Martech enablement series: Part 7 — Insights, intelligence and integration

Welcome to Part 7 of: “A Nine Part Practical Guide to Martech Enablement.” This is a progressive guide, with each part building on the previous sections and focused on outlining a process to build a data-driven, technology-driven marketing organization within your company. Below is a list of the previous articles for your reference:

  • Part 1: What is Martech Enablement?
  • Part 2: The Race Team Analogy
  • Part 3: The Team Members
  • Part 4: Building the Team
  • Part 5: The Team Strategy
  • Part 6: Building the Car

In these previous parts, we looked at how your martech team is parallel to an automobile race team. We spent time investigating how a race team constructs their team and then builds a strategy for winning their individual races and the overall race series. We then looked at how this is also a successful approach to constructing and strategizing for a martech team, identifying this process as “martech enablement.”

As we discussed in Part 1 of this guide, martech enablement is ultimately about obtaining insights and providing tools and processes to take action to affect your marketing efforts in your marketing organization. In Part 6, we discussed “building the car” with a focus on breaking down the systems in your martech stack that allow you to take action.

In this article, we will explore the systems that provide insights and enable team collaboration. We’ll also look at tying them all together with integration approaches, tools and strategies. Once again, a shout-out to Scott Brinker for producing the “Marketing Technology Landscape” to help make sense of all the martech products available.

Insights and intelligence

When you’re driving your car, a number of tools inform you how to take action. Looking out your windshield, windows and mirrors gives you immediate data that you respond to. Additionally, you have tools like your instrument dashboard, GPS, traffic data, your radio, and even your passengers.

Race drivers and the team as a whole have sophisticated systems in and around the car that are collecting information, as well as experts to analyze the information in real time, providing actionable insights that the team can use before, during and after the race. This is a huge part of the team’s competitive advantage that they use to win races.

Part of the martech enablement process is to leverage the data within your martech stack so that experts within your team can analyze that information to provide actionable insights, so your marketing organization can win your race.

To reiterate a point made in Part 6 of this guide, a solid data strategy is one of the most important components of martech enablement. This provides the foundation for extracting and “mashing” this data in a way that you can measure. A sound approach is to understand your organization’s KPIs (key performance indicators) and craft a data strategy that supports collecting data to enable measurement of those KPIs.

Many systems and categories of tools assist in the area of gaining insights. Below is a list of some of the systems used to provide visibility and understanding:

  • Web analytics platforms
  • AI/predictive analytics
  • MPM — Marketing performance management
  • Marketing attribution systems
  • Business intelligence (BI) systems
  • Dashboards
  • Data visualization tools
  • Social media monitoring
  • Sales intelligence
  • Audience and market research data

As you progress through the martech enablement process, your “insights” toolset will grow in both size and maturity. I want to remind you to stay focused on letting this part of your stack evolve from the incremental team objectives and series and race goals. Don’t lead with a goal of creating a cool BI environment or dashboard. Let these grow out of the goals driving the martech enablement process.

Strategic vs. tactical insights

I want to spend a minute discussing the difference between strategic and tactical insights and their alignment with your team, series and race objectives. For a refresher on these, see Part 5 of this guide.

When measuring and analyzing performance against your team and series goals, you’re looking at strategic insights where understanding the current level and performance trend is desirable. Think in terms of tools that show you the results of your marketing efforts across time. A tactical insight will generally be more closely aligned with your race goals and will be a singular value or KPI.

Relating this to our race team analogy, a strategic goal could be wanting to improve the team’s average finish position from the current state to some future targeted goal. Over time, you could measure and graph the improvement and trend toward that goal.

A tactical goal might be the desire to come in third place or better in a particular race. Your insight tool could represent that number as a single KPI. That isn’t to say that you may never analyze performance trends during a race, such as average lap speed. But there are values that benefit from analyzing as a trend and others that are just fine to analyze as a current and ending value.

Team management and collaboration

When it comes to management and collaboration in the race team, both pre-race and race-day systems are needed to support the team’s operations. These tools are necessary to get things done right in your marketing organization. Good management and collaboration tools help great people be a great team. Here are some of those systems:

  • Project management
  • Workflow
  • Collaboration tools
  • Business Process Management (BPM)/Agile & Lean
  • Talent management
  • Vendor management
  • Budget and finance

The nuts, bolts, welds, hoses and wires

It’s important to have a strategy and tools to hold all of this together. There are a few strategies to contemplate with systems integration and martech. Your marketing organization will likely take several different approaches to integration. These are generally broken down into three categories: native integration, IPaaS (integration platform as a service) and custom integration.

