Tuesday 2¢ – Driving Your Martech

This Tuesday, inspired by a young driver F1 driver; are you on top of your marketing technology, or is it driving?

Firstly, thank you for subscribing, I appreciate you being here.

I’m an F1 fan, and in the race before last, one of the drivers for Ferrari (Carlos Sainz) had appendicitis and had to have his appendix removed, meaning he missed a race.

The fact that he only missed one race, having had what I, and I suspect you too would consider major surgery a fortnight ago, is a topic for another day. These guys seem to me to be superhuman.

But, while Carlos was unwell, a young British driver, Ollie Bearman, had to step in at the very last minute and master a Formula 1 car, arguably the pinnacle of motorsport in terms of power and complexity, from the junior F2 series.

His experience started with the third of three practice sessions before the pressure of diving into qualifying and the race, a feat his way more experienced competitors gave a huge hat-top to.

If you are not a fan of F1, you might think, “Meh,” and I don’t blame you. However, F1 is a heavily governed sport, and new drivers are not regularly allowed to drive these machines. The average speed around the Jeddah track, the venue of this race, in this complex spacecraft of a race car, is over 200 miles per hour, and drivers are subjected to a lateral force of 4.5g in some of the corners.


But what does this have to do with marketing?


Last week, on the Rockstar CMO Podcast, Jeff Clark and I chatted about lessons learned from mistakes in implementing marketing technology. We often refer to how, as B2B marketers, there is the accusation that technology has driven our practice.

And, back to my F1 analogy, Ollie Bearman, during his moment in the spotlight as an 18-year-old Formula 1 rookie, made this observation about stepping up from Formula 2 to driving an F1 car.

In F2 you drive to the limit of the car, in F1 you drive to the limit of the driver.

And this seems to be a great analogy to the role marketing technology plays in our lives as marketers.

Sometimes, we are limited by the technology we have available or can afford, and this impacts our effectiveness.

However, the availability of technology is usually not the problem. As is often reported, we have 8 billion martech options (or maybe eight thousand, according to the self-proclaimed Chief Martech).

It’s about how we use it, which means that if I follow through on the analogy, to quote Ollie, it’s “the limit of the driver”.

Which sounds harsh…

But there is a lesson here about who’s driving; technology is not the answer, and we need to push it to the limit.

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