Companies are operating in increasingly saturated markets in which new competitors are constantly pushing their way into the market. On one hand, this is due to the globalisation of markets. International companies are also active on the European or German market, even without a physical presence. On the other hand, technological progress in the form of digitalization has lowered market entry barriers, in some cases significantly, has made new business models possible and has changed value chains. In addition, customers’ expectations of marketing and service communication and of the digital service portfolio of companies in general are constantly rising. In summary: The marketing demands on companies are increasing and at the same time are in a continuous state of change. In order to be able to react quickly to this, a short time-to-market of new (IT) solutions and marketing measures is essential. Agility is the keyword.

There is no marketing without IT anymore

The challenges in digital dialogue marketing can only be met with suitable technologies (see also Trend 1 “Realtime customer centricity – focus on the customer”). However, since these challenges change quickly, the technology or rather the use of the technology must also be flexible and agile.

Agile technology for agile marketing

Digital marketing today consists of a multitude of disciplines for which there are different technological solutions: Realtime marketing automation, CRM, data analytics, recommendation engine, shop system etc. To be able to react agile to market changes, it makes sense for companies to organize their marketing technologies according to the best-of-breed approach. The idea behind this is to select the technology that best suits their own requirements for each discipline and then integrate the individual technologies with each other.

In contrast, single-vendor solutions provide all essential functions in a single technology. According to a Chiefmartec study, 48 percent of companies use the best-of-breed approach and only 21 percent use single-vendor solutions. The remaining 31 percent either rely on single-function technologies, on in-house developments or do not use any marketing technologies at all. The study “Digital Data Insights” by the Stuttgart Media University shows comparable results. Approval of the best-of-breed approach is about twice as high as that of the single-vendor solution approach. Some of the experts surveyed in the study justified this with the performance of specific technologies and the lack of integration capability of single-vendor solutions in practice.

Individual software and thus the best-of-breed approach is particularly suitable for larger companies that cannot adapt their processes, organization and system landscape to standard software or want to implement very individual marketing cases. The advantages of the best-of-breed approach at a glance:

  • Flexible adaptability: The functionality can be flexibly adapted to the individual requirements of the company and the business model
  • modification of the system landscape is not necessary
  • No dependence on a single supplier
  • Successive rollout and thus potential lower costs for the adaptation of internal processes and structures, as new technologies adapt to existing system landscapes
  • In the best case, possibilities to influence the further development of individual features or individualization
  • Competitive advantages through the best possible combination of technologies

The best-of-breed approach is an agile approach, as it allows for the greatest possible flexibility and individuality. Companies that want to react to market changes in an agile way should use this approach.

Fast results with use case based approach

Even with a small amount of data and without complex technological adjustments, it is often possible to achieve quick wins with strong results. Timing, speed, and context sensitivity are usually stronger result drivers than (supposedly) precise knowledge of individual customer needs. Identifying the key triggers in the lifecycle and reacting with automated follow-up measures at the right time often pays more for the result than individualized offers at individual customer level. Short “triggers” controlled by the usage context with few content fragments are more efficient than extensive, long-term planned newsletters that try to please each customer with as many offers as possible. With consistent testing, optimization successes can be achieved more quickly than with the use of complex business intelligence procedures.

Effect on the goal (e.g. increase in sales) and effort in implementation should be the main focus when selecting or prioritizing the measures to be implemented.


The demands on companies, especially on marketing and service communication, are not only increasing, but also changing continuously. In order to be able to react to this, marketing should increasingly use agile methods. Orientation towards the best-of-breed approach in the selection of marketing technologies enables the greatest possible flexibility and individuality. A successive approach based on the bottom-up principle in the implementation of use cases and the development of capabilities ensures timely results and reduces complexity.