Top marketing executives deliver Tough Truths for MarTech sellers

by Emma Cheshire, Senior Account Executive

With nearly a third of CMO budgets allocated to marketing technology, Propeller invited three senior marketers with experience at high profile brands to share the challenges they face in navigating tech investments and to give advice to potential MarTech vendors at Advertising Week Europe.

The heavyweight panel, chaired by Propeller’s Director of Content, Branwell Johnson, featured Keith Moor, Chief Marketing Officer at Santander, Nick White, Online Director at Samsung UK and Kate Cox, until recently Chief Marketing Officer EMEA at GoDaddy.

Keith told an attentive audience: “Martech is oversold, but I don’t think it’s the fault of the vendors. I think they’re responding to demand from the marketer. The marketer is saying ‘I want all this stuff’, but they don’t actually know what they really want and that’s always the biggest problem.”

He added that it is the marketer’s responsibility to understand how the technology interacts with consumers, from the use of language to how the infrastructure works, before making an informed decision to invest.

Kate said that it was important to focus on hiring the right people to ensure that technology investments actually contributed to ROI: “I have tried to do it on the cheap, I’ve tried to retrain a designer or retrain an analyst in whatever the tech stack is and that never works. You need specialists, and data scientists are expensive and difficult to find, because it’s too niche.”

Nick pointed out that different businesses allocate ROI responsibilities in a variety of ways. Samsung is a sales-driven organisation and therefore he has direct ROI responsibility but when he served as Head of Marketing at the John Lewis Partnership, the business saw spend on MarTech as a collective, long-term strategic investment that would be carried out in tandem with other members of the team, such as the IT director.

Three key pieces of advice for martech vendors:

  • Building credibility is important and a marketer’s choice in choosing a vendor is almost always due to endorsements from previous usage, being included on a list or from an industry news source.
  • Don’t focus on expensive wining and dining invites to a CMO – nine times out of ten they’ll decline because of the guidelines issued around The Bribery Act 2010. Focus on traditional networking at events, LinkedIn or creating a network of recommendations.
  • When selling a product to a marketing specialist, consider how it will fit into the business’s working culture and wider goals. Tailoring each sales pitch in this way will increase the chances of a client win.