MarTech and the Customer Journey: Making the Shift Happen


Written by Debbie Qaqish

December 7, 2018

In our webinar on MarTech and customer centricity, we conducted a poll to see how many of our participants had re-architecting their MarTech stack based on a customer-centric approach as a major initiative. 60% of our participants said Yes and 40% said Maybe.

Peer sourcing – learning from each other – is important at TPG. That’s one of the reasons why we conduct a poll during every one of our webinars. The results of this poll show that the MarTech stack is a prime opportunity to engage with your customers. The question is how can you shift your tech stack so that it becomes customer-centric?

Everything we know about doing it right came from Steve Jobs at Apple. Steve Jobs said, “You’ve got to start with the experience and work back toward the technology, not the other way around.” Take this as a guiding principle when you look at operationalizing your MarTech stack for customer centricity.

For example, here’s a picture of a typical MarTech stack:

This is a typical picture for most companies. It’s useful, but it is clearly product focused – not customer focused.

Related: Our MarTech consulting services

One of the most exciting things about where we are in marketing operations today is that you are in a position to take a leadership role in your company. You can lead customer centricity in your company by re-visualizing your MarTech stack.

Here’s a future state version of a MarTech stack with the customer as the central focus instead of the product:

As you can see, the customer journey (the infinity loop in the center) takes center stage. The MarTech stack is then aligned around the customer journey. Each piece of technology has a purpose related to customer centricity.

Marketing Operations can show the company how technology relates to the customer journey. You’re not just buying tech for point solutions anymore. You’re buying tech that specific relates to solving customer problems.

In order to know where you need to go, you first need to understand where you are. This is where the Marketing Operations Maturity Model comes into play.

Marketing Operations Maturity Model – You’re strategic once you focus on the customer.

In the Efficient stage of the MO Maturity Model, marketing operations is not yet a dedicated function. In fact, there are still siloes in marketing, there is no customer journey, and MarTech is focused on point solutions.

In the Effective stage marketing operations has become a dedicated function. There is cohesion in marketing, but there still is no customer journey. There are customer insights, but marketing is still focused on acquisition, and the tech stack is still focused on point solutions.

In the customer centric stage of the Marketing Operations Maturity Model, the marketing operations function has become strategic. It is a dedicated function and cross-functional. There is a customer journey and it is operationalized. Customer insights are provided for all functions. MarTech is seen through a customer lens instead of point solutions, and everything is tied to the company initiative which is customer centricity.

In the next generation stage, your MarTech stack has been restructured around a customer focus. Marketing operations is a dedicated/restructured function and cross-functional. Customer centricity is the golden thread that ties everything together. Everything about your MarTech stack is tied to customer centricity.

There are 4 steps to shifting from A to C – that is from Anonymous to Customer – and getting a seat at the table. And the first and most essential step is ensuring executive advocacy and counsel alignment. You must have a mandate and extreme advocacy from executives or you will not get anywhere with this plan.

Then you have to operationalize the customer journey. You can’t operationalize a bad process, so take the time to validate your customer journey with actual customers. It doesn’t make sense to operationalize a process that doesn’t work. You have to work with a true customer map.

If your CEO is serious about the shift to customer centricity, one of the best things you can do is put together a customer centricity counsel. Draft your future MarTech state based on the customer categories that arise from your customer journey map.

Next, conduct an inventory. This will help you create a future state stack. Cross-functional collaboration is important here. You want to identify gaps and overlaps. This inventory will help you create your future state MarTech stack with specific technologies. It will also help you operationalize the customer journey.

Finally, create a transition plan. Consider the resources you need, skills you will require, your capacity and your budget. Determine what kind of cross-functional collaboration will be necessary. Institute a customer insights team. And develop and track KPIs.

According to Debbie Qaqish, it’s very important to remember that “The highest level value that you can bring to your organization besides revenue are customer insights that people can use to make business decisions.” You need to think well beyond just what tech you need. You need to put the customer at the center of every conversation.

If you’d like to listen to the complete recording of the webinar, click here! And download the PPT deck here. Stay tuned for more webinars in the future. There’s always something going on at The Pedowitz Group.

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