Is Your Martech Accelerating Productivity or Slowing it Down?

Stensul CEO and founder Noah Dinkin weighs in on Workfront's Global Marketing Report.

Is Your Martech Accelerating Productivity or Slowing it Down?

Workfront recently released their 2020 Global Marketing Report, which found that marketers are forced to spend most of their time on tedious admin tasks and use disparate technology systems instead of focusing on high-value, creative work. Noah explains why integrated martech solutions are central to alleviating marketers’ frustrations and enabling strategic work. 

Stensul  integrates with Workfront to enable teams to quickly and easily manage the email asset review and approval process. Stensul is a Workfront ISV partner.

75% of marketers report being frustrated by ineffective platforms.

The martech landscape is overflowing with technology solutions promising streamlined processes to enable efficient and effective workflows, but a recent survey of marketers shows many marketing organizations are suffering from a lack of productivity despite the onslaught of available marketing technology. After surveying nearly 900 marketing professionals across the U.S., UK, Netherlands, Germany, and Sweden, the work management platform Workfront found 70% of marketers are saddled with too many tedious tasks to focus their efforts on creative initiatives.

In fact, survey participants said they spend only 19% of their time on their highest value work, with a large majority of their day-to-day efforts going toward meetings and administrative tasks, answering emails, managing ad hoc requests, and performing manual, repetitive jobs. 

According to Workfront’s 2020 Global Marketing Report, marketers are frustrated with the technology they are using, with more than half (56%) claiming their marketing technology is built on unconnected systems that lack true integration capabilities. On average, marketers are using eight different tools to manage various aspects of their work—some using a mix of spreadsheets, email, and instant messaging apps, while others are using whatever tools their IT team has in place. Still, other marketers report that each functional team is doing things “their own way” without any real cross-functionality. 

“In an ironic twist, most marketers (75%) agree that the number of different tools they use to simplify their work is actually making work more complicated,” reports Workfront. 

Workfront’s report echoes stensul’s experience working with marketing operations leaders across nearly every industry. Marketers strive to implement agile practices that allow for strategic work processes, but are often too busy handling ad hoc requests or putting out fires. As established in stensul’s Email Creation Maturity Model, lack of agility, combined with disconnected martech platforms and tools, results in marketers spending more time on execution and less time focused on strategy.

Stensul Email Creation Maturity Model June 2020

Technology: A bridge or hindrance to productivity? 

The 2020 Global Marketing Report paints a bleak picture when it comes to productivity, highlighting a major disconnect between the work marketers want to be doing and the tasks they end up spending most of their time completing. When asked what skills were most important to their jobs, it was nearly an even split between creativity (34%), agility (31%), and speed (31%), with marketers across the board agreeing their greatest strength—and most essential skill—is, “their ability to think and act creatively.” 

Meanwhile, nine out of ten of the marketers surveyed report major frustrations at work, with a variety of hurdles keeping them from focusing on creative work efforts. The top three work-related frustrations for marketers? 

  • Inadequate resources for handling growing workloads 
  • Lack of strategic alignment across teams
  • Insufficient visibility into project status, productivity, and how marketing affects the bottom line 

The promise of streamlined processes and efficient workflows appears to be a distant dream for many of the marketers surveyed by Workfront, with much of the technology currently being used limiting productivity versus boosting it. 

The key to true productivity? Easily integrated martech solutions.

As Workfront emphasizes in its report: “There’s an obvious mismatch between what marketers value most and what they actually spend their time on.” Stensul has witnessed this disconnect firsthand. Our data mirrors Workfront’s findings—we regularly see outdated email creation processes, with 80% of brands taking a week or more to produce a single email because they lack the right technology to enable agile email creation processes. What we’ve found is that most marketing operations teams are spending more time on email production instead of focusing on strategy. 

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