Jonathan Edwards
Nov 12, 2018

Your most critical decision in martech

Don't get lost in the alphabet soup of marketing and advertising tech. Use this checklist to see if you're building the right technology solutions.

Your most critical decision in martech

There’s a saying about alligators and draining the swamp. There’s another about wood and trees.  Whatever your turn of phrase, it’s easy to get lost in the alphabet soup that is marketing technology (martech) and its not so distant cousin, advertising tech (adtech). Or the 'madtech' family, if you will. 

So how do you maintain perspective, when you read multiple articles promoting the merits of customer data platforms (CDPs), data management platforms (DMPs), or any another tool? How can you decide which technology is right for your organisation?

A focus on function, not form is crucial. Because technology isn’t a strategy. It is an enabler.

Brands should go through the checklist below to examine whether they can build a valuable view of their prospect or customer. If the technology solution(s) and the team which underpin it can tick these boxes for the foreseeable future, it is likely you are making the right choice.

  • You have a consistent data layer across your digital properties
  • You can unify and manage data to a persistent ID for anonymous and known profiles
  • You can implement rules and triggers based on the persistent ID
  • You can segment audiences based on the persistent ID
  • You can ingest data from, and push to, any platform (including non-marketing)
  • You can update data in near real time
  • Marketing ‘owns’ the platform to make decisions

There is no one best tech stack. Whether you subscribe to a vertically integrated SaaS (software as a service) model, prioritise technology interdependence to mix and match best in class products, or need to customise the technology to fit with a legacy ‘frankenstack’—it must be appropriate for your business. Ultimately, if you have the core functionality above, you can build the customer view that you need to deliver the customer experience you want.

It is important to note that the customer view you need may not be a complete customer view. For a given use case, it is unlikely you need to have all the possible data points that could be collated about a person. Rather you need to know what is relevant about that individual for the context in which you’re interacting with them. A 300-degree, rather than 360-degree, view is usually sufficient, because people are different personas at different times.

Those use cases then determine how you plug your customer view into advertising bid managers, personalisation and campaign management tools, sales and service software, data warehousing and reporting platforms.

So, don’t lose sleep over whether you need a CDP or DMP (the answer is probably both, but the functionality might come in joint or separate packages). Instead, write down your use cases and determine if you can build the customer view you need.  


Jonathan Edwards is regional head of data, analytics and operations with iProspect.

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