Is your martech accelerating productivity or slowing it down?

Headshot of Noah Dinkin, CEO and FOunder of stensul

75% of marketers report being frustrated by ineffective platforms.

The martech landscape is overflowing with technology solutions promising streamlined processes to enable efficient and effective workflows, but a recent survey of marketers shows many marketing organizations are suffering from a lack of productivity despite the onslaught of available marketing technology. After surveying nearly 900 marketing professionals across the U.S., UK, Netherlands, Germany, and Sweden, the work management platform Workfront found 70% of marketers are saddled with too many tedious tasks to focus their efforts on creative initiatives.

In fact, survey participants said they spend only 19% of their time on their highest value work, with a large majority of their day-to-day efforts going toward meetings and administrative tasks, answering emails, managing ad hoc requests, and performing manual, repetitive jobs.

According to Workfront’s 2020 Global Marketing Report, marketers are frustrated with the technology they are using, with more than half (56%) claiming their marketing technology is built on unconnected systems that lack true integration capabilities. On average, marketers are using eight different tools to manage various aspects of their work—some using a mix of spreadsheets, email, and instant messaging apps, while others are using whatever tools their IT team has in place. Still, other marketers report that each functional team is doing things “their own way” without any real cross-functionality.

“In an ironic twist, most marketers (75%) agree that the number of different tools they use to simplify their work is actually making work more complicated,” reports Workfront.

Workfront’s report echoes stensul’s experience working with marketing operations leaders across nearly every industry. Marketers strive to implement agile practices that allow for strategic work processes, but are often too busy handling ad hoc requests or putting out fires. As established in stensul’s Email Creation Maturity Model, lack of agility, combined with disconnected martech platforms and tools, results in marketers spending more time on execution and less time focused on strategy.

Technology: A bridge or hindrance to productivity?

The 2020 Global Marketing Report paints a bleak picture when it comes to productivity, highlighting a major disconnect between the work marketers want to be doing and the tasks they end up spending most of their time completing. When asked what skills were most important to their jobs, it was nearly an even split between creativity (34%), agility (31%), and speed (31%), with marketers across the board agreeing their greatest strength—and most essential skill—is, “their ability to think and act creatively.”

Meanwhile, nine out of ten of the marketers surveyed report major frustrations at work, with a variety of hurdles keeping them from focusing on creative work efforts. The top three work-related frustrations for marketers?

The promise of streamlined processes and efficient workflows appears to be a distant dream for many of the marketers surveyed by Workfront, with much of the technology currently being used limiting productivity versus boosting it.

The key to true productivity? Easily integrated martech solutions.

As Workfront emphasizes in its report: “There’s an obvious mismatch between what marketers value most and what they actually spend their time on.” Stensul has witnessed this disconnect firsthand. Our data mirrors Workfront’s findings—we regularly see outdated email creation processes, with 80% of brands taking a week or more to produce a single email because they lack the right technology to enable agile email creation processes. What we’ve found is that most marketing operations teams are spending more time on email production instead of focusing on strategy.

Companies believe they are 90% strategy and 10% execution. In reality they are 10% strategy and 90% execution.

The reason? The same as Workfront’s findings: inefficient processes and ineffective martech systems. Sixty-eight percent of the marketers Workfront surveyed said their organizational teams are not on the same page, with different teams using different tools that lack key integration capabilities. The absence of integrated technologies results in processes that are bottlenecked, causing missed deadlines (72% of Workfront’s survey participants reported a lack of visibility into work, slowing down the entire team).

But there is hope—it just takes having the right technology and making sure it is implemented and managed properly. For example, a platform like stensul—that integrates with most major email platforms, provides an agile work environment across multiple teams, and comes with an easy-to-use interface and valuable user features—helps drive productivity by keeping everyone on the same page.

To establish more productive work patterns, marketing operations teams need tools that deliver automation capabilities to reduce the amount of time spent performing manual, repetitive tasks—allowing marketers to devote more of their efforts to creative, strategic initiatives. Stensul’s research shows marketing operations leaders must invest in marketing technology solutions that work across platforms and can be used by every member of the martech team—from marketing generalists to the specialized marketing technologists who manage complex martech stacks.

The benefits of high-performing martech.

With so many marketers left frustrated by ineffective processes and lackluster technology, Workfront’s report underscores the need for marketing organizations to reconsider their martech choices.

“Marketers know that their ability to think and act creatively enables them to do great work and contribute great value to their companies, and they understand the role of technology in enabling high-value work, but they still struggle to be productive on the right work,” writes Workfront in its report.

Instead of causing frustrations, the right martech tools create efficient workflows, accelerating productivity levels. Based on Workfront’s survey, the very skills marketers consider most crucial to their work—creativity, agility and speed—are the same skills they believe will be essential for future success.

“There can be a future in which marketers are empowered to devote more than 19% of their time doing the creative, high-value work they were hired to do. We have the technology at our fingertips,” writes Workfront, “The work before leaders now is to make the most of work management technology that gets marketers out of their inboxes and into their creative flow.”

Download Workfront’s full report to see a complete breakdown of the survey findings: 2020 Global Marketing Report.

Stensul is transforming email creation for the enterprise. The stensul platform empowers teams to slash email production time by 90%. Enterprise brands choose stensul to be more agile, freeing teams to focus on campaign strategy that drives greater email program performance. Stensul integrates with Workfront to enable teams to quickly and easily manage the email asset review and approval process. Stensul is a Workfront ISV partner.