As technology matures, and the interoperability of products grows, companies are building “connectors” that allow for the exchange of data between their products and other widely used ones. These native integrations generally require some technical implementation or configuration, but the product manufacturers have done much of the heavy lifting to allow for the exchange of data between systems they have connectors for.

IPaaS is a “suite of cloud services enabling development, execution and governance of integration flows connecting any combination of on-premises and cloud-based processes, services, applications and data within individual or across multiple organizations,” according to Gartner. These platforms enable a more systematic way of creating and controlling data exchanges between products in your martech stack.

Custom development is as it sounds: a process in which software engineers develop custom applications to create and manage data exchanges between products and systems in your martech stack. Regardless of whether you take advantage of the aforementioned native integrations or IPaaS, you will likely at some level need to leverage good technologists to do some custom integration work along your path to martech enablement.

Stack it up!

To review, all the categories of the stack between Part 6, “Building the car,” and this part, “Supporting technologies,” your cohesive martech stack is composed of the following types of systems:

Intro to Part 8: Running the series and the races

Now that we’ve gone through the people, the strategy and the stack, we can move on to the execution part of martech enablement. In Part 8 of the guide, we’ll get into how your team iteratively and incrementally moves your marketing organization toward digital transformation and maturity.

I look forward to continuing to share with you about martech enablement in Part 8 of this guide.

Some opinions expressed in this article may be those of a guest author and not necessarily MarTech Today. Staff authors are listed here.


Mystical Creatures Become A Part Of Delhi Metro In These Creative Doodles

Mystical Creatures Become A Part Of Delhi Metro In These Creative Doodles

Samar Khan’s Delhi Metro doodles are creative and funny.

NEW DELHI:  If you live in the capital, chances are at some point or the other, you have travelled by the Delhi Metro. It’s not for nothing that it’s called the lifeline of Delhi. However, those who travel regularly by the metro know that it comes with its own share of drawbacks – a major one being the lack of anything to do while travelling. So how do you pass time when you’re in the metro? Well, if you’re anything like Samar Khan, you doodle!

Through his Instagram page MetroDoodle, Mr Khan regularly shares Delhi Metro chronicles with a twist. Using pictures of the trains and the platforms, he gives them an interesting take by adding doodles. “It’s been 3 – 4 months. I started this to kill time and boredom in metro travelling to work every day. Soon I started enjoying it,” said Mr Khan to NDTV.

Sometimes it’s a giant pink snake, sometimes a green extra-terrestrial, but it’s always unexpected and brilliant.

A full-time software developer by profession, Mr Khan has now started freelancing as a graphic designer taking up art projects on weekends. His passion for art is clearly reflected in his doodles. Take a look:

“Sometimes, It literally feels like this,” he says. We couldn’t agree more

Image result for "Amazing doodling! Really creative," writes a commenter
“Amazing doodling! Really creative,” writes a commenter
When asked about the inspiration behind his doodles, Mr Khan says, “Instagram is my favourite! All my inspiration comes from it. There are so many, such talented and amazing artists all around. I am constantly inspired by their work. It just keeps you going!”

Which of these doodles is your favourite? Let us know using the comments section below.


AMD wants some LG, Vizio products banned in US as part of patent infringement complaint

AMD wants some LG, Vizio products banned in US as part of patent infringement complaint

We’re used to hearing about patent infringement cases in the tech world, but recent years have seen most of these high-profile lawsuits involve Apple and Samsung. Now, semiconductor manufacturer AMD has filed a patent complaint. The firm has requested the United States International Trade Commission (ITC) investigate claims that several companies infringed its graphics processing patents.

The complaint, which was filed last month, accuses MediaTek, LG, Vizio, and Sigma Designs of manufacturing products that infringe on two patents filed by ATI (acquired by AMD in 2006) and one from AMD itself. The infringements relate to technologies such as unified shaders, graphics processing architecture, and parallel pipeline graphics systems.

As reported by Anandtech, the unusual part of this complaint is that these companies license their GPU tech from third party developers like Imagination and ARM. But, given that it’s easier to sue over physical products than ideas, AMD is suing the manufacturers instead.

Some of the alleged infringing products include MediaTek’s Helio P10 SoC that’s used in certain LG smartphones, such as the LG X Power, as well as Sigma’s SX7 (STV7701) SoC for UHD TVs with HDR support, which is used by Vizio in its high-end televisions.

