How MarTech Fits Into Digital Marketing Transformation

In many ways, COVID-19 was the spark that brands across Southeast Asia needed for a wholehearted embrace of digital marketing. The events of 2020 led to a surge in the adoption of marketing technology, or MarTech, in what looks to be a permanent move up the innovation curve.

Yet a jarring disconnect remains. Marketing teams are estimated to lose around US$222 billion and shed 30% of their staff by the end of 2021. Only 19% of businesses have a MarTech strategy, while 60% are working on it. Marketing leaders were utilising just 58% of their MarTech stack’s potential in 2020 – unchanged since 2019. The same survey said almost two-thirds of MarTech leaders expected moderate to severe budget cuts in 2021, with 35% of respondents starting to overhaul their MarTech stack. The reality is adoption of new technologies alone will not bring about the much-hoped for digital transformation  what marketers need is an overhaul in their approach to MarTech. 

Growing Importance

MarTech comprises the various software solutions used to achieve marketing goals. Businesses acquire point solutions from MarTech vendors to build a “stack” of tools that help them optimise the customer experience on owned media and platforms such as a website or app. Thanks to ongoing digitalisation and events such as the global pandemic, marketers are set to lean more heavily into MarTech in the years to come.

A graph of growth of the MarTech landscape

Some of the trends driving MarTech adoption include:

  1. End of third party cookies – Google’s move to block third party cookies from 2023 onwards, as well as Apple’s focus on privacy, has rankled marketers and the US$100 billion market for targeted advertising that relies on third-party tracking. Businesses will have to pivot towards first-party data and start relying on Customer Data Platforms (CDP).
  2. Integration with eCommerce – As online marketplaces and super apps have become the go-to platforms for consumers, MarTech solutions will need to provide seamless integration to optimise the end-to-end customer journey. 
  3. Emergence of “hybrid” customers – The COVID-19 pandemic has given birth to a new “hybrid” customer segment whose impressions of a brand are informed by a multiplicity of offline and online channels, necessitating the use of MarTech to track customer touchpoints. 

End-to-End Solutions

A proficient MarTech stack will enable marketing teams to understand customer interactions at every touchpoint and use those insights to iteratively improve engagement. To encompass the entire customer journey, a stack needs to cover the following:

  1. Conversion Rate Optimisation – To improve conversions via website, apps, or other owned platforms through A/B testing, experimentation, and hyper-personalisation. Tools: Insider
  1. Digital Touchpoint Management – To track customer behaviour across websites, mobile sites, and apps. Tools: Google Analytics,, Adobe Analytics
  1. Customer Data Management – To build a single view of the customer by consolidating data from multiple touchpoints and online-to-offline sources. Tools: Treasure Data, Meiro, Tealium
  1. Lifecycle Management – To automate and personalise email messages, conversations, and other interactions for lead nurturing. Tools: HubSpot, CleverTap, Braze
  1. UX/UI Enhancement – To discover what customers need, add new functions and content, and iterate usability across the customer journey. 
A graph of used MarTech to support content marketing
Source(s): Content Marketing Institution, Statista

Be Outcome-Driven

The right tools, coupled with the right strategy, can help marketers boost customer acquisition, enhance customer lifetime value, improve marketing efficiency, increase productivity and automation, create single view of customer, and empower in-house talent. With only 18% of brands having mastered their extensive MarTech stack to produce a “gifted” or “genius-level” performance in 2020, brands are still trying to experiment across websites, mobile and social platforms. But rather than adding on to their MarTech stack, marketers should take stock of existing inventory and work towards optimising across people, process, technology, and data.


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Yih Cheng Yak

Head of Consulting,
Marketing Technology