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Breaking free from the maze – insight into B2B Marketing event ‘Get Stacked’

Finding yourself in a minefield in the middle of a maze doesn’t sound like an ideal situation for anybody. But that’s exactly where today’s marketers are – metaphorically speaking, of course – according to Joel Harrison, Editor-in-Chief of B2B Marketing. That’s why he and his colleagues launched the title’s ‘Get Stacked’ event, aimed at helping attendees make sense of the increasingly complex martech landscape.

Anyone with even an ounce of experience in B2B marketing will be familiar with Scott Brinker’s annual Marketing Technology Landscape super-graphic, the latest version of which boasts a somewhat absurd 6,829 vendors. You needn’t view anything else to understand exactly what Joel means – with so many shiny new tools out there, how do marketers avoid the mines to build a truly valuable and change-enabling tech stack?

The Get Stacked morning keynotes, led by martech analyst Jay Famico and Redstor CMO Gareth Case, made the very valid point that it’s impossible to fully understand the martech vendor environment. So rather than be drawn in by vendors who are very good at promising the earth (they do specialise in marketing, after all), the best approach is to take an internal view and assess your own needs before venturing out to build a tech stack:

  • What do you currently have and is it working?
  • What do your key stakeholders want – strong ROI, better customer insights, stronger sales alignment?
  • What do your customers want?
  • How will you measure success?

Once you’ve answered these, you can more clearly assess the solutions on offer. Another nugget, shared by Think Direct’s Shane Redding, is to ask your potential vendor for a diagram of their own tech stack. Marketo, for example, employs another 30+ tools alongside using its own suite. What better proof of concept than another martech vendor proactively and successfully using the product?

The conference also showcased a myriad of solutions which clearly prove technology’s integral role in marketing. Growing value is being placed on the marketing function within businesses, due to the transformation CMOs and their teams can now instigate through this tech. B2B Marketing unveiled new research to support this, revealing that 67% of marketers are looking to increase their martech budget, despite the fact that only 56% are happy with their overall tech stack.

Such a clear discrepancy only goes to highlight the challenge laid out at the start of this blog. Yet under the evermore watchful eye of the board, there is no longer any scope for error in determining how these budgets are spent, nor in justifying the results they may or may not achieve.