Generative AI threatened by unresolved martech issues

chatgpt.new2Marketers might be dumping their martech systems and jumping into bed with generative AI tools faster than Love Island contestants change partners, but they risk repeating the mistakes that have plagued martech implementations for years, with a failure to tackle data accuracy, consistency and context threatening to scupper new tech, too.

So says the latest instalment of Gartner’s 2023 CMO Spend & Strategy Survey, which quizzed 405 marketing leaders, and found that nearly two-thirds plan to invest in generative AI tools in the next 24 months, yet just a third have used their current martech capability so far this year.

In fact, it found that martech use has declined for the third consecutive year, after falling from 42% in 2022 and 58% in 2020. And, as use declines, there is increasing pressure to optimise costs.

Even so, the study shows that increasing an organisation’s martech use is no easy ask; just 11% of CMOs reported boosting martech by more than 10% so far this year. Another issue emerged in May, when Gartner reported that nearly three-quarters of marketing bosses said they lacked the budget to fully execute their martech strategy this year.

Meanwhile, concerns continue around customer data challenges, the complexity of the ecosystem and inflexible data governance.

Gartner marketing practice vice president analyst Benjamin Bloom said: “CMOs recognise both the promise and challenges of generative AI. But there’s a clear tension between investing more in the current tech stack to drive use, or reallocating their finite resources towards the coming crop of generative AI applications that may not suffer from the same problems.”

Yet, while generative AI can help marketing teams quickly produce novel and contextually relevant content – as well as streamline tasks such as market research and lead scoring – the true power of generative AI can only be fully realised with data that is accurate, consistent, and fully contextualised, Gartner insists.

Bloom added: “Marketers tend to acquire new technologies without a systematic approach for adopting them. Combined with multi-year contracts, under-used or abandoned technology can easily result in an unwieldy stack over time. CMOs should press martech teams to find opportunities to simplify so the rest of the function can flourish.”

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