Development is Part of Your Marketing Strategy

Marketing Technology (MarTech) is exploding. Don’t miss out.

Marketers are Driving IT

At Bear Group, we think a lot about marketing leaders. They make up most of our client base, and there is a fundamental shift at work inside the marketing field that we have had a front row seat to witness over the last 5 years.

Part of this shift has been a transition in budgeting, decision making, and implementation of technology projects from the IT team to the marketing team. Not until recently did it come to the point where even the CEO realizes that the website is never done, and a major piece of the marketing budget needs to be allocated to the roadmap and iteration required to maintain and grow marketing technology projects.

CMO’s will spend more on technology than CIO’s in 2017 was the prediction of Gartner Group back in 2012. A prediction that, claims is "becoming a reality".

Ask any marketer in the Puget Sound area where technology fits into marketing strategy, and it is center-stage. From Joanna Lord, formerly at Porch to Elissa Fink at Tableau—development and technology is a centerpiece of marketing these days. Every aspect of marketing is being informed by data, publishing tools, tracking, analytics, and testing—all influenced by the changes in consumer technology habits.

We started seeing MarTech in our business about five years ago. We were happily building websites over the Drupal CMS—clients started asking for integration between their websites and third-party marketing technologies like their CRM systems, as well as for email marketing tools, automation, analytics, sales enablement, tag management, and more. This in addition to asking for control over the website content.

For us, this has resulted in over 40% of our development time centering around marketing technology integrations. And has allowed us to focus our specialty at the intersections between the marketing tools and websites, working with the API’s that connect various marketing tools together.

What Changed?

The principles of marketing for the last 100 years have been largely the same—at least in the big picture. Marketers continue to define their brand, research, react to customer behavior, define messaging and brand strategy, manage products, research pricing and drive tactics that promote their product or service.

However, a few exogenous trends are having a big influence on the profession.

  • The internet, on both desktop and mobile, has changed customers habits substantially. They are not walking into your store or responding to direct mail they will find you and experience your brand online both on desktop and mobile.

  • Internet search and the supporting content it demands has become a powerful force for customers who are researching.

  • Cloud-based marketing tools across every niche imaginable are providing real insights and data that help to make quality decisions.

These changes have happened swiftly over the last 5-7 years, and that might have felt too fast for marketers whose background is not technology. Especially for those marketers who are perhaps in my age bracket (non-millennials) who went to school in the early 90’s before the current internet that are suddenly being asked to make the decisions on automated marketing tools, ad servers, or managing the team building a CMS.

Looking at a cross-section of Linkedin profiles of the marketers in our client base, we see a variety of education backgrounds. Many have writing, history, political science, art, psychology, liberal arts degrees - one medieval english and russian history major. Several have MBA’s and other professional degrees. Not one has an education in computer science or even more generally a Bachelor of Science.

It makes complete sense that marketing professionals emerged from a liberal arts background. So much of the marketing discipline requires a foundation in clear communication and creative presentation of new ideas. It is based on a deep understanding of human communication and psychology.

How Will You Drive Your MarTech Strategy?

So you are a marketer with a liberal arts background, but now find you are in charge of making large technology decisions—things that used to be controlled by IT or operations are now in your budget. You will be deciding on ad tech, SEO tools, CRM’s, analytics, email tech, content management systems. That means you need to scope, manage, build, integrate, secure and support very technical solutions that are a big part of mainstream marketing in every aspect. And building it is only the beginning.

That is a tall order, you need a marketing technology strategy.

Setting a MarTech strategy will be unique to your business, and since we are developers, we can help with aspects of that planning. I like to say we’re working in the intersections (the API’s) of marketing technology. We have intersected our clients websites—a foundational piece in your marketing—with over 80 marketing tools. From Salesforce to Marketo to Google Tag Manager to your in-house custom tools. If we had a super power… integration would be it.

We have a new section on our website devoted to our MarTech integration works. The MarTech landscape is big, and we do not profess to know the inner-workings of every tool out there. Our contribution is helping to assess the options, add an understanding of what they do. We know how API’s work and have the team to write the code needed to connect your marketing tools together to make development a vibrant part of your marketing strategy.