marketers are putting together these tech stacks and sharing them publicly? I mean don’t get me wrong, I love it. I find it fascinating but I remember at one of the first conferences where I saw a marketer put up a slide of “Hey, these are all the technology we’re using now put together.” And the whole audience of other marketers were all wrapped up, like oh my goodness that’s so cool. I’m like wow… I would not have predicted that. So, all right. Sorry, to answer your question now. How should they go about evaluating this? I think the challenge I find is there are two different kinds of technology and we really want to manage them very differently. There is a technology that is really fundamental to the operations of what we’re doing. You know, things like CRM, our website, CMS, marketing automation, depending on if you’re using some separate tool for like social media monitoring and management. And these are things that you are going to have a lot of people in the organization using. There’s going to be… you develop a lot of organizational capital around them, and so you want to go through the process of deciding which vendors you go with and how it’s going to work with the rest of the tools in your stack very carefully. Versus, there’s another set of technology that is, to me, more in that experimental, up and coming, pilot program, sort of thing. I mean, there’s just so much innovation that’s happening out there. And while, the thing with these two different categories is like for the first one that’s exactly where you tell people, to try and resist the shiny object, you know that Tom Fishburne market of a cartoon where it’s like, Look squirrel! For the 80 percent of what we’re doing, we want to narrow our focus, avoid the shiny objects, and just really focus on knowing what are good foundational systems we could use. But if we ignore everything else, we miss out on these new trends that are coming out like, we miss out on well actually more and more customers want to use chatbots as a way to interface with us here, or do we have a voice skill and Alexa, or are we you know what’s our presence and Instagram versus you know what we had been doing in Facebook. It’s like you need about 20 percent of the investment and marketing technology to sort of be experimenting with those new trends just so you don’t miss out on opportunities. 

Stephanie Cox: I really like that idea of almost of an 80/20 rule but thinking about it differently than we normally do. You know, 80 percent of my tech stack needs to be stuff that’s really like, it’s almost essential to running my business every day. And then 20 percent is the stuff that I’m honestly like, testing out, playing around with, trying to figure out if it’s going to work for my business, is it going to work for how consumers are changing? Is it something I should be doing? And, I think that’s something that people are missing when they start sharing all these different pictures of their tech stacks. When you were talking about at a conference and people put up like a slide. I don’t know if this is your experience or not, it’s been mine. Everyone gets their phones out and they’re like taking a photo. And, I bet every single company on that slide, then gets all of these inbounds that are like you know I need so-and-so is using you, I need to know what they’re doing what you’re doing, what does it cost. And to your point around shiny objects as it doesn’t always make sense to chase the shiny object that someone else has.  

Scott Brinker: Yeah, exactly. It’s technology is, I was just having this conversation with someone else. It is definitely one of these things where it is a tool. You know, I mean, there’s almost no technology you find in the marketing space that you just plug in and it magically starts generating customers and happy customer experiences for you. And so, yeah, I mean when you look at the tools a particular company is using, really you’re only seeing like a tiny sliver of what’s actually happening there. What you don’t get there is that sense of, OK well how are they actually, have they actually incorporated this? You know, into the customer experience and to the way they’re delivering, you know, marketing programs you know managing these different touch points. And yeah, if you just sort of chase after the tool without that context, yeah, you plug it in and well wait a second, I didn’t magically turn into a Procter and Gamble what happened here?! 

Stephanie Cox: That’s interesting that you say that, because my next question for you was around how do you think about this intersection between marketing and technology? Technology can help us, but at the same time you have to have a strategy behind it, you have to have some thought, you have to have people, right? Technology doesn’t typically in a lot of cases run itself completely. Although I would love to get to that scenario you talked about where we just turn it on and customers just come in. 

