Treat Martec Like Your Stock Portfolio

Scott Brinker calls Martec’s Law “the greatest management challenge of the 21st century”.

Martec’s Law  - “Technology changes exponentially, but organizations change logarithmically.”

In other words, organizations cannot keep up with the pace of change of Martec and, over time, they fall further and further behind. Eventually, new companies come in with the new tech and disrupt.

What are CMOs to do?

They have to do what they always have to do - Test, learn, kill failures, and scale successes. However, given Martec’s Law, the pace of this cycle must accelerate. The evolving tech environment now allows this, if CMOs can create the right culture to embrace it.

With microservices and APIs allowing CMOs to integrate various systems and with subscription based cloud models avoiding the need for long term contracts, CMOS can architect the customer experience they want without locking into a single behemoth integrated cloud over many years. This allows them to constantly test, learn, and scale with lots of tech while mitigating risk.

It goes back to stock portfolio theory. In the olden days with less efficient capital markets due to the lack of large volumes of companies on the exchange and slower moving trades without PCs, we used to value and invest in massive conglomerates that were in lots of different businesses, much like a single large integrated marketing stack. We left it to the conglomerates to decide on a portfolio of diverse assets to own to mitigate risk as we do with the integrated Martec providers.

Now that capital markets are efficient, there are a large number of companies and fewer conglomerates. Computers have made trades instantaneous. We no longer value conglomerates as much since we can create our own portfolio of assets based on our risk profile. We prefer stocks that are pure plays. We can then mix and match these profiles to create whatever risk profile we want. We don’t need to rely on the conglomerates to do the work. However, investors today need to engage in much more research than ever before to pick the right stocks.

In a similar way, marketers who can manage their technology providers like a stock portfolio, constantly optimizing as risk profiles and goals change and as failures and innovations occur will start to get closer to their full potential. But, they need to engage in significantly more research to understand what is coming and they need to be savvy at bringing the new tech in, testing, learning, killing failures, and scaling successes. This accelerates the tech adoption cycle. Marketing cultures who embrace this will have the best chance of survival.

Rishi Dave

Rishi Dave

Chief Marketing Officer at Dun & Bradstreet
I am the Chief Marketing Officer of Dun & Bradstreet.  In this role, I run all marketing globally including brand, demand generation, digital, communications, PR, AR, operations, channel, events, sales enablement, corporate social responsibility, and product marketing.
Rishi Dave


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