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Marketers have been leveraging technology for years. But the growing number of adtech and martech solutions available to CMOs has created new demands on budgets, staffing, training, and time. Weighing which new innovations to add to existing marketing technology stacks means identifying those that will drive the best results for the business.

To navigate the ever-evolving and expanding technology ecosystem, CMOs should harness these six principles:

Understand The Differences between Adtech And Martech

While adtech and martech are essential tools for any business, each serves a distinct purpose. Martech is primarily used to target known or existing customers, while adtech looks to reach anonymous audiences. The two converge when valuable interaction and audience data from core systems, like customer relationship management and marketing automation software, feed into programs such as email, search engine marketing, and display advertising. The challenge for CMOs is unifying all of this disparate data in order to generate actionable insights that can be used to inform and improve marketing programs.

Drive Success With Data Agility

Getting actionable insights requires sophisticated data aggregation techniques or working with a partner to collect and de-duplicate disparate performance, cost, and audience data into a single repository. Consolidating this data enables marketers to gain a holistic view of the consumer journey. More importantly, it can help marketers discover how their marketing and advertising is influencing desired actions and business outcomes, so they can optimize accordingly.

Test And Verify For Best Fit

Every marketing organization faces its own unique set of challenges, requiring CMOs to build a flexible tech stack that meets their specific needs. It’s not about simply ‘tweaking’ the core but adding new technologies that enhance collaboration and facilitate interactions with customers and prospects at every stage of their journey. To determine the best fit, CMOs should pilot new software prior to full-scale implementation. Looking for short free or paid pilot programs will provide the time needed to assess a platform’s usefulness and compatibility with the existing stack before committing.

Factor in ROI

ROI should be a core consideration when evaluating any technology investment. CMOs need to determine whether the new software will act as an accelerator toward team goals, or if it will be just another platform to manage and maintain. Furthermore, while technology can help organizations better achieve the scale they need, CMOs need to factor in team size and structure to ensure they have the right people and resources required to support an implementation.

Take Advantage Of AI And ML

When evaluating new technology, CMOs should ensure that vendors have artificial intelligence and machine learning in their product roadmaps. AI and ML can identify and draw insights from big data on a scale that humans can’t match. Leveraging AI and ML’s ability to think and act quicker, marketers can harvest the real-time data they need to respond to changing consumer behaviors and quickly capitalize on optimization opportunities.

Pursue a People-Based Approach

Ultimately, the goal of adtech and martech is to help marketers reach the right person, with the right message, at the right place and time. Also known as people-based marketing, this approach requires the ability to identify individuals across multiple channels and devices. But in today’s mobile-centric world, marketers can no longer rely on cookies to tell the entire story of a consumer or their journey to conversion. Adopting a people-based approach means looking for technology that can accurately identify who individual consumers are, what they are like, and how they behave – no matter what device they use to interact with a brand. Only then can marketers unify a customer’s experience and tailor it to their needs and expectations, while optimizing spend and campaign effectiveness.

Each year, new tech implementation gets substantially more demanding. Harnessing the possibilities of martech and adtech innovation requires guts, insight, and a fair amount of tech-savvy. By embracing these six practices, CMOs can get the most out of the expanding technology ecosystem.