When we speak about the Future of Performance, we describe it as the fusion of training, technology, and teams. Each component is dependent on each other. All three together have an exponential effect on results. In the good old days (less than 5 years ago), a marketing leader could pick one component to focus on. It usually would start with a declaration such as, “This year, we are going to really focus on _____.” When results came in as solid as overcooked ramen, they switched to something else to declare this year to be the final piece of the puzzle.

Marketing departments cannot have some version of the Chinese shengxiao (zodiac) calendar declaring the Year of the Press, Year of the CRM, or the Year of the Content. It requires a thoughtful, multi-year strategy to generate results as opposed to eyeballs, likes or open rates. The goal is client acquisition, retention, and expansion. Period.

To do so, huge investments in technology MUST be made. Can you find a freelancer to wire together a website or contact management system? Sure. I can also fix aircraft engines with a little time on YouTube. Want to fly on my plane?

This Gartner report shows that martech is now the primary investment for marketing. Technology investment is complex, expensive, and takes time. It is also no longer a choice. You can continue to hire people, but how will you train them on a global scale? How will they collaborate with each other across offices and departments? How will you anticipate client demand and provide services in a differentiating way?

Many marketing technology investments are a collection of tools that are treated like free apps on a phone. They are used to solve a temporary issue and then start to simply take up space on the screen. No one learns how to use them because there is no technology strategy connected to training and teams. It is simply another impulse buy much like that Slap Chop or Ab Blaster you bought after watching infomercials at 1 a.m.

Marketing leaders must invest heavily in technology that provides answers and not simply collect data. In the end, there is one piece of information that will help you win that customer. Your technology helps you find it. Your training helps you use it to win. Your teams help you find the next piece of information that helps you grow the client.

Technology changes the game for those who know how to use it. It also changes the game for those who refuse to leverage it. Your results may vary depending on what side of that equation you are on.

“Marketing leads are focused on building their analytics and martech capabilities because they’re the muscle groups that need the most development,” HubSpot VP and MarTech Conference program chair Scott Brinker posted about the report. But, he added, the whole purpose of this development is to move toward the objectives of customer acquisition and retention.