In today’s highly competitive mad-tech landscape, it takes a lot for martech companies to foster scalable business growth.
We speak to leading marketing, tech and ad experts and discover four key business lessons they’re now employing when looking to generate sustainable growth and win over customers.
1. Keeping laser-focused on the product and customer
Experts agree martech companies need to be laser focused on the product set they bring to market, as well as the customer base they’re going after.
AdRoll’s newly appointed president, Toby Gabriner says focus and seamless integration can help martech industries gain a stronger industry foothold
“Performance, service and product innovation have been the keys to our success and will continue to be core to our evolution,” AdRoll’s president, Toby Gabriner, told CMO.
Yahoo7’s head of brand and Advvy’s advisory board member, Anny Havercroft, stressed focus, resilience and plenty of good humour as key ingredients to building scalable business growth.
“Marketing communications is a dynamic industry and it takes discipline to concentrate on your own game plan,” she said. “It’s too easy to let the latest issues distract you from what you set out to do.”
In order to take advantage of advancements in media technology, Yahoo7 made the conscious effort to evolve from a traditional digital publishing business to an adtech powerhouse offering an alternative in the marketplace for brands seeking data-led premium content and smart technology solutions.
“There is a level of adaptability to the market conditions as the quarters roll by, however, the game plan should be for the longer term governed by the broader business vision and not market mayhem,” Havercroft said.
According to CEO of growth consultancy Penso, Con Frantzeskos, being truly successful and customer oriented means adopting a lean approach.
“Ship a product to market in minimum viable form, refine, test, learn, and optimise, then invest further in the areas that are working, and don’t invest in areas that aren’t,” he advised. “It makes for a far more refined, affordable and customer focused outcome.
“In every industry, the biggest disruptive competitors have come from outside the industry, focusing on the opportunity and customer first, and building in, rather than building out.”
Frantzeskos said having a forensic understanding of how your business makes money, and converting the competitive challenges/opportunities into quantifiable tasks that a computer can understand and solve, are also critical attributes.
“It’s all about getting the internal plumbing right first,” he said. “The rest is relatively straightforward. Even if the executions move at a fast pace, your business challenges are relatively constant, and that should be the focus.”
2. Recruiting the right talent
According to Havercroft, the advancement of marketing automation and machine learning platforms might have streamlined processes, but they actually mean we need more talent in marketing teams than ever before.
“There’s a common misconception that the adoption of technologies such as programmatic means humans are redundant,” she said. “Nothing can be further from the truth. While headcount and workload are re-calibrated, it is still necessary for people to run technology solutions and businesses effectively today.”
As an example, Havercroft claimed Yahoo7 has a great track record with BrightRoll, its programmatic platform, which have the highest people to technology ratio in the market when it comes to the company’s technical and sales support.
“We understand our clients expect a high level of personalised service so investing in great talent in programmatic has allowed us to deliver a better customer experience and campaign performance management,” she said.
Gabriner agreed, stressing one of the core foundations to building a successful martech company is having the right talent on-board.
“It’s about having smart people that work well together,” he said. “Over the past six months at AdRoll, I have had the opportunity to experience first-hand the depth of talent, the sizeable market opportunity and the myriad growth opportunities.”
3. Think ecosystem and overcome silos
Marketers are overloaded with adtech, martech and data technologies, Gabriner said, so it’s also important to think about how an offering can work within this cohesive ecosystem.
“There needs to be better connectivity and interoperability between various systems, and that will happen during consolidation efforts,” he commented. “If you look at some of the major players in the market, like Oracle, Adobe and Salesforce, they are accumulating a number of assets and bringing them together to make it easier for marketers.
“At AdRoll, it’s an area we’re thinking a lot about. We’re looking to simplify by bringing great products to market, but also through smart connections within CRM systems and integrating with the likes of Marketo in such a way that the data can flow back and forth seamlessly.”
Havercroft said a frictionless experience for marketers is necessary to succeed in the world of complex technology ecosystems and that means breaking down the proverbial ‘garden wall’.
“Marketing departments are increasingly aligning their martech stack to create a single-view of their customers,” she said. “Offering products that plug into marketers tech stack first or second-hand allows for seamless integration and what we strive for at Yahoo7.
“For instance, we have developed Gemini, our native solution and Brightroll DSP, our programmatic solution, to be readily integrated with the world’s leading martech data platforms so that marketers can execute an end-to-end strategy.”
CEO of customer journey and experience agency Datarati, Jarther Taylor, stresses you need to be clear on your projected outcomes and the tech will follow
4. Be clear on your market opportunity but experiment
Vendor representatives agreed many companies in the martech and adtech space have fallen by the wayside because they simply aren’t clear on their market opportunity, or have shied away from innovation.
“There has been an extraordinary growth in martech over the last few years, some studies say as much as 80 per cent year on year growth in suppliers,” Havas Media’s chief strategy officer, Imogen Hewitt, said. “This has forced a landslide of adoption amongst clients, but, having the technology and being able to successfully use and scale it are not the same thing.
“We see the best results coming from those marketers endeavouring to balance the innovation possibilities with the self discipline of ensuring that their experimentation is serving a customer need. Identifying ways to genuinely improve the customer experience, before launching headlong into initiatives just because you can, helps to make sure resources are well utilised and the focus exists to learn, adopt, adapt and scale.”
“Never stop experimenting to maintain product market fit,” Havercroft added. “It’s easy to play it safe and shy away from innovation but the industry needs freshness to evolve.”
At Yahoo7, the team spotted an opportunity given the growing importance of content marketing among marketers and started experimenting with content marketing solutions for advertisers.
“After months of experimentation and customer validation, we launched the first end-to-end content marketing solution, Storytellers, which gives brands a premium environment with known outcomes on their investment,” Havercroft said.
CEO of customer journey and experience agency Datarati, Jarther Taylor, said you should also be clear on what your company really wants to set out to achieve.
“I’m a big fan of the ‘Jobs To Be Done’ as a guiding principle: Figure out what the job is marketers need to get done,” he said. “The product itself will [and should] follow.
“You need to be clear on what you are trying to achieve and the technology will follow. A clear definition of the job based on customer insight will help.”