As our industry has grown, the analytics implementation for most organizations has expanded into a Digital Marketing Technology system of many different tools that must work together. A business-savvy and technologically strong team is necessary to design, create and maintain this complex, vital system.
It has been a little more than eight years since I moved from the IT department to the digital analytics team. The analytics manager, who I knew well from our days working together in IT, said he was in desperate need of an experienced technical hand. Having spent almost three decades in the IT world as a programmer and architect, I was excited about learning something new. So I said “yes” and made the jump.
I joined a team managing a large Adobe Analytics implementation on the company’s main website which was still known at the time as the “Omniture Team.” Six years later, when I left to join Evolytics
, we have become responsible for:
- Adobe Analytics
- Adobe Target
- Adobe Audience Manager
- Google Analytics
- Media tagging
- Performance monitoring
- And much more
All of this integrated with the systems and tools used by the IT development teams, our internal data science environment, the marketing and media teams and numerous outside partners. Our area of responsibility had grown to include multiple websites and mobile applications.The Responsibilities of Marketing Tech Teams Have Grown
You see, we weren’t “The Omniture Team” anymore. We were now the “Digital MarTech Tools Organization.” As a part of this growth, we had to reimagine what marketing technology was and its place in the organization. No longer were we collecting visitor and cart information for some weekly and monthly reports. Over time, this data had become central to the operations of the enterprise - both digital and overall.
Take a look at this next diagram. It is based on a web system I built a while back and gives an idea of all the systems that could be included in a modern enterprise MarTech stack.
All those logos aren’t just systems to integrate, but also significant investments by the organization. The Google box and the different media tags in the upper left drive advertising, search and social spending. Depending on the organization, this can mean seven, eight or nine figure budgets. The Adobe box includes analytics, but also testing and personalization, audience management and email communications. The outputs of the data science models developed down in the lower right impact the decision-making at all levels of the enterprise.
Getting the right data to the right places - and in a timely and accurate manner - is the job of your MarTech team. Marketing Tech, With an Emphasis on the “Tech”
As it turns out, my manager friend was quite prescient in recognizing the need for experienced technical people on his staff. The needs of enterprises today require a MarTech team that is technically capable as well as being able to communicate with the business and marketing groups they support.
And, yes, I fully understand that can be a difficult combination to find.
As an example, let’s take a look at the green box from the diagram. This is the user’s web browser and the code that runs there. Central to a successful MarTech implementation is a well thought out data layer (if you are unfamiliar with what a data layer is, take a few minutes to read my blog post
on the subject).
You can be sure that many of the destinations in the rest of the diagram are going to want to know, for example, when a product is sold on your site. Each of them will have their own way to send the data to them, and some will want information the others do not. But, in the end, you want to be sure that each one gets the same product sku, quantity, price, etc. Sourcing this information from a common data layer ensures the needed consistency.
Using a tag management system (TMS) such as Adobe Launch, Google Tag Manager or Tealium IQ on your website can make firing the right tags with the right data at the right time easier. But it still requires the same level of care and planning that was put into the creation of the data layer to make sure it is done correctly and efficiently. As the implementation grows, good design and adherence to standards is vital to performance and maintainability.
Modern MarTech implementations extend beyond the browser or app. Data flows between systems offline. For example, the data you send to Adobe Analytics can flow into Audience Manager and also to your in-house data lake. The data lake information is used by your data scientists to make predictions on how to best service your customers. That information is combined with data from your CRM system and sent back to Audience Manager, where it creates audience segments used in advertising and on-site personalization.
When designing your data layer, getting it populated and distributing that information, all of these interactions and integrations of downstream systems need to be taken into account. This is because…Marketing Tech is Not a Collection of Tools. It is an Integrated System.
You don’t have an analytics tool, an A/B test tool, a survey provider and a few media tags. You have an integrated and interdependent system of solutions and services that should all work together to make your digital business successful. And while the tools provided by a single vendor might “play well” together, it is usually up to your MarTech team to bring all these different solutions together into a single integrated system.
Even if the different tools are managed by different groups in your organization, it is vital that they be treated as a whole. Whether this is done by your internal resources, a trusted partner like Evolytics
or a combination of the two, an approach that combines business and marketing understanding with technical savvy will go a long way towards achieving your goals.@Jim Bradley is a Digital MarTech Architect on the Analytics Development team at Evolytics and would like to remind you that good design can solve problems you didn't know you were going to have. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.#DigitalMarketing