Apr 30, 2018


Original Article by Christopher Hansen for MarTech Advisor.

IgnitionOne’s Chief Product Officer, Christopher Hansen, explains how a goal-oriented approach, rather than a FOMO-induced tech buying spree, will be far more helpful to brand marketers and agencies in the long run

As our social media culture reaches a fever pitch, there’s a seemingly unending pressure to share, “like,” and voraciously consume every moment of the lives of our friends. Unsurprisingly, that can leave many with unwanted negative emotions and a fear of missing out, or FOMO.

But FOMO doesn’t just apply on a social media-focused consumer level. Marketers get caught up in FOMO emotions too, especially with technology adoption. As digital grows, marketers seem more focused on which technologies they’re missing, rather than thinking about their desired marketing outcomes and what tech will get them there. In their haste to get what’s new, marketers often forget to seriously consider why they need it.

This misguided fascination leads to multi-year commitments and a struggle to implement and extract value from these platforms across the organization. FOMO has driven marketers to pay monthly membership fees to a gym they never use. But they don’t need to join a gym, they need a personal trainer to guide them through the journey. To get past the FOMO and truly extract any value from ad- and mar-tech, marketers need to focus on their goals, rather than a technology checklist.

Don’t get caught up in acronym soup

Many of the leading research organizations and analysts, who we collectively watch like hawks, are feeding this deep-seated FOMO. These firms compile ratings of the best Three Letter Acronyms (TLAs) — CDPs, DMPs, DSPs and other platforms — leading marketers to feel that they need to license a technology in every category.

In this rush to license, marketers don’t build a cohesive marketing technology stack. Instead, they end up with a “Frankenstack” – a mess of solutions from different providers that don’t integrate. Very little consideration is made for why or how each solution will be used. For instance, the prospect of managing Point of Sale (POS) data in a DMP is compelling for omnichannel retailers, but once they realize that data can’t be used to engage with customers across all digital channels in real-time, they may find themselves feeling some serious buyer’s remorse. Just because a marketer has the tools to manage their data, that doesn’t mean they’re equipped to use that data to achieve their marketing goals.

Contrary to what marketers have been led to believe, ad- and mar-tech are less about management and more about extracting value from the most powerful data available – their first-party data. Marketers simply need the most valuable parts of planning and strategy in-house. If they don’t have a mastery of the nuts and bolts, then it makes sense to bring in consultants or partners.

Instead of buying everything in a FOMO-induced panic, marketers need to ask, “What marketing goals do we want to meet, and how can technology help us get there?” The focus needs to be less on the products themselves, and more on how data is leveraged to engage and convert their prospects and customers.

Finally, fear of missing the personalization boom

More important than chasing “cool tech” is creating an overarching strategy to reach customers in a personalizedway. It’s not about simply retargeting customers with some form of templated dynamic creative. It’s about using every data attribute available on that customer to engage and message across all channels, offline channels and in-store included. Marketers should care about missing out on personalization.

When caught up in the ad- and mar-tech hype bubble, marketers tend to lose sight of what is most important. They need to ask whether there is value in licensing any given product beyond just the promise of what it can deliver. If a technology can’t help achieve their explicit goals, they shouldn’t believe the hype. For those who don’t develop the discipline of identifying and investing based on real value, FOMO will quickly turn to FOI: Fear of Irrelevance.

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