Scott Brinker: Yep! Avinash Kaushik, the guy who writes the Occam’s Razor blog. Man, for like years here, he’s been like a web analytics advocate, he had this thing they were promoting of the 90, 10. I think he called it a 90-10 rule where it’s like, listen companies should be investing 90 percent of their budget into their people and their talent, for how they use this stuff and 10 percent into the tools that they give people to use. And we could argue over where exactly that split should be I think ratio-wise, he’s like right on the money. I mean, there’s a lot of great tools out there that enable us to do things now that, like 10 years ago, we couldn’t have even dreamed of. Imagine! They’re wonderful! But, they are tools and in the absence of really investing in developing the talent, the organizational capital. One of the reasons, for my blog and the conference, I always talk about the intersection of not just marketing and technology but the intersection of marketing, technology, and management, is because very often, I find well it’s not even just about learning how to use a tool. It’s like, do we change the way we run marketing, in order to take advantage of what this new technology can do? And, a great example is like, if you have a technology that lets people do more experimentation, more A/B testing over, what we can maybe test all these different landing values or we can maybe test different landing pages, or e-mails, or you know offers or all this. Wow that’s incredibly powerful. But if the organization has had a structure where OK, well anytime somebody wants to run a test they have to go through you know these three different people who are improve the ads, and, you know, those folks can verify that. And so that this bottleneck is, well in theory the technology could let you be running you know like hundreds of tests in parallel. But, the way in which you manage marketing is like, no you’ll run about maybe one test a month. So, it’s finding ways to change the management around that technology as much as the marketing. 

Stephanie Cox: So in that example, I I immediately thought of growth hacking. That concept that’s come up and has been really popular these days. You start to see people in marketing departments have the title like growth or growth hacking. How do you know when something should kind of have a new role within marketing and when it’s a flash in the pan concept? 

Scott Brinker: Yeah, I mean there’s so much changing in the world today that this is a broader innovation challenge that companies have and they often wrestle like, ‘Oh should we have an innovation group, an innovations team, an Innovation Lab?’ And all the new experimental stuff happens with that group and, meanwhile, everyone else just sort of keeps their heads down and you know get it done the way we’ve always got it done. And I’ve always leaned in the other direction. I feel like there’s so much changing, so rapidly that if you don’t find a way to build some innovation opportunities into everyone’s job, you create this real us versus them structure that just causes an organization to calcify. And so yeah, I think one of the things we advocate a lot is this idea of agile marketing, using these sort of agile management approaches in the context of the marketing department. One of the things I like about that is, when you run these agile teams that are having a two week, three week, four week sprints, one of the things that you’ve always got going on is you’ve got this backlog of interesting ideas or things that people whether they’re in marketing or outside of marketing. And, they say hey would this be possible, or you know what about trying this or that, so that you know and that every two to three or four weeks whenever these sprints come to an end and you’re starting the next one, you go through this prioritization process where everyone participates. And that gets a chance to sort of look at, hey out of all these things, what do we think is the highest value that we’d be able to do now based on what we know to get that and that next sprint you know. Run it through and start to see how, what the reaction to that is, and that the next sprint you again decide, ‘Oh well do we want to continue more of that or now we tried a little bit, we don’t think this is a direction worth pursuing. Let’s find something else that’s higher value.’ It’s like just building that ability to evolve that ability to change into the very operating system of the marketing department itself. I think that’s where the real opportunity is. 

Stephanie Cox: Do you find that when you talk to marketers that’s really hard for them because they’re so ingrained and kind of like my day to day. My day to day is I need to manage social, I don’t have time to really carve out to be part of an agile sprint for two weeks and focus on a couple of innovative ideas. 

Scott Brinker: Yeah, well again this is where I think management has to change. If marketing management does not structure things in a way to allow the organization to change and evolve and adapt as they go along, that’s really on them. And again it’s not about saying that, well it’s all new stuff all the time. Even within sprints, this idea of saying listen whatever it is you know half of the day is spent just friggin answering emails. And we’ve got these current existing project commitments or ongoing campaign commitments that we’ve allocated this amount of time for each week. It’s fine, like lay it all out and if ends up that hey, I actually only like 10 percent or 20 percent of our time for a given sprint is in doing new things to help move the business forward, to help it adapt and keep advancing, that’s fine whatever it is! But it’s like at least you start to build it into the system and it’s done in a way that there’s a transparency to it that everyone can sort of hold each other accountable like, are we just doing the same thing we’ve been doing month over month over month over a month? Which hey if talking great and then that’s beautiful and just numbers are up and to the right, God bless you. But for most of us that isn’t the case so we need to find some sort of way to like keep pushing the envelope. 