AMD points out that both Samsung and GlobalFoundries have licensed its IPs covered by the patents in question. The company states that anyone infringing on its patents damages legitimate licensees of AMD intellectual property.

AMD wants the infringing devices banned from import and sale in the US, which would affect multiple products from LG and Vizio. Expect this case to spend quite a few years in the courts.


One Part Educator, One Part Techie: Why Today’s Teachers Have to Be Both

teachers and educational technology

The last two decades have seen the education sector move at lightning speed especially in the area of educational technology.

Fifteen to twenty years ago, technology in education was a debatable subject. Everyone had his or her own views about the impact technology would have on the way we learn. There were, of course, both positives and negatives associated with use of technology in education. But gradually, as technology became embraced by educational institutions, those who resisted its application started to appreciate it.

These days, teachers and educational technology are intertwined. New technology hits the market every day, completely revolutionizing the way teaching is approached in schools. Today, there are hundreds of tools that teachers can use to connect with students, communicate with parents, colleagues and administrators. As a teacher, being technologically savvy is no longer an option. Education is advancing with technology and as the younger generation adapts, so must educators and parents in order to maintain a strong, relevant connection.

Below are some of the reasons why a technologically savvy teacher is a must today.

Improved Efficiency and Effectiveness for Students

Data usage by teachers in education is growing. For instance, streaming video and multimedia are increasingly used by teachers in their curriculum. Teachers are called upon to understand how their usage video and multimedia affects networks and how to communicate those needs to IT staff.

To meet these needs, bandwidth may need to be increased and virtual local area networks (VLANs) need to be set up quickly. And IT staff need to be able to monitor performance and manage service levels for teachers and students.

Likewise, as needs grow, the costs of delivering IT can grow. School districts and educational institutions are moving to cloud-based environments. These enable scalable networks. And the cloud opens up and broadens teaching capabilities for teachers and learning capacities for students, such as with opening up more distance learning. Through the cloud, teachers can pool work and resources. By spending less time, money and effort on IT, and by leveraging cloud resources, educational institutions and teachers can focus more on students and creating a better learning environment.

Improved Learning and Teacher to Student Connection

Many young people construct a social identity on the Internet. To better understand their way of thinking as a teacher, you need to be on their home turf, using the same technology they use, accessing social media, listening to their music — understanding how they live by experiencing it. You need to identify where they’re spending their time (favorite social networks Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and YouTube come to mind), and use their functionality as a way to inspire teaching methods. This way, you’ll have an edgier appeal to technology-oriented students.

For instance, many teachers are using a flipped classroom – a practice in which students watch lecture videos as homework, and the discussion is carried out the following day during class with the teacher’s guidance. This approach has consequently resulted in better student performance. Students have the opportunity to learn at their own pace, and use class time for clarification and interaction.

Online cloud collaboration tools, such Google Drive, Dropbox and more, allow students and teachers to share notes and assignments online, edit them in real time, and project them on a screen. These tools eliminate the need for some students to go to a classroom as everything is done online from class discussions, to submitting assignments and grading.

Improved Teacher-Parent Communication

The way in which teachers communicate with parents has also changed dramatically over the last decade. Long gone are the days of telephone calls and voice messages. The fastest way to reach an educator is via email. The importance of report cards has even given way to technology, as grades are now entered online by teachers and can be accessed by parents in real-time, 24/7.

Parents and students now also have access via the Internet or even apps in some cases to every single grade, tardiness, absence, and more. Apps like Edmodo allow parents to log in and see what’s going on.

Enhanced Teacher to Teacher Collaboration

The way teachers communicate with each other to share ideas and offer support has also evolved with technology. They can now share videos, lesson plans, and images instantly, as well as discuss their ideas online as they go.

Teachers can also instantly communicate and connect with their colleagues across the world, refine their lesson plans and find the latest new information on a particular subject to provide their students with the best education possible. There are even tools such as Teachers Pay Teachers which permits teachers to sell their own classroom materials and buy high-quality materials from other teachers.

Educators are now required to do an online portfolio for their practicum, among other online activities, to obtain their education degrees. Some teachers even go back to school or take supplemental courses to keep up with the ever-changing “industry standard” for the modern-day classroom and its technologically demanding student.

It is important for teachers to be open to new ways of doing things. On an almost a weekly basis, new technologies become available that can completely transform the way teachers work and teach.

A good teacher is one that maintains an avid interest in new technologies, with the aim of improving the effectiveness of their teaching methods to better reach their students.

Teacher Image via Shutterstock

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