How do you build a modern marketing tech stack for cross-channel and cross-platform marketing? A good start might be emulating some of the best practices of top marketers from Instacart, Match.com, HER, and Riot Games.
But don’t expect it to be easy.
Finding the right solutions is tough.
“The martech landscape has grown over 40% year over year,” Tim Hsu, head of growth for Riot Games, said recently at Singular’s UNIFY conference. “The 2018 version of the martech landscape came out in April … in 2011 there were 150 solutions.”
“In 2018 there are 6,800 solutions by 6,200 providers in over 48 categories,” he added. “That is really complex.”
Adding to the challenge are all the new telemetry points you can track as a brand.
IoT adds data from internet-connected fridges, smart door locks, and app-controlled lighting. OTT movies and shows add data from providers like Hulu, Netflix, Apple TV, and Chrome TV … and the emerging ad networks that advertise here. Add it all up and you’re dealing with billion of additional data points even compared to marketing five years ago, Hsu pointed out.
And that’s not even mentioning new avenues marketers are exploring: Alexa skills and Google Actions, augmented reality and mixed reality, plus the whole messaging explosion via Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, SMS, and other platforms.
James Peng dealt with those challenges at Match, one of the biggest dating services on the planet.
“Match is a two-decade old business … they kind of piled on the marketing stack,” he explained. “My job was to adapt to mobile … how to consolidate all the data from all the sources was challenging.”
As a company with its roots in the dot-com explosion, Match was initially web-based. Making that mobile was the right way to go, but trying to report on cross-platform marketing data — web and mobile data together in a simple, normalized, usable fashion — was challenging, to say the least.
But executives need a single source of truth to sum up overall performance.
For Match, Peng decided Singular was the right solution.
“Singular … was a way to attack that entire structure and allow reporting across all the platforms in a linear fashion,” Peng said. “Singular was a core solution for reporting and replaced the need for the same solution on the desktop side … the solution actually solved for web also as well as mobile at the same time. That was a nice plus.”
One big benefit?
Having your attribution provider and your overall marketing analytics reporting together reduces your need to standardize events, and pre-emptively avoids many of the complications and discrepancies that otherwise marketers have to solve with BI staff or data science experts.
It’s an even tougher challenge for Noa Gutterman, who is the head of growth marketing for HER. Gutterman’s data requirements include meetups and other live events.
“We use 10 to 15 solutions at any given time … we spend most of our money on Google and Facebook, but look hard for non-traditional sources,” Gutterman said. “Assessing metrics from live events is a big struggle … the data we were missing was data from the ticketing platform.”
For Guillaume McIntyre, the head of digital marketing for Instacart, the way to find the right marketing technology solution is in the wisdom of crowds … as long as those crowds are composed of smart marketers.
“You have to be very curious and open-minded to assess new solutions. But you can’t just talk to new vendors all the time, or that’s all you’ll be doing every day,” he said at Unify. “I’ll try to talk to smart people, and if they all mention one solution, I’ll investigate it.”
For Instacart, it’s also all about prioritization.
“As soon as you bring in all the sources, the complexity increases significantly,” McIntyre said. “We really prioritize what data what we need.”
Managing complexity is a massive component of digital marketing success today, especially for cross-platform marketing.
Without organization, marketers drown in data. With consolidation and normalization, marketers make smart real-time data-driven decisions that boost performance and turbo-charge ROI.
“I was an early customer of Singular when I was at Twitter,” Hsu said. “We were using two dozen supply sources … so the data explosion that Gadi talked about was very real for us. The reason we partnered with Singular is that I had my data science pod doing the work initially … and it’s the opportunity cost of what they could be doing otherwise. Partnering with a platform that has done the data integrations and has done the sanitization is a pretty big deal.”
That’s true for both “traditional” customer acquisition and, on mobile, user acquisition.