Stephanie Cox: Or if that is the case and their numbers are up and up, at some point they won’t be, right? So, you’ve got to be thinking about what’s next. 

Scott Brinker: Fair enough. But there just keep going up into the right for what you’re doing by all means, milk it for all it’s worth then! 

Stephanie Cox: So let’s talk citizen developers. For those of you listening to the podcast that are unfamiliar, citizen developers is really a term that I know I first heard from Gartner and they’ve been using it a lot to convey someone in the business that really takes on a role that allows them to create some sort of digital experience. So, they’re not a traditional developer really at all. I like to think of them sometimes really as like almost like a marketing technologist, someone who is in digital marketing that has the ability to work in whether that’s a CRM system or some sort of email social media program, they’re making changes to your website, et cetera. That’s how at least I’m thinking about them. I know, Scott, you recently wrote a blog post about citizen developers so, can you tell me about how you’re thinking about them and the role they’ll play in the future? 

Scott Brinker: This is one of the topics I am most fascinated with these days. And to me, it’s not even just citizen developers, it’s really citizen ‘blank’. Like citizen integrators, like the people who are using tools like Zappier to… ‘Oh, I want to take the data from this cloud service here, and pipe it over here, and then maybe trigger this message in Slack.’ I mean, there’s this notion of integrating different pieces of software in the cloud right? It wasn’t that long ago when you were like okay well we’re gonna need some sort of enterprise architect from IT to come put that all together. And now like you sign up for Zappier, half of it’s free. You’re just say “oh yeah I’ll take this thing coming out of WordPress, and I want to throw it over here to HubSpot, or I want to trigger this other thing off in like a Google spreadsheet.” That is amazing! We see this with citizen data analysts. I mean everything like tools like Google Data Studio, Tableau, of where you know you don’t have to be a data scientist, ahardcore data scientist to be able take these data sets. And just as a business user, as a marketer to be like, I’ve got some questions of how is this comparing against this, or what sort of interesting pattern can I see about the way people are responding to a particular campaign over time. And this whole movement of saying these technologies are changing, democratizing who in the organization gets to make things happen? You know, can I just do this myself, can I self service myself here for, ‘Hey I need this little app or I need this little integration or I need this little piece of data analysis?’ Versus where not too long ago you’re like oh well if I need this there’s some expert who does that. And they’ve got a long line of people who are waiting to get their thing done and so give me a ticket in the deli line and, I’ll wait my turn and maybe a month from now I’ll hear from them. Talk about a movement that is changing qualitatively the speed of business. Yeah, I think this whole citizen developer movement is game-changing.

Stephanie Cox: So one of the things I personally, I love the concept of it, I don’t like the term citizen developer though. I wish there was something else we could call it because immediately people are like, oh you’re developers? I’m like, No, they don’t code at all.  

Scott Brinker: They don’t, and then when people hear this citizen developer stuff, half of them are like, Oh you mean like this is some sort of open government thing? And no, no, I don’t mean that. 

Stephanie Cox: Earlier you mentioned how fast technology is changing, so how do businesses keep up with how fast technology changes? Trying to figure out what they should be using to innovate that 20 percent you’re talking about, while at the same time knowing that a lot of businesses just move slower by nature.

Scott Brinker: Yeah I mean again it’s one of the things I think we have to be comfortable with is, there is more changing in the world every day than any business, any one person can ever hope to keep track of. And so, you have to be able to narrow your scope to OK, what are the things that really are relevant to my business? And the things that I think marketing wants to pay super close attention to is the purchasing behaviors of our customers. As they start to change like, you know, hey how are customers finding us? How are customers going through an evaluation process to decide to buy or not buys? How once people actually do decide to buy, how does that purchase process work? What does they expect post-purchase from a service experience perspective in order to be happy and not to churn? It’s like, marketing wants to find ways to have really close attention to the patterns of identifying patterns of when those behaviors are changing, because those are the sort of technologies that then we have to be able to bring into our business and adapt to all. And like a great example would be like right now you know the stuff with chatbots or even like these voice assistants. Like voice assistants may not be relevant to your business and that’s fine. If you’re keeping your pulse somewhat with your customer, your target audience does. And voice assistants is just not a behavior that they’re using and how they engage with your particular category. Fine. That’s great. But if they are, and you don’t have some sort of mechanism for starting actually turns out about 15 percent of our customers would like to be buying this way from us but because we’re not there and we aren’t even thinking about this, this upstart competitor who is now, like well I’ll use this channel to reach this audience is basically creeping up behind us. Those are the sorts of things you just get really good at, being able to detect those behavior patterns as early as possible.

