Just what you need: another acronym. Yet, I bet this one will resonate. It’s called MTFS and it stands for martech fatigue syndrome. Does this hit a nerve?
While I can’t take credit for the phrase — that belongs to David Raab — I do think it’s time to look at what is happening to the collision between marketing, technology and the marketer. As we consider the almost 7,000 distinct pieces of technology available to facilitate marketing, we must also recognize the impact of all that technology on the people using it.
I vividly remember the first marketing technology LUMAscape, a comprehensive visual representation that contained 150 technologies. I thought this was so exciting. By 2014, the number of technologies grew to 2,000, and that was mind-blowing. There was a real sense of excitement in the market based on the powerful promises of all this technology. By 2016, the number hit 3,500, and by 2017, the number was 5,000. At that point some of the excitement began to wear off as the volume of technologies and pace at which they were coming to market began to crush marketers. Finally, in 2018, the LUMAscape reached nearly 7,000 companies. How could anyone keep up with this tsunami of technology?
Some marketers are still very excited about all the possibilities this intricate martech landscape offers, but some are feeling fatigued by it all. Symptoms of MTFS are beginning to appear. I began to see marketers with this syndrome as early as last year, but it seems to be going viral in 2018. Marketers have a glazed and hopeless look in their eyes. They are skittish around martech vendors. They hide when they see their CMO coming down the hall because they think she might have an idea about a new piece of technology.
For the victims of MTFS, just trying to survive the tsunami of technology and expectations is grueling. The good news is there is a cure. Here are three ways to overcome this syndrome:
1. Put your head down and optimize what you have.
2. Develop a martech scanning capability.
3. Develop a martech vendor management program.
Put Your Head Down and Optimize What You Have
The first way you can cure MTFS is to realize that your world will not end if you don’t immediately know about and buy the latest toy. The martech landscape is like the weather; if you wait just a bit, it will change. In this martech article, only 9% of marketers reported optimizing their current martech stack. This leaves a lot of room for improvement! Taking the time to analyze and optimize your current state is essential. The productivity gains from these two actions can be enormous.
A simple way to begin to increase efficiency and effectiveness is to use all the features and functions in your current applications. Too often I see marketers with powerful systems who use them as doorstops. Another way to optimize what you have is to ensure that your marketers are fully trained in the use of core systems. Investing in training is a sure way to optimize your investments in systems and to improve performance.
Develop a Martech Scanning Capability
The average marketing team deploys around 22 different pieces of technology, and this is growing. It is important to develop an always-on martech scanning capability. If you don’t have a natural curiosity and desire to learn about various technologies, give this assignment to someone else on the team. There is so much published about martech today that anyone with a healthy curiosity can keep up at a scanning level. Finally, this scanning capability needs to be tied to the goals of marketing, which is tied to company goals. Otherwise, you can spend all your time just looking at options in the market.
Develop a Martech Vendor Management Program
One area of a marketer’s everyday life that is adding to MTFS is managing the sheer number of martech vendors. Added to this volume is the importance of achieving new marketing goals and the role technology plays. Some technologies are mission-critical. This is a lot to manage. In the world of IT, volumes have been written about how to manage vendors. It is a core discipline and includes how to negotiate, renegotiate, onboard, monitor performance and troubleshoot. In large marketing operations teams, there is one person almost fully dedicated to this discipline. To help alleviate MTFS symptoms, take an intentional approach to developing and running a vendor management program.
It was just a matter of time. With so many marketing technologies appearing on the market while responsibilities for the marketing team continue to grow, symptoms of fatigue were inevitable. If you are feeling any of the symptoms associated with MTFS, try applying some of these tried and true remedies. You have to keep yourself healthy in this crazy environment.
As previously published in AMA Marketing News 05/15/18.