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There’s no shortage of talk about marketing technology integration, but not too many marketers are walking the walk. For the majority of marketers, true integration is still an illusion.
According to a survey of marketers worldwide by the CMO Council and RedPoint Global in Q1 2017, only 3% of respondents said all of their automation, engagement and deployment tools are fully connected, with data, metrics and insights traveling freely between different technologies.
More than a third said that while there’s some connectivity between their marketing tools, gaps exist that require manual processes and integrations to combine tools and data sets.
Other marketers are even further away from effective integration. A quarter of respondents said there is little to no connectivity between systems. Data at these companies is brought together manually, either through spreadsheets or other offline tools.
Fifteen percent said that while newer solutions are connected, none of them connect to existing technology infrastructure.
Difficulties with integration are unsurprising considering how quickly the marketing tech stack has grown. The CMO/RedPoint study found that over the past five years, 42% of marketers have installed at least 10 marketing, data, analytics or customer engagement tools, and 9% have added more than 20 pieces of technology.
Many may expect to find relief from vendors that have built extensive, full-suite marketing clouds designed to help marketers consolidate systems, yet marketers reported that many vendors had yet to deliver on integration promises, leaving marketers to fend for themselves.
“Marketing clouds are being slammed by customers because marketers can now buy all their solutions from a single vendor, but what does that actually get them?” asked Brian Anderson, partner at Luma Partners, a bank best known for its Lumascape summaries of various technology spaces. “If marketers buy four products from one marketing cloud or buy four products from four different vendors, will it be any different? [It’s not clear] how much integration is actually occurring within these marketing clouds.”
Marketers are working to change the status quo, however. According to the CMO/RedPoint survey, 24% of respondents said they are working on a system to bring technologies together. That can mean a number of things, from implementing a tag management solution that ties software together at the coding level, or bringing on systems integrators that will connect disparate technologies.
Meanwhile, vendors continue to try and crack the code. “Nobody can do it now, [but eventually] we’re going to see vendors tackling integration within the marketing clouds and adding capabilities to their portfolios that will enable much better orchestration,” Anderson said.
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