Stephanie Cox: One of the things as marketers that we kind of struggle with, I think sometimes, is this balance between creating these highly personalized experiences for consumers, or at least in the B2B space, right? We talk a lot about the idea of like account based marketing, making it really personalized, but then also trying to balance that with the resources we have and automate things from a tech perspective. So how would you recommend that we try and handle that ongoing struggle? 

Scott Brinker: I think we want to be careful with leaping to the assumption that personalization is actually what customers want. Because in a lot of cases, what customers want is an easier better buying experience that isn’t necessarily about personalization so much as there are these all these other possible friction points like “hey when I’m trying to get an answer to question X, how easy is it for me to find the answer to that?” Is it just automatically there on the website and go to a chat bot, can I ask the question? If I ask a question in the chatbot, is this a chatbot actually going to come back with an answer? Does a human being come on with an answer, do I have to wait in the queue for like 50 other people in front of me to get that answer. It’s like there’s so many of these things that impact the happiness, and ultimately, the lifetime value of customers that I guess I just wanna make sure. My advice is usually to make sure that the set of technologies or tactics that we think of as personalization, that they’re in the context of the full suite of possible ways we could improve the customer experience. And that more personalization for our business may not actually be the biggest lever to move the needle. 

Stephanie Cox: I love that you said that, because it reminds me of recently when I bought some software. I had already talked to a lot of people, I knew what type of software I was buying, I had looked at a couple options. I had asked some trusted friends then you were already using different vendors and I had made a decision without honestly ever talking to that company. So, I went to their website, submitted inbound requests and asked really for pricing. And they wanted to set me up with an initial call and then a demo. And like, I just want to know how much it costs, how much are you going to charge me? I would like to give you money now. And it was just to your point, it was interesting because they weren’t making it easy for me to buy from them and I was already ready to buy. And I think that’s one of the things that content and the internet really has allowed us to do in the last especially the last 5 to 10 years is a lot of research by consumers whether that’s at B2C or B2B is done before they ever talk to you. 

Scott Brinker: It’s actually it’s funny, it’s almost like in some ways this becomes a casualty of what was supposed to be a good thing. This idea of customer journey mapping, of like hey listen we will map out the customer journey and make sure that we’re serving them appropriately at the different stages. All with the right intentions, but all too often I’ve seen yet, companies that they create these journey maps and they’re like, OK well this is the process! And it’s one thing to dictate process to how people inside your company are going to work but essentially once you start getting them out of like, OK this is going to be the process and anyone who wants to buy from us is going to follow this process. It’s like, really I can’t just give you money?

Stephanie Cox: Well that same vendor, and I did end up buying from them. And of the things that like, on our kickoff call, they’re like walking through a kickoff process and I’m like I’ve already logged in and I’ve already set half of this stuff up. I’d like three questions. Can you just help me with the three questions that I couldn’t do myself? I’m like ready, I’m ready to use your software. I don’t need a 90 day kick off process. 

Scott Brinker: And meanwhile they’re sending you these emails that you know maybe of target and case studies or little news stories that they’ve decided are personalized, you know all because of your segment and because of your industry, you know? Yeah, so we’re giving you a personalized customer experience. Yeah. Okay. You’re gonna follow our structure and this, this other thing.

Stephanie Cox:Yeah, it’s interesting I’ve been part of like those customer journey exercises that both know midsize and enterprise organizations in my career. And we all know you map them out and there’s so many touch points. And now when I think about it I’m like, that’s not how consumers buy anymore. That’s not how I buy either you know as a marketer or as a person. The journey I take a lot of time reminds me of like a ball of light tied up yarn and as you unravel it, it’s like there’s knots there’s twists and turns. Or maybe the first time you ride Space Mountain at Disney, you don’t know what’s coming, you’re in the dark. 

Scott Brinker: That’s an excellent metaphor, I’m gonna use that. 

