What we learned from 10 years of working in MarTech


When we started Relay42, we had no idea that the MarTech industry would become the giant ecosystem it is today. Of course, we believed in its potential, but we couldn't have foreseen the speed at which it would evolve.

As we celebrate our 10th anniversary, we caught up with our founders to reflect on what we’ve learned on our journey so far. 

Driving meaningful product innovation 

The MarTech landscape is one of the fastest-growing sectors out there. When we started, there were about 150 solutions on the market, and today, the total nearly exceeds 8000.

When it comes to our platform, building meaningful relationships is about continuously checking what our customers need and expect from us.

Thanks to the close relationship with our users, our platform has evolved from a tag management system to an intelligent customer data platform with journey orchestration and AI capabilities.

Throughout the years, we’ve seen so many great innovative tools rising and falling. At the end of the day, we've learned that it’s not about innovating for the sake of innovating, it’s about understanding what the customers really need to achieve their business objectives.

Responsible marketing is the only way forward

When we first started Relay42 ten years ago, consumer privacy was still in its early days. We all remember being chased by ad banners and having no control over the data which was shared with advertisers. 

Fortunately, these days are long behind us, and doing responsible marketing is now the law across Europe.

As a CDP, we have the responsibility to ensure that our customers can operate based on respect and transparency so that their customers will be informed about the data that’s being collected about them, and can request to access it or to have it removed.

When our customers succeed, we succeed 

We love sharing the successful customer stories of our customers, yet, this is only one aspect of how we support our customers on their journey.

While our team of experienced consultants guides our customers in creating effective customer journeys, our strategy team focuses on helping them achieve their long-term ambitions.

Like with all MarTech solutions, success is not just the result of the right technology, the right data, or even the right insights. Over the years, we have seen that success is dependent on the way the organization is aligned on the definition of success and even more dependent on the way that technology is embedded within the organization.

This is why we work with customers beyond the implementation of our Customer Data Platform and getting the first use cases live.

By sharing best practices that we have collected while working with the most successful, large, complex enterprises in the last ten years, we are setting our customers up for long-term success.

Moreover, we have seen that this is a key differentiator in getting more value out of their investment in both, the CDP, as well as the ecosystem around it.

Helping our customers and partners grow their professional skills 

Being a professional in MarTech means that digital marketers need to be alert for the constant changes in the market. From new channels to new privacy regulations, every year brings up new challenges as well as opportunities.

For us, this means that we need to ensure that our customers and partners are equipped with the necessary knowledge and skills to continue to deliver exceptional service and customer experience.  

Next to regularly sharing articles and case studies from industry experts, our team has always offered a personal training program to all of our users. 

In addition to that, in 2021 we also launched the Relay42 Academy, our new digital learning platform which aims to empower our customers and partners to create impactful customer journeys to achieve their marketing ambitions.   

Fostering great partnerships

Building meaningful relationships with our consultancy partners is essential for driving customer success. 

Our partners understand the customer's challenges and long-term goals. They have the strategy and execution expertise in the business and technology areas that make intelligent orchestration projects successful. They help our customers with the onboarding stage by building the data foundation for customers and later on, by demonstrating the business value that the use cases bring to the organization. They also play a key role in managing the transition from campaigns to end-to-end journeys.

And more than that, thanks to the great relationships with our strategic partners, we're able to collaborate on webinars, articles, and videos to educate both our customers and the industry as a whole on the newest market developments.

Creating a culture of transparency and collaboration

Starting a tech company from scratch has taught us a great deal about building amazing teams.

We founded Relay42 in a small office with a team of just a few people, and today, we're an international scale-up, with offices spreading across two continents and having a team of 20 nationalities.

A few important steps helped us get where we are today:

  • Collaboration in cross-cultural teams: across departments, we see that having people from different cultural backgrounds is an essential factor for bringing new ideas and perspectives.
  • Company culture is constantly evolving: it's important to adapt and look for the most effective ways to engage with the team at any given moment.
  • Feedback & transparency: getting feedback regularly is key to understanding what the team needs. 
  • Putting processes and structure in place: while we don't want to introduce too many processes, having a clear structure provides stability and clarity on the ways of working.
  • In-house recruitment is the way to go in finding culturally fitting talent:: bringing our recruitment in-house has allowed us to get to know all candidates and ultimately find the best match for us and them.
  • OKR approach: adopting the OKR methodology has helped us align the objectives of the company with the goals of each department. This way, everyone can see how their work directly contributes to the success of the company.

Focus on the WHY

As we mentioned above, when we founded Relay42, the MartTech landscape wasn’t as established as it is today. Throughout the years, we saw the rise of tag management technologies, then DMPs, and most recently — the growing popularity of CDPs.

As a tech vendor, we know the importance of positioning ourselves in the right space.

However, from a consumer perspective, we’ve learned that it’s not about what we call ourselves.

Customers are not looking for a CDP, a DMP, or the next three-letter abbreviation of a marketing platform. What they are looking for is a solution to solve a strategic business problem and achieve their long-term marketing ambitions. 

The reason we exist is not because of labels —  it’s because we believe that we can help businesses build meaningful relationships with their customers and thereby create a future based on transparency and trust.


Enjoying the journey

Working in a dynamic industry like MarTech for the past ten years has taught us that in order to stay relevant, we need to think beyond the status quo and keep challenging our product, our way of working, and each other.

For us, this means that as a team, we embrace change as part of our journey. 

The road is long and it's not a straight line. But no matter what comes on our way, we keep learning and growing as professionals so that we can get closer to our vision — to build a better future for both businesses and consumers.