The Future Of MarTech Collaboration: Can Marketing Teams Survive Without Tech Literacy?

“You can’t just drop the best tech people in the middle of the marketing team without causing chaos.”

Can marketing survive without tech? Can marketers navigate their roles without a hint of tech literacy, and can tech and IT teams progress without storytelling and creativity?

As businesses prioritize investments in Martech to bolster future customer engagement efforts and enhance marketing effectiveness, it’s evident that the lines between tech and marketing are blurring. Silos are dissolving, and collaboration is becoming non-negotiable.

Forrester’s first-ever Global Martech Software Forecast, spanning 2023 to 2027, predicts that spending on these tools will surpass $215 billion by 2027, with an impressive annual growth rate of 13.3%. The forecast encompasses six main areas: experience delivery, marketing automation, marketing resource management, marketing performance management, customer analytics, and customer data management.

So how can teams move forward? In our latest episode of The Forward Podcast, we sat down with Andy Chang, the Global Head of Marketing Technology and Engagement Solutions at Electrolux Group. With a deep-seated passion for innovation and a wealth of experience in shaping customer interactions, Andy shares his invaluable insights on leveraging technology and the importance of synergy between teams for a successful future.

Aziza: So, would you mind talking to us a little bit about the importance of creating synergy between technology, people, and marketing? Because we spoke about this before around the marketing function and bringing in new technology stacks.

Andy: Yeah, if we want to talk about marketing, I think we should first talk about how marketing is working with other functions. That has precedence over anything else. I have the privilege of being in the middle of the marketing team at Electrolux, so I can speak from my experience. Marketing is often seen as a love-hate relationship with other departments. It’s like marketing is the rich kid on the block—you have lots of money, you dress nicely, you seem smart, and you do more talking than actual doing.

Aziza: Are you an island in yourself?

Andy: You know, there’s always a little truth to the perception. I think marketers have to be creative. They are on that side of the game, very creative, new ideas, and so on. But then, people with new ideas and creativity not always are good at execution. But, and I’m not saying marketers are not good at execution, but that’s a bit of psychology behind the strength of the teams when you’re talking about marketing versus others. So, I mean, I can’t speak on other teams’ behalf, but I can literally speak on technology teams’ behalf.

And that’s the challenge that most organizations face. You have a tech team, you have a marketing team split. Tech guys would say, “These guys always tell stories, you know?” And you never get to come even closer to reality. And marketers were like, “These IT guys, like, dude, you know, like, they make me even less smart, you know, literally, right?” Like, I don’t want to talk to them. But in reality, look at an industry. Marketing can’t live without tech.

The modern way of doing marketing has to apply tech. Full stop. To a point where some marketers started to be like, “Oh, yeah, they’re tech folks.” And, you know, they turned themselves into very tech-savvy beings. But, you know, they called it a sheep, a wolf wearing sheep clothes. The marketers are the wolves. Well, and nobody knows except if you’re a sheep, you know the other guy is the fake one, right? And vice versa.

I always project myself as a hacker in the basement. And when the guy is trying to be tech-savvy, you kind of tell straight out if this is actually real or false.

Aziza: So going forward, the lines between marketing and technology will blur, and they will have to come together. How do we integrate that better?

Andy: I think talent is very important. First and foremost, you need to start by having the right talents in the team. It’s not just about having the right technology. Sometimes we deceive ourselves, thinking new tech will fix everything. We need to be truthful within the marketing team and start with talent.

Another misconception is that we try to bring in talent, but they are often solo players, like ex-consultants, who just want to look smart. It’s important, but not just that. You have to be able to work together. Smart people not aligned cause chaos and no progress. What’s even more important is attracting talents who understand not just their role but also other surrounding job functions. A marketing team is more successful if its members know a bit about tech.

Aziza: Yes, that’s a great point. This literacy is really important.

Andy: In tech as well, you can’t just drop the best tech people in the middle of the marketing team without causing chaos. But when tech guys know a bit about marketing, it makes life different. When I was a marketing technology guy, I saw both worlds. The role of marketing technology didn’t exist before, but it bridges the gap between these functions.