Is the tech stack drowning out the essence of marketing?

In IT circles, the world is divided into three parts: hardware, software, and wetware. Wetware is the human brain.

Wetware issues are described by jocular techies as an ID-10-T issue, meaning there is an idiot’s wetware at fault.

I encountered many of these as a user because I’m a 20th Century schizoid marketing man. When I was in school, I was deemed too smart to take typing (yes we had typewriters then). That led me to a lifetime of typos as the bane of my existence.

As time marched on, it marched right over those of us who were technically challenged. So we got dragged kicking and screaming into the wonderful world of IT.

People like me didn’t go into marketing because we were gifted in the STEM cell department. So needless to say, this new digital realm was not a particularly welcome addition to our resumes.

Flash forward to the present. As we approach the end of the first quintile of the new millennium, there are now nearly 7,000 “martech” solutions, and nearly 90% of them are run by marketing vs. IT. The tech stack is still a wok in progress for the majority of marketers. (Source for these stats: Marketing Profs) .

My bet is marketers are spending WAY too much time trying to get the tech stack hardware and software optimized at the expense of trying to figure out how to master the wetware.

The essence of marketing is understanding the psychology of the prospective buyer, and mastering the emotional calculus of messaging to achieve objectives.

One thing all the data and data processing in the world can’t truly do is psychological strategy. Things like branding, positioning and persuasion still are in the realm of the art rather than the science of the craft.

Machines don’t buy stuff. People do. Behavioral economics teaches us that people don’t make rational decisions. People are tribal. They’re emotional. Human emotions move markets. They’re unpredictable and volatile.

Consumer marketing is the least rational realm, but BTB is not entirely rational either. The great marketers are master psychologists.

Keep this in mind the next time you plan your day. It might be more productive to spend some time figuring out how the mind of the customer works than figuring out how the latest software upgrade integrates with your legacy systems.