By now, Marie Kondo, the ubiquitous author and star of Netflix fame, has inspired you to re-examine your home and possessions through her pseudo-mysticism inspired habits and tools. As a home organization consultant, she has transformed hundreds homes into zen energized bastions of utility; but, could her methods do the same for the “home” that is your organization’s marketing technology (MarTech) stack and Marketing Cloud solutions?
“The act of cluttering is really an instinctive reflex that draws our attention away from the heart of an issue.”¹
In Season 1 of the reality television masterpiece that is Tidying up with Marie Kondo, Ms. Kondo coaxes Mario to declutter and prepare for the arrival of his new baby by helping him to “thank” and “say goodbye” to the deluge of sneakers overflowing from his bedroom closet².
Mario’s influx of sneakers has long since nullified the usefulness of his closet, and a similar inundation of MarTech tools can have same effect on your organization. Like Mario’s sneakers, many MarTech tools have overlapping capabilities, which can quickly become overwhelming. Selecting the right tool for meeting the day’s marketing objective becomes a chore.
Adding “just one more” tool from the list of 6,829³ MarTech tools (and counting) is an understandable temptation. The latest product launches showcase fantastic new features and are accompanied by great fanfare. It’s easy to see how organizations can accumulate collections of redundant tools – we’re all guilty of being wooed by the slick sales pitch or story at one time or another.
Uncertainty and confusion aside, binging on MarTech can quickly have consequences to your budget. For example, several of my financial and high-tech clients have made major investment in three or more MarTech suites over several years, and none of the legacy suites have been retired.
“One of the magical effects of tidying is confidence in your decision-making capacity.”¹
What would Marie Kondo say to the promise offered by the new suite of Marketing Cloud solutions? MarTech vendors offer to reduce costs, simplify integration and time to value; all this, for simply migrating and consolidating on a single platform. How could the Japanese organization guru object to that?
And perhaps none of us will – in the future. Today, the Marketing Cloud is continuing to evolve as new capabilities are added and acquisitions are absorbed. It’s no secret that many of the leading Marketing Clouds (and accompanying on-premise tech) are made up of acquired solutions, which will take time to be fully integrated. Below are examples of acquisitions from three leading vendors:
This consolidation strategy is something that customers are amicable to, yet the benefits remain largely unrealized – for now. In a recent Forrester report, 60% of customers surveyed agreed that they were looking to reduce their MarTech vendors, yet as little as 21% of customers had realized some of the expected benefits such as a holistic understanding of the customer⁴.
What would Ms. Kondo suggest? A prayer to bless the hard-at-work integration developers? Perhaps. Yet, stepping back to reflect on Ms. Kondo’s methods, it is often the personal relationships in each household that she touches that has the biggest impact – not the movement or discarding of things (or, in our case, MarTech tools).
“…a person’s awareness and perspective on his or her own lifestyle are far more important than any skill at sorting, storing, or whatever”¹
The gravity of personal relationships in Ms. Kondo’s series is apparent in as early as the first episode, when she helps Rachel and Kevin in Tidying with Toddlers. The true metamorphosis is how the couple improves how they operate and functions together as a team, as opposed to the false panacea of upright-tri-folded sweaters.
Perhaps Ms. Kondo’s best known maxim is “Does this spark joy? If it does, keep it. If not, dispose of it”. While this adage may be infallible in the world of home organization, briskly discarding marketing solutions is unlikely to bring you closer to the capabilities you need. A more fruitful path forward lies in reevaluating, nurturing and expanding your relationships with the internal and external teams supporting your tools.
When pursuing new marketing initiatives, invariably you are forced to balance between maintaining business as usual (BAU) activities and rolling out new capabilities. Your local internal team is close to your business leaders and is uniquely positioned to be at the forefront of innovation. This takes time and focused energy, which is why you should consider what relationships with external partners could offload these valuable resources by offering BAU support.
Pursuing or renewing relationships with partners is one way of helping to overcome a limitation with all major Marketing Cloud solutions: they are industry agnostic or one-size-fits-all. Experienced partners offer pre-defined sector-specific data models, which can be expanded and tailored to grow with your business. Pre-defined models and interactions allow you to accelerate your capabilities and reduce time-to-value quicker than you could on your own.
² Tidying Up with Marie Kondo, Netflix, S1E4, “Making Room for Baby”
³ ChiefMarTec.com https://chiefmartec.com/2018/04/marketing-technology-landscape-supergraphic-2018/
⁴ “Marketing Cloud Falls Short On Expectations: Marketing Cloud Users Supplement Gaps With Best-Of-Breed Solutions” – Forrester, December 2017