Enter Partner Ecosystems
Ensuring that the technology provider behind your platform has established partnerships with other service companies is also important because it shows the vendor is committed in providing maximum value for its clients, experts said.
Analysts said marketers should consider integration issues when standardizing on a primary platform, and they often do not. Additionally it is key for marketers to work in tandem with IT stakeholders and other customer-facing parts of the organization to help them navigate an incredibly complex landscape.
“There’s no one in the organization more well-equipped than IT to help stakeholders understand integration and overall implementation,” Ahuja noted.
Joe Stanhope, vice president and principal analyst at Forrester, said the good news is that major platform vendors actually do partner with one another and build options for integration because they know customers expect their systems to work together.
“Most martech vendors I work with understand they do not operate in a bubble and that integration and partnership are the name of the game today, even against a backdrop of competition,” he said.
Beyond this co-opetition, analysts said CMOs and CIOs should also evaluate a platform provider’s channel partner ecosystem and consider working with those companies to identify other valuable technologies for their stacks.
AI/ML For Real-Time Decisioning
Advanced targeting and personalization at scale isn’t possible without artificial intelligence (AI) or machine learning (ML) working behind the scenes to analyze all of the data and recommend what to do with it. With these types of capabilities, companies are able to personalize messages on an individual level–based on customers' interests, behaviors, past purchases, and other factors–even as they reach out to people en masse.
At the same time, analysts noted that AI can help organizations streamline and automate their marketing campaigns and optimize cross-channel communications as well as call center support.
“The reality is that in order to scale your customer experience management, you can no longer manage experiences manually,” Adobe’s Ahuja said.
AI helps with data volume, variety, and velocity, which is also what's driving the complexity in our world today, Ahuja said.
“The volume of data is going up, its velocity is more real-time, and it’s coming at you in different varieties,” he said. “Having an intelligence layer on top, or an AI/ML framework, is key to optimizing the experience going forward.”
Forrester’s Stanhope agreed, adding that AI and ML will become a necessary part of martech stacks as data complexity continues to expand.