“Marketing Solutions” Aren’t Enough To Get Everything Done


With all the so-called technology innovation of late, it’s seems that the more data and tools we have, the less productive we’ve become.  The problem boils down to an inability to easily access relevant data quickly and autonomously, and this is cutting into productivity.

Addressing this issue has long been bandied about by vendors touting their abilities to easily integrate legacy data with real-time information. The reality is that it’s not easy to build a platform that is reconfigurable, flexible, and removes the behind-the-scenes complexity with a simple “Lego-like” approach. Here are two common scenarios.

Scenario 1: In the first one, marketing maps out a multi-channel campaign and taps into IT and/or a data scientist to pull slices of data and validate some hunches about the target audience. This usually happens in two phases, the planning and the post mortem. It doesn’t typically account for any subtle or sweeping changes that happen during the campaign. By the time you realize you need to take action, you have to go back to the data scientist or IT to get more information to rejigger the campaign strategy.

Scenario 2: The second most common scenario is the use of a customized marketing dashboard and data stack to manage and execute campaigns. This is the preferred approach and explains the rising investments in martech. Where it goes awry, however, is when there are too many tools and cooks in the kitchen running various campaigns across different channels, each with its own set of strategies and goals. Some of those tools might work together, some might not, some might require the expertise of a particular team member. The end result is a marketing hodgepodge of solutions that are cobbled together.   

In both of these scenarios, marketers become more dependent on third parties to do their job, therefore cutting into productivity and their ability to quickly respond to market or customer shifts.

If you give marketers the right product that easily integrates various marketing tools and channels, you can eliminate those dependencies. This, of course, is not an entirely new challenge or goal. Yet it remains at the top of the agenda for marketers across the board. Why hasn’t it been solved?

One of the chief reasons is that the “solution” doesn’t always begin with the customer experience. Sure, every marketer and martech vendor touts customer experience as a priority yet translating customer needs into what ultimately becomes the technology platform and interface isn’t always easy.

Mastering customer experience comes down to understanding the psychology of the customer and mapping it to the product flow.  But then there are as many experiences as there are different types of customers.

Beta testing and focus groups can help shape the product flow, and they often lead with a blueprint for the product.  User feedback often comes after the fact. Instead, the user feedback should lead the product flow and it should be based on real world scenarios, not scripted questions.

This is why in the early days of ActionIQ, we built products with user feedback leading the way.   That feedback process included identifying all of the possible solutions that were currently in the market and those that needed to be tailored to address the customer’s unique challenges. This best-of-breed approach was built first and foremost with our customers and their customers in mind.

Arguably, this customer-feedback-first approach can be time consuming and costly. However, by tackling the customer’s unique challenges, we began to see commonalities and identify pain points that could be applied to a broader audience or market segment. This data can shed light on demographic and behavioral segmentation as well. Taking those learnings and building them into the product flow led to a platform that understands the specific needs of marketers yet offers enough flexibility for integration of external tools or systems.

As mentioned at the beginning I like to think of this as a simple “Lego-like”  approach where you have the foundation to design and build what you need, break it down, reconfigure it, and start all over again. The user interface is so intuitive that anybody can easily pick it up and put the pieces together to suit their specific needs. This eliminates dependencies and fosters collaboration, which ultimately drives more successful marketing campaigns.


Justin DeBrabant
Justin DeBrabant
Senior Vice President, Product
Justin spent his formative years building large distributed systems to support data science and analytics. Justin holds a Ph.D. from Brown University where he researched scaling high-throughput in-memory database systems to support larger-than-memory datasets.
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