Stephanie Cox: But I think that’s what I think that’s what’s so exciting to me about marketing today, is there’s you know, there’s so many different ways your customers can find you and interact with you and how do you make sure that process is seamless and easy? And relevant to them to what they need, when they need it, not what you want to give them when you want to give it to them. One of the things I know you’re really well-known for is the MarTech landscape supergraphic. I think it started back in 2011 with 150 companies and last year was over six thousand. So how did that idea come about? 

Scott Brinker: Yeah… it’s crazy how that thing is grown. So, I was giving a presentation to a group of marketing executives at a conference in 2011. I was trying to convince them to actually hire a marketing technologist that, you know, you don’t want to just be relying on IT. You want to have someone in the marketing team who can really be helping you take the most advantage of technology and the whole reason I’m doing that slide together was just trying to make the argument of like, look at how much technology has infiltrated marketing. I mean, there’s hardly a single facet of what the CMO, even in 2011, was responsible for that didn’t have some sort of significant tool making it happen. Whether it was with the website or with advertising, or social, or with customer records, or email marketing. And so yeah, I had been laying those all out and it was 150 at the time. It’s like, it’s actually one hundred and fifty was a huge number! I mean I don’t think any of us like really realized like, “Oh my God, there’s a lot of technology. How will we ever keep track of a hundred and fifty tools?”  

Stephanie Cox: I know and now I’m like how, I think there’s like sixty seven hundred last year and like I’m kind of afraid to find out how many there are this year!

Scott Brinker: You aren’t the only one. Try assembling the actual graphic there. People keep saying, this whole industry is getting consolidated. I’m like When Lord? When is going to be my time? 

Stephanie Cox: Right? Well, it is interesting you’ve seen I think bits and pieces over the last especially five years, where like people, there starts to be consolidation. But then it’s like oh, but there’s a new segment now that just popped up and now there’s 20 players in that. And now this is no longer this, it’s called something else. Just like how. So this is probably why people when they share their tech stack everyone’s like, Just tell me what you’re doing.

Scott Brinker: Yeah, and the truth is it’s bigger than marketing. Like I now see this in accounting, I see it in HR, I certainly see it in sales tech. It’s just this the cloud and super cheap infrastructure and open source software and all these things. It’s basically gone to a place where anyone and I mean anyone in the world can create a software product and make it available. And in some cases, you know, it’s gonna to be junk but actually in a number of cases, people come up with kind of novel and interesting things. And us being marketers that are always looking for novel ways to reach an audience or have a relationship with customers that our competitors haven’t, you know we buy this stuff. And so yeah, you get to a place where, I mean there’s the major players and they’re relatively stable and they’re the ones who are you know primarily consolidating. But you get out into the long tail of innovation and experimentation out there. And yeah, I don’t see any end in sight. 

Stephanie Cox: So how did you start MarTech conference? I know that’s a big thing that you’re responsible for as well.

Scott Brinker: So we had been running the blog, starting in 2008 and then by 2014. I mean when we started in 2008, like you know a few dozen people who like I think identified it’s like oh yeah I’m a marketing technologist. Most people were like, Wow I’ve never heard a bigger oxymoron than marketing technologists. But by 2014, something had really tipped. That was the year the number of vendors we we’re tracking crossed the thousand mark. You’re finding more and more organizations that were truly hiring technology people into the marketing department. And so, we launched the conference with the idea of helping to bring that community together. The people who are actually the marketing technologists, the people running those marketing ops teams, and to a certain extent, the vice president of marketing or the CMO. Above that who they’re not the technologists themselves but they now have to start to think about how do they incorporate that capability into their organization? How did they manage that as a part of their organization? So we’ve been doing it for five years, we’ve got our next event coming up here in the Bay Area April 3 through 5 and I’m looking forward to it. 

