Stack The Odds: Martech Utilization is Key

Betsy Stewart

Marketing technology utilization has been on a downward trend in recent years. According to Gartner, marketers utilize just 42% of their Martech stack capabilities, down from 58% in 2020. That’s a shocking stat. Understanding the reasons behind this decrease will provide opportunistic answers to how brands can take advantage of small optimizations for big ROI wins. 

Over the past few years, businesses have been investing in martech - budget and priority were given to increasing capabilities within this practice. But keeping pace and clarity within such a complex ecosystem takes conscious planning and conscientious action. Issues contributing to a lack of martech optimization are both external and internal. Increasing customer touchpoints, fragmented buyer journeys, and ever-evolving business and social media models add complexity. Understanding which trends to explore and which to avoid is key. Internally, sales, marketing, and IT alignment must be prioritized. Additionally, account, media, and creative resources should increase their understanding and genuinely care about martech. Marketing technology is responsible for delivering brand collateral and ensuring successful outreach efforts. Always ask: How can we increase the likelihood that people will receive this content or contact?

So what can brands do now? Start with these questions: What percentage of marketing automation platform features are currently being used, and, as importantly, which are not? Is it time to streamline and clean-up processes in lieu of or in preparation for an upgrade? How are UX goals met with martech? Have top goals and roadblocks for marketing tech features and functionalities been identified? 

As always, knowing where you are clarifies where you are going. Define the brand and business goals and develop a tactical list that can be addressed to reach those goals. These goals could pivot around an ROI threshold, advancing an emerging channel like social commerce, impacting customer sentiment, or utilizing AI for predictive merchandising. Another helpful angle is to approach martech, “holistically,” as much of an active awareness and mindset as a collection of tools. Here are four key areas to explore:


  • Conduct regular deployment and usage audits

  • Institute campaign measurement  

  • Value talent and subject matter expertise


  • Collaborate with sales to ensure goals dovetail 

  • Support evergreen customer journeys 

  • Enable workflow automation 


  • Use the platform for more than sending emails

  • Activate multiple marketing channels

  • Prioritize granular audience segmentation


  • Streamline the campaign creation process 

  • Reuse engaging and successful collateral 

  • Utilize up-to-date customer profiles

Marketing technology is hugely important, impacting every stage of the acquisition funnel. But martech is only effective if it's being prioritized and used correctly. From affecting the bottom line to less tangible aspects like increasing loyalty and raising awareness, martech equips an organization with the operational tools to identify, reach, and communicate with customers and prospects based on their unique stage in the buying journey. 

The capability to “move prospects down the funnel, engage your existing customers, and help generate more business” is invaluable. Ultimately, how do we evolve the consumer relationship to inspire browsers to become buyers? From advertising to social, commerce to data, marketing technology should be a part of brand and business conversations. Impact deliverability and open rates. Affect CTRs, KPIs, ROIs. Address data cleansing and ensure its quality. Strengthen sales outreach. Prioritize granular customer segmentation, A/B testing, and dynamic optimization. Embrace martech. This is marketing with intentionality and confidence.