The third report in our Marketing in the Dark series, Dark Martech, looks at the types of martech platform being used by companies, and how choice of setup impacts on the ability to get value from technology investment. The research, produced by Econsultancy in partnership with IBM Watson Marketing, is based on an extensive survey of more than 1,000 marketers.‘Dark martech’ is a term coined by analyst firm TBR’s Seth Ulinski, to describe this increasingly prevalent software that has been created internally.While it was not meant to be a pejorative term, there are challenges for organisations that are building martech solutions from scratch, in terms of both the efficacy of the platforms and the ability to integrate with other systems. The danger for marketers is that they end up with a chaotic approach to martech that causes headaches for their organisations.
The key findings of the report are as follows:
  • Dark martech is a growing phenomenon. Organisations need to be aware of the challenges they face if they are relying on fragmented and piecemeal technology that is not part of an integrated marketing stack, irrespective of whether they are using homegrown or third-party point solutions.
  • Companies with single-provider solutions are more likely to outperform. Companies we have identified as ‘leaders’– organisations where marketing teams outperformed against their top business goal over the last year – are two-and-ahalf times more likely than ‘mainstream’ companies to structure their marketing mostly around an integrated marketing cloud from a single provider.
  • Organisations need to consider total cost of ownership. The path to maximum profitability and efficiency lies in having the right martech solution for a business, not necessarily the cheapest one. Homegrown technology may save on licensing costs, but companies must consider the cost of internal resources and consultants tasked with maintaining and integrating these systems.
  • Technology needs to be an enabler for customer data integration, not a barrier.  More than a third (39%) of predominantly single-vendor companies can ‘thoroughly leverage’ customer data for automation of tasks required for personalised experiences, compared to only 2% of those that have a more piecemeal approach to martech.
  • Martech is about people… but a lack of staff with the right skills is a barrier to the success of marketing platforms. Two-thirds (64%) of companies believe they don’t have the skills or talent to make most use of marketing technology. The greatest martech challenge for companies is the lack of skills/people to utilise it properly, cited as a top-three barrier by 45% of both B2B and B2C respondents.