Stephanie Cox: I thoroughly enjoyed my conversation with Scott. he’s  a wealth of knowledge about how marketers should think about using technology in their business and I just really love chatting with him about the role of marketing and IT and how these groups play together or I guess maybe don’t play together. When I talk to other marketers, I often hear that same story that I’ve been in that situation about how frustrating it is to work with IT departments. So what do we do? We tend to ask for forgiveness rather than permission. And then sometimes we even think about how to actively get around IT and try not to involve them in projects that honestly they probably should be involved in. Now on the flip side, if I look at it from IT’s perspective, they’re feeling the same type of frustration, but for different reasons. They don’t love being the group that everyone the organization despises and a lot of times it’s not their fault. They have a lot of responsibilities that range from keeping up internal systems to doing all these specific projects for each of the internal stakeholders that they have. Now, I personally might be notorious for asking for forgiveness rather than permission so I can get things done and move fast, but I really want all of us as marketers to be more understanding for our IT colleagues and all of their challenges. At the end of the day we’re all on the same side. 

Now, let’s get to my favorite part of the show where we take the education and apply it to your business. There are so many great insights from my conversation with Scott that can really help transform how you think about mobile marketing and just marketing in general. Let’s dive into my top three takeaways. First, I need all of us to agree to stop posting pictures on LinkedIn of our tech stack or on presentations, stop people. And the reason why is we’re not providing context on how we’re actually using that software or why and so what I find is other marketer see a successful companies tech stack and then they immediately want to start emulating it and adopting each piece of technology, assuming that it will drive the same results as that successful company. But what they don’t see is what it takes to make that tech work for the business cause people aren’t sharing that information. So if we truly want to help out our fellow marketers then we need to share more about what we’re using. Why we’re using it. And how we’re using it. But only sharing the logos, what it does is it sends the  wrong message that the software is what makes our marketing successful when it’s really the strategy behind the how the software is being used along with the actual people implementing it. So let’s look at a personal example for me. One piece of software in my tech stack is Vidyard, and it’s been extremely helpful in account-based marketing efforts for Lumavate. If that’s all I share with other marketers, then they’re going to assume that if they implement Vidyard then they will see similar results. What they don’t realize is that Vidyard is how I bring my personalized video strategy to life and without that strategy and process in place I wouldn’t be seeing the same results that i do now. And trust me I get it. Sometimes you don’t want to share your secret sauce of how marketing is working at your company. It’s easier just to share a beautiful graphic of a ton of logos, and it can be seen as competitive edge that you have in your industry or it makes you unique as a marketer and if that’s the case then just don’t share anything. Which that means don’t post on LinkedIn an image of your tech stack and don’t include it in a presentation at the next Tech conference that you go to. It’s not helpful everyone. Now, if you really want to get back to your fellow marketers than take the time to truly share how tech is helping you achieve your business goals. You don’t have to share every piece of a tech stack that works and your strategy behind it. But pick one and share the details. This would be so much more helpful to other marketers than seeing another tech stack logo graphic in their newsfeed. 

Next, let’s talk marketing management. Has your company really transformed how marketing is managed in the last two or three years or even let’s say 5 to 10. So many companies out there today are still using the same management style for their marketing teams that they’ve been using for probably the last decade even though technology is completely changed the marketing landscape and it’s up to all of us regardless of whether or not you’re marketing leader or just an individual contributor to make sure we’re tweaking how we think about managing their marketing efforts to take advantage of these challenges and opportunities that technology brings us. So what do I mean by this?

For starters how fast can you actually move? And by fast I’m not thinking about something that takes 6 weeks to do I’m thinking can you come up with an idea on a Monday morning and have it launched by end of day or does that require numerous meetings, a project timeline… now people I’m not talking about the complex project like a website or something like that. I’m talking about something like spinning up a landing page or launching a new digital ad campaign. Now, if your answer is it takes me numerous meetings and a project timeline, it’s time to change. We live in a digital world where consumer behavior is constantly changing and technology has made it easier for us to quickly spin up things like digital ads, landing pages, email promotions, and more. So there is absolutely no reason why we shouldn’t be taking advantage of those tools to be able to execute initiatives faster and test out new ideas. For some companies a lot of people gravitate to the idea of agile marketing and it works really well for them. And if you’re not familiar with agile marketing it allows you to really plan out these two to three week sprints  based off of a lot of how development teams work where everyone on the team is focused on the same seven initiatives and trying to accomplish them from start to finish within a specific time frame and usually is that two or three week sprint. Now if committing to this type of approach sounds a bit scary and it’s too much of a big jump from where you’re at. Take a baby step, take one small project and I’m talking small and try to finish it in a single day. That means from the moment you start working on it to when it’s done, it takes less than a day. This is going to allow you to find opportunities to quickly test out new ideas and learn to fail fast.

