“Get Stacked” Martech Conference wrap-up, part 1 (of 2): Optimizing ROI from your martech investment

By Chuck Leddy

Held annually in London, this year’s “Get Stacked 2020: The B2B Marketing Martech Conference,” organized by our friends at B2B Marketing, transitioned from a live event to a virtual event due to COVID-19. The two-day online gathering (April 22 and 23) was filled with several important keynote speeches and sessions intended to help B2B marketers work smarter. As always, Sojourn Solutions was in attendance (virtually): we wanted to share some of the event’s important, actionable insights with you. This post, and a second “wrap-up” post to follow, will summarize some of the key takeaways from Get Stacked 2020.

Orienting to a new, virtual world:
Get Stacked began with a very useful video about how the virtual conference (and platform) would work, what digital would be available to access the content, and more. As Sojourn Account Director and conference attendee Charlotte Currie explains the initial orientation session, “the virtual event and technology are new and mistakes can be made: videos can disconnect and hosts can be nervous. All of this just adds to my respect for the organizers and participants who are here to make this new virtual event work.”

Keynote speech: How is marketing’s technology stacking up? It’s the Process That Counts” by Peter O’Neill, Lead Analyst, B2B Marketing:
O’Neill’s keynote was based around this B2B Marketing report that surveyed 300 senior marketers about their martech investment and development plans. Here are the report’s findings, as detailed by O’Neill:

  • B2B marketing departments are spending more on technology than any other department in their company. A full 25% of marketing spend is now dedicated to martech. 
  • While marketers had a fairly free reign in the past, they are now being asked by the C-suite to justify their spend. As Sojourn attendee Currie notes: “We’ve certainly noticed this trend Peter references with our clients. It’s the reason we include “spend justification” in every statement of work (SOW) we write. When needed, we’ll also help support  or write business cases for IT.” 
  • Only 13% of senior marketers say their martech stack is good for current and future use (87% of them say it’s not good).
  • 29% admit to having a poor marketing stack that needs expansion and modernization.
  • Many martech vendors aren’t skilled at achieving marketing’s real challenges on delivering ROI and justifying spend. As Currie notes, “Sojourn always provides a neutral, client-first stance when we’re suggesting any martech. We don’t care what vendors want, but instead look at and prioritize what the client needs. We provide our clients with vendor-agnostic pros and cons and then recommend the martech vendor we think best serves our client’s success.”

How did the surveyed senior marketers purchase martech that’s NOT serving their needs? O’Neill’s findings:

  • Binge buying – processes for purchasing and integrating martech were not thought-out beforehand, leading to impulse buys based on the latest trends and short-term, immediate needs.
  • Rampant SaaS subscribing to address siloed marketing processes.
  • Allowing vendors to diagnose problems and following their (financially-biased) prescriptions blindly. As Sojourn’s Charlotte Currie explains, “There should be clear objectives and a careful needs analysis performed before any martech is purchased. Planning is essential, and so is a well-considered approach to  adoption. Training and continued support is required, as is measuring your objectives to ensure you are achieving the right results.” Buying martech without these prerequisites simply leads to waste of time and money.
  • 68% of senior marketers will spend more in the next 12 months. “To me, this shows that martech will continue to grow and that a strategic approach is essential,” says Currie. “You need to audit what tech you currently have and perhaps be ruthless if something is not working. Don’t get the next new thing to solve one of your problems if the support is not there, as this will just introduce even more problems.” 

Session: “Personalization in B2B and why relevance is so important.”
The customer or prospect must share data to enable true personalization, this session emphasized. Because of this, there’s often a waiting game as marketers build up the data needed to deliver true personalization. For instance, websites use cookies and wait for prospects to interact with content. “As marketers,” says Currie, “ we need to ensure that our content is engaging and getting our contacts to convert. Ideally, we want to convert these contacts into ‘known’ contacts so that we can personalize the messaging moving forward.”

As this session explained, Gartner defines 2 types of personalization:

  1. ‘Recognize me’ – you know the customer’s name, an event they went to, the content they’ve downloaded, what’s important to them. Images, copy and content are personalized.
  2. ‘Help me through the buying journey’ – the company makes it easy for the customer to get through to the purchase, gain the relevant info, while reassuring customers on their decision, teaching them something new about products and services, directing them to solve a problem, and rewarding them with benefits exclusive to what the company knows about them. Gartner says “Help me . . .” is the more powerful type of personalization, with a 16% increase in overall commercial benefit.

As Charlotte Currie comments, “one of the hardest components of personalization is having enough content or having high value content that will engage customers. You need valuable content to build out the data you collect on someone and clients don’t always have this. Once you get someone engaged on your site, how do you get them to convert? This is the second biggest issue. If they don’t convert, then you’re not getting enough information to fuel personalization through the funnel.”

Final “Get Stacked” insights from Sojourn attendee Charlotte Currie:

  • “Look at your current martech and analyze how you can get more out of what you’ve already got. Take the opportunity to stop using what is not working.” Sometimes you need to stop and slow down in order to speed up, a point made by “Get Stacked” presenter Chris Boorman of Forcepoint.
  • “There is so much opportunity with all the martech now available, but don’t believe all the hype from the 7000 + vendors out there. Get impartial advice, think clearly about the needs and desires of your business and ensure you have clear use cases to back up any potential investment.” 
  • “Be innovative and try new things. Test things and learn from your mistakes and actions.”

If you’d like to learn more about the actionable insights and takeaways from the “Get Stacked 2020” virtual conference, and how to implement them at your company, please reach out to us here.