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What's the most important factor in determining success with marketing technology? Ask the finance department, and you might hear "impact on revenue." Ask Sales, and it's how well martech is generating new leads. Ask the CMO, and the measure may be whether brand reputation is improved.

But simply calculating the outcomes of a marketing technology investment is the wrong perspective. In every organization, no matter the size of the company or its industry, the single most important reason for success in martech is culture.

In my experience, martech is invariably the difference between winning in the marketplace and always playing catch up. Yet culture often gets the least amount of attention when a company strategizes around marketing technology. Data science is helping organizations gain valuable insights into the world around them, but it also is requiring a new mindset and way of working.

Being analytics-driven has much more to do with cultural readiness than with the algorithms powering data science. Some of today's leading brands—Amazon, Capital One, Uber—achieve success in large part by accepting that they are, first and foremost, data companies. And they fully embrace that identity across the organization.

Some 86% of marketers believe they will own the end-to-end customer experience by 2020, according to a recent study. The finding illustrates two intrinsically bound points:

  1. Companies are relying more on marketing services to create and execute upon customer experiences that are seamless and channel-agnostic.
  2. Tremendous volumes of internal and external data will be flooding marketing teams in the years ahead.

Marketing technology is critical to adapting to both trends, but it doesn't represent a strategic solution on its own. Companies need to commit to martech, and often, that means making certain that marketing is supporting the goals of the business.

Another study found just 16% of marketers say their martech strategies align with business strategies. This is an example of why organizations need top-to-bottom cultural investment in martech for it to make a difference.

Here are three tips for organizations that want to adapt its culture to maximize martech's impact on the business.

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image of Venkat Viswanathan

Venkat Viswanathan is founder and chairman of LatentView Analytics, a data analytics firm headquartered in Princeton.

LinkedIn: Venkat Viswanathan