Agile marketers are better equipped to accomplish key martech initiatives [Gartner]

According to Gartner's most recent Marketing Technology Survey, marketers who adopted agile approaches not only made more progress on critical martech initiatives, they were more likely to overcome the challenges of 2020.
colleagues working together

Marketing teams faced a number of challenges last year, with many having to adopt new processes and technologies to address customer demands brought on by the pandemic. As digital transformation efforts became a top priority, McKinsey estimates digital commerce experienced ten years worth of growth in less than three-months time. A key indicator of whether or not marketing operations teams were able to meet the challenges of 2020 and reach their martech goals: The ability to adopt and maintain an agile approach.

“When we look at respondents who maintain agile roadmaps — roadmaps that flex to address emergent needs — we find that agile planners are better positioned to deliver the transformational impact needed for today’s challenges,” writes Gartner in its 2020 Marketing Technology Survey.

Agile marketers make an impact

Looking to see how marketing organizations adapted to the challenges of 2020, Gartner surveyed more than 4,300 marketing technology professionals from around the world between July and September, 2020. One of the key findings from the report showed the martech teams that embraced agile methodologies made more progress on key initiatives that improved the overall impact of marketing operations on the business as a whole.

Eighty-two percent of agile marketers were able to integrate different types of marketing technology based on their needs, while only 40% of marketers who had not adopted an agile approach were able to do the same. Not only were agile marketers more likely to introduce needed martech platforms, they were more likely to act on key initiatives like adding new functionality to existing technologies, adopt new technologies in response to market changes and modify processes to adapt to evolving market conditions.

Gartner: Agile Marketers Get More Done

(Image Credit: Gartner 2020 Marketing Technology Survey)

“Nearly two-thirds [of respondents] have added new marketing processes to adapt to new technologies in use,” reported Gartner, “This is a critical step to improving martech utilization and is the hard work of improving marketing maturity.”

Despite the benefits, marketers still slow to adopt an agile approach

While the marketing operations teams that adopt agile processes are seeing clear benefits, many are slow to embrace agility. According to Gartner’s findings, only 10% of the more than 4,300 marketing technology professionals surveyed reported they had adopted an agile planning approach for their martech roadmap.

Meanwhile, marketers report a number of struggles that could be alleviated with the right agile processes in place. For example, 23% of the marketers surveyed by Gartner reported cross-functional collaboration was an impediment to the effectiveness of their martech stack. Another 70% said they struggled to integrate the advanced capabilities of their martech stack into work processes.

“It’s apparent that organizations are generally more interested in results than process, but, to succeed, teams must value both: improving efficiency to reduce cost as well as improve agility, and ensuring effectiveness with a strong connection to business outcomes,” writes Gartner.

Teams that maintain agile processes are more likely to enable collaboration between teams and activate the full capabilities of their martech stack — the very challenges marketers report they are struggling to overcome. Gartner also reports that agility can have a positive impact on martech budgets: “An agile approach to martech can decrease the costs incurred from adapting to change.”

Agile teams are more likely to maximize their martech stack

Ultimately, the biggest win for agile marketing operations teams: They are more capable of optimizing the full potential of their martech stack. Gartner found that agile marketers struggled less with martech utilization than their peers whose martech roadmaps were considered less mature.

This is a major insight as 68% of Gartner’s respondents said they face challenges utilizing the full breadth of their marketing technology stacks. With nearly 60% of the respondents expecting to see budget cuts around their martech investments, marketers are going to need to do more with what they have. The obvious answer based on Gartner’s findings: Adopt more agile processes and institute agile platforms that enable more collaborative workflows.

“Incorporate new agile approaches in your martech planning and organization where possible and expand agile practices already in place to improve the efficiency of marketing technology teams and raise their ability to contribute to business impact,” recommends Gartner.

Agile technology platforms are a key instrument to adopting more agile processes. Not only do they enable streamlined workflows, effective marketing technology platforms accelerate campaign launches while reducing production cycle timelines. We’ve seen it happen with our own email creation platform. Our clients have reduced the time it takes to create an email by as much as 90% while at the same time significantly accelerating launch times as well as improving performance of their email programs. Gartner’s recommendations align with our own research that marketers who strive to adopt more agile approaches are better equipped to improve their marketing maturity levels when they introduce agile technology platforms to their martech stack.

If you’d like to see how the stensul agile email creation platform can help you … get in touch.