And that’s going to bring me to my next topic which is really important of how we think about managing marketing moving forward. We all need to be okay with some level of failure. I’m not talking about like utter failure where everything goes off the rails completely. I’m talking about how it’s okay to test out a new idea and have it fail. We need our teams to know that we don’t expect perfection from them. We want them to try new things and move quickly and sometimes their swings aren’t going to be home runs and that’s okay. We need to create a culture of moving fast and its willingness to take risks. No great marketing campaign was ever born out of someone playing it safe.

Finally, Scott brought up a really interesting point about how the customer journey might actually be causing us not to deliver an effective an easy purchase process to our customers and let me tell you everyone it really got me thinking about what that means and the impact it could have our marketing strategy. Because honestly the more I think about it, he’s completely right. For years customer journey mapping was an extremely hot topic there was tons of presentations on it across almost every conference you would see both in marketing and customer experience. It’s a hot topic on LinkedIn and publications and almost every marketer I know was either actively doing it or talking about how they actually needed to do it. Now, I don’t know how many markers actually implement a customer journey mapping exercise cause they often are very overwhelming to tackle, especially if you’re a midsize or enterprise organization, but regardless customer journey mapping was all about the identifying of all these various touch points a customer might have with your brand and it’s the flow of how they would go honestly from one touch point to the next. And the end result would be a customer journey map that was designed in a variety of ways based on what made the most since for your business. I’ve seen them that are linear and in a circle and winding loop and other countless ways, right? That’s how it was presented visually. And so after you mapped out your customer journey you would identify ways to improve the process and it was all about making it easier to really to get from one touch point to the next. 

But the customer journey really isn’t that simple anymore. Take a look at the recent software buying example, I mentioned earlier. I didn’t even talk to the company until I was ready to buy and I wanted to skip right to pricing and order form. I just really wanted to find out how much does it cost and can you take my money. But it wasn’t that simple and I don’t think there’s a customer journey that actually has that path. And that’s why we need to start thinking about the customer journey and how it can’t maybe effectively mapped out today cuz it’s kind of like riding Space Mountain at Disney World for the first time. So if you’ve never rode Space Mountain you may notI get this reference, but it’s a roller coaster and you have no idea what’s coming and it’s in the dark so you literally can’t see what’s coming next and sometimes you have to go down a hill sometimes around a curve at the other times you are going up the hill again, and it’s

Kind of exciting and terrifying all at the same time and it’s our job as marketers to make sure that no matter what a customer does in their journey with our brand, we’re always making it easy and fast for them to make a purchase. And we are providing them with what they need to use a product immediately after their purchase. And maybe that’s how we should be thinking about the customer journey. Not necessarily as this list of touch points and how you get from one stage to the next but how do I make every aspect of my entire customer journey simple and easy to buy from me or simple and easy to engage with me. 

Now, here’s my mobile marketing challenge for the week. If you haven’t done it already, you need to make a list of all the tech that you’re using in your marketing efforts and categorize it based on whether or not it’s critical to your marketing strategies. So like Scott mentioned, is that 80% that’s really business-critical. Then you’re going to realize how large your tech stack actually is and whether or not there’s actually tech software on there that you don’t even use anymore. So this is a great time to get all of your contracts to figure out what you’re actually paying for. Now this is where the fun part comes in at least for me. If 20% of that tech stack currently isn’t comprised of technology that allows you to experiment with a new ideas and new ways of doing things for your business. It’s time to go find some. Which means it’s time to go shopping people. Now, you shouldn’t expect any of these new technologies that you find to drive an immediate business impact, right? We’re testing things out so we don’t know what’s going to happen. But what you can find is that some of them are going to be extremely valuable and at some point they’re probably going to become part of that 80% that’s critical to your business. So go out there have some fun shopping for some new tech. There There are some great products out there that I think could be really beneficial to a lot of organizations.

I’m Stephanie Cox and you’ve been listening to mobile matters. If you haven’t yet be sure to subscribe, rate, and review this podcast until then be sure to visit lumavate.com and subscribe to get more access to thought leaders best practices in all things mobile.