Fostering relationships is key to managing a martech stack

When developing an organizational plan, navigating workplace culture to find allies will help strike the right balance of martech that works for all.

Whether you work in-house, at an agency, small businesses, enterprise organizations, for-profits and nonprofits, every organization has its own culture. I’ve worked with colleagues in a whole lot of different roles and found there are allies and frenemies (and hopefully not foes) for marketers in every case.

Through kindness and persuasion, some reluctant colleagues can turn into allies and champions for change. Depending on the size of the organization, marketers can develop an organizational plan with allies to strike the right balance of martech that works for all.

A marketer’s best allies (can) include:

  • Buyers – These professionals in finance focus on acquiring, retaining and retiring vendors and suppliers. As any marketer can attest, the purchasing and renewal processes of technology are sometimes lengthy and complicated. If a dedicated buyer is available, they can help. They can read the fine print and assist in negotiating prices. The important thing to keep in mind is that achieving value is more important than securing a low price. The danger of getting a cutthroat deal is that it doesn’t help the vendor or supplier remain financially viable and can engender resentment. Buyers also can assist in creating request for proposals (RFPs) and evaluating them.
  • Lawyers – This is understandably a controversial item on this list. However, lawyers can provide invaluable services – including reading contracts and playing the role of the bad guy so a marketer doesn’t have to. While they sometimes point out changes required by regulations and laws, keeping them in the loop allows a marketer to focus on marketing. Lawyers can also help assess risk and wade through muddy waters when it’s needed.
  • Project Managers – The mechanics of getting things done is their priority. They focus on budgets, timeframes, resources, requirements, defining tasks and other essential facets of any project.  Marketers should understand these items, but it’s not their job to track all of them. There are a variety of project management philosophies including waterfall and agile. In the agile world, the Scrum methodology defines clear roles like Product Owner and Scrum Master that facilitate who does what regarding project management.
  • Change Managers – Marketers frequently shake things up with the purchase of new martech, identifying training needs and adjusting integrations to name a few of the many ways. Change is tough and emotional resistance is a natural response to change – regardless if it’s good, bad or neutral. Change management is a discipline that focuses on the human side of change. Change managers help secure and maintain strong executive sponsorship, communicate needed information throughout a project, identify and deal with opponents and allies of a change, and help everyone adopt a change. This is about organizational behavior, and that’s not what marketers are primarily responsible for.
  • Information Security Experts – Information is crucial to martech, and marketers gather a lot of it either directly or indirectly from people. We all know data breaches are not good and InfoSec experts can help evaluate the security of vendors and platforms, existing integrations and shore up the security of the valuable information people provide an organization. Just as with lawyers, people in these roles can either serve as frenemies or foes, but since marketers have no choice in working with them, they might as well be friends. The proper attitude can make things a whole lot easier.
  • Stack Component “Owners” – People who oversee a martech stack component are vital to organizational success. They need to monitor the component’s performance and advocate for addressing needs in a timely fashion. They should further ensure that users are probably trained, integrations are working, and various stakeholders are aware of the martech value. These people are essential to helping ensure that martech investments have positive returns.
  • Subject Matter Experts – No martech practitioner can specialize, nor stay up to date, on all marketing and technical disciplines. That’s why befriending specialists like programmers, SEOs, data analysts, UI/UX designers, conversion rate optimizers, and others are important. In many cases, they double as stack component owners.

Allies to marketers focus on what they like to do and are paid for. They can easily fulfill the role of frenemy or foe. While we can’t control how others behave, adopting a proper attitude can go a long way toward securing productive teamwork.

Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land. Staff authors are listed here.

About The Author

Steve Petersen is a marketing technology manager at Western Governors University in Salt Lake City, Utah. He started on WGU’s marketing website team where he helped create and implement several initiatives including site redesign and maintenance, multivariate testing, user testing and mobile app development. Prior to WGU, he worked as a strategist at the Washington, DC digital agency The Brick Factory where he worked closely with trade associations, non-profits, major brands, and advocacy campaigns. Petersen holds a Master of Information Management from the University of Maryland and a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations from Brigham Young University. He’s also a Certified ScrumMaster.

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