Composable marketing, a look beyond tooling

April 27, 2023 | Pieter Van Tendeloo, Strategy Director


When checking the internet lately, you will certainly not have a shortage of articles explaining why you should go for a MACH approach to define your architecture and when reading those articles, it all makes perfect sense. The “David against Goliath” story provides an excellent narrative and the voices most heard are those of solution vendors that (bene)fit in a composable architecture. But maybe we should not focus as much on the tools but rather on what is build between the tools because that is where the true essence of this approach lies.

Pieter Van Tendeloo, Strategy Director at The Reference behind his desk

It is the performance of a well-designed API-layer managed within a governance that welcomes positive change to the architecture and that allows for the advantages of MACH to radiate through to the operational level where it can make a real difference in the business we run.  

First, a set-up like this will allow for tool adoption at a fast pace which is critical for today’s digital marketing.  The marketing technology landscape is growing enormously each year and recent AI developments will even expedite this process.  To stay on top, you will need to be able to switch tooling swiftly within your architecture.  Your toolbox might look very different within a year from now depending on the digital marketing skills you are developing. For this to happen, you will both need the technical flexibility and the open-minded culture that a MACH approach can provide.

Tooling is not the only thing that will change fast and often in a digitally driven economy. Let's talk interfaces.  Offering a seamless experience to users is in the top of all survey lists asking where companies should invest their marketing budget. Especially in transactional B2B environments this can really be a make-or-break part of your digital ecosystem.  But in reality, this means that 1 platform will have to deal with a multitude of interfaces. The same system will feed a desktop software application, a mobile optimized ordering interface, and a WeChat widget depending on who in the world is placing an order. Architectures that cannot disconnect the interface part from their back-end will have a hard time facing these challenges. Your most UX-minded department can and should take control over all the interfacing in your ecosystem.

So, we praised the ability to adapt quickly in terms of tooling and interfacing, but these advantages are mainly built on the merits of the technical flexibility that comes with composable architecture.  As the backbone of your organization, an architecture needs to be more than just technology, it needs to be able to empower people that want to contribute to the success of your business.  A MACH approach is designed to secure your critical processes while at the same time providing the possibility to experiment.   As such a MACH approach is not merely an IT exercise but it also entails an organizational change. And this last part requires an open attitude towards experimentation and innovation.

And for digital marketing to obtain business impact in the future, this attitude is even more important than the technology that enables it. 

Be a business driver, capture the essence of composable marketing!

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