As we continue shaping our M.A.R.T.E.C.H. competency framework we find ourselves in need of an entrepreneurial spirit for marketing technologists to be most effective. The entrepreneur competency in MarTech is again, a metamorphosis that is attainable if we put forth the effort to make it happen. A marketing technologist needs to have an entrepreneurial-like ownership with a passion and pride to make sure things run properly. The following are 6 traits shared by entrepreneurs and marketing technologists.
Make a Difference
Entrepreneurs start down a path to make a difference. The desire to make a difference in the lives of the people around you is motivating. Seeing the impact of those lives as a result of what was created is inspirational. Marketing technologists are making a difference in the customer experience. The customer experience is benefiting from marketing technologists assembling the right technology stack to scale the internal effort to create a meaningful customer experience. Realizing that you have the power to make a difference in the customer experience is the start of an energizing mission. The marketing technologist needs to always stay connected to the customer experience because that is what will inspire a continuous loop of marketing technology improvements.
Work the Ladder
Entrepreneurs are working the ladder from critical negotiating with banks and investors to mundane manual data entry. Marketing technologists are completing every task necessary in the interest of business continuity and marketing scale. As the chameleon of the marketing and information technology disciplines, the MarTech expert needs to present to the Board one minute and the next minute they need to configure user permissions for new employee. Refining the skills of a marketing technologist to speak the language of the executive, marketing, technology, and customer disciplines is an entrepreneurial trait needed in the MarTech role.
Get the Money
Convincing someone that your ideas are worth funding is a typical entrepreneurial activity and the best part of the entrepreneurial spirit is they have no fear making the ask because they believe in what they are doing. Marketing technologists need to adopt the same courage and belief system to make the ask. If the answer is no, refine the pitch and go at it again. If the answer continues to be no and you still believe in the MarTech structure, then find a skunkworks way to prove the value. I fondly recall trying to justify a new CRM more than a decade ago. With no budget to adopt Salesforce.com at the time, I tricked out Filemaker to do just enough to demonstrate the greater need to our CFO and we moved to Salesforce.com shortly thereafter.
Take the Risk
Marketing technologists can learn valuable risk management from entrepreneurs. Managing and navigating unknowns is normal; you’re never going to have all the data you need to make a decision, you just need enough. How do you get enough in the MarTech world? Assembling use cases, gathering internal user feedback, establishing relationships with influencers and leveraging networks are all ways to optimize our success but we also need to take the risk. The marketing technologist does not know all the answers but they need to operate closest to the problems so that they may take the necessary risk to deploy a new marketing technology, configure a new integration, or add a new user community in the interest of the customer experience.
Show the Return
When you have people investing they want to see the progress. Progress in marketing technology can be demonstrated by keeping the shareholders engaged throughout the process. The shareholders are your funding sources. If you’re justifying the spend directly to the CFO, then give the CFO a regular report. Perhaps a weekly snippet of impacts, customer feedback, % completed, keep a journal of activities that the CFO cares about. You are creating a story that can be shared with the MarTech world! As the story unfolds your documentation is highly valuable to the marketing technology community. Perhaps your story ends like govWorks as a movie (Startup.com) or maybe it takes off with a keynote speech at the Widen Summit or MarTech Conference.
Entrepreneurs use smart people to help implement and refine their ideas and marketing technologists need to do the same. MarTech leaders are creating jobs because they have proven the concept that enhancing the customer experience with technology supports greater scale, reach, and insight. At the MarTech Conference in San Francisco, I heard the Senior Director of Enterprise Marketing at Aetna, Rangeet Joseph Kurian, talk about the three MarTech teams he created: 1) Innovation, 2) Platforms and 3) Wearables & Health. Awesome structure to advance Aetna and create opportunities for others. I know Dr. Kevin Tharp is queuing up the future marketing technologists at the University of Wisconsin-Stout!Be entrepreneurial on your MarTech quest!