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Monolithic Versus MACHified Promotions – What’s The Difference?
Julia Gaj
Julia Gaj
March 13, 2023
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Monolithic Versus MACHified Promotions – What’s The Difference?

With the ever-evolving commerce space, it is difficult to stay on top of new trends and technologies. You've likely heard the terms "headless", "composable", "MACH", and "monolithic" flying around. But how do they affect digital promotions and promotion marketing as a whole?

The disruption of enterprise technology has made it difficult to operate on a single system and keep up with the market twists and shakes. Growing customer expectations and new touchpoints make it essential for brands to adopt a modular architecture based on microservices powered by APIs. This is where Promotion Engines come into play – to support brands in managing personalized incentives fast and at scale.

In this blog post, I will explore the benefits of a MACH-compliant Promotion Engine. You will learn the key differences between monolithic and composable promotions – with the pros and cons of both approaches. Only then can you decide which approach is best for achieving optimal promotional results.

What is a Promotion Engine?

Promotion Engine is a new marketing software category that evolved from the promotions-as-a-service mindset. At its core, Promotion Engines empower teams to launch, manage, distribute, and track customer incentives – from generic promo codes to multi-tiered loyalty programs.

Want to know more?

Learn why Promotion Engines are the must-have tool in the toolkit of any tech-savvy digital team

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Generating promo codes may seem simple, but the harsh reality of modern commerce is far more complex. To operate on the data of millions of customers and navigate numerous dependencies while staying within a limited marketing budget, brands need a reliable and centralized system for managing incentives. Truth be told, the modern commerce landscape has made it difficult, if not impossible, to operate without one.

With a Promotion Engine, gone are the days of distributing various promotion types across multiple separate software systems. Instead, brands can access all types of promotions and manage them in a single platform powered by APIs.

Why are monolithic promotions not enough in 2023?

Monolith refers to something large, unified, and difficult to integrate with smaller components. In software engineering, monolithic architecture entails constructing separate units of code that are tightly coupled together to form a single application. This approach is essentially a one-size-fits-all computing network that relies on a single codebase.

Diagram of different types of information architecture

Although the traditional model offers some advantages, it is not always suitable for more complex projects, especially in the dynamic commerce landscape. In a monolithic setup, small changes require updates and testing of the entire platform. The solution to this issue is the implementation of microservices, a highly scalable and flexible architecture model.

Microservices are autonomous code bases that can be managed individually, allowing for specific changes, updates, and integrations to be made without affecting the rest of the application. This approach significantly reduces the time and resources required for development, resulting in a more transparent and efficient process. So how does it all apply to digital promotions and loyalty programs?

In their nature, incentives and marketing campaigns must be flexible and easy to manage as they must keep up with customers and what they expect from your brand. And forward-thinking brands already know that commerce monoliths won’t deliver the flexibility and customization that they need. 

Imagine a scenario where a large-scale commerce brand needs to quickly adjust their promo codes in bulk or deactivate a campaign that has gone viral and started to bring in losses due to poor configuration (which happens more often than you think due to clunky UX of monolithic platforms). In a non-MACH setup, the marketing team would need to raise a ticket and inform the IT team about the error, wasting precious time. With a separate promotion tool, the marketing team would have direct control over the system, avoiding raising the topic with the tech team altogether. 

The disadvantages of monolithic promotions in 2023

There are no monolithic promotions platforms – instead, customer promotions and loyalty programs are offered as an extension to large commerce platforms. The add-on mentality results in limited functionalities and a lack of customization features for more complex use cases. Here are the most common pitfalls of running digital promotions in a monolithic setup:

1. Limited features for promotions and loyalty programs

Monolithic commerce software typically offers a fixed set of marketing features with limited customization options. If you need specific functionality, your development team may need several weeks or even months to develop it, if it is feasible at all. Lack of specialization in promotions and loyalty programs may result in missing out on key features for personalization and budget management. Additionally, monolithic providers tend not to upgrade promotion features as frequently as other software components.

2. Integration difficulties

Developing a comprehensive customer journey is nearly impossible with limited integration capabilities. The result is easy to predict – an oversimplified and uninspiring experience for the customer, suboptimal rewards schemes, and ineffective management of offers within an enterprise context

3. Slow time-to-market

Monolithic software often suffers from slow shipping speed, which can be attributed to various factors, such as design limitations imposed by legacy frameworks and a limited feature set. Frontend changes may require modifications in the database and backend code, leading to increased testing time and overall costs. Moreover, backend changes can cause unexpected errors in the frontend, further complicating the development process. This can cause disruption between the marketing and development teams, leading to mutual misunderstandings and costly delays. 

The benefits of a MACH-compliant Promotion Engine

Why should you care about having a MACH-compliant Promotion Engine powering your customer incentives? There are plenty of benefits that brands reap from switching to an API-first and MACH-certified promotions provider:

1. Omnichannel capabilities

Decoupling the frontend from the backend provides greater flexibility in choosing the frontend platform, enabling brands to run omnichannel promotions and loyalty programs. In comparison to an out-of-the-box monolithic solution, headless promotion software offers more options and flexibility in terms of features and frontend selection. By adopting an API-first approach, promotion platforms can seamlessly connect to any existing or future distribution platform, enhancing scalability and adaptability.

Omnichannel capabilities with API-first Promotion Engine

2. Unparalleled agility

Adopting a headless Promotion Engine offers significant agility. When it comes to quickly changing campaign rules or rewards, brands no longer need to develop a new set of rules and ask the tech team to support them along the way. Instead, companies can accomplish this with a few clicks on a dashboard or through a few lines of API requests. The API will change the backend logic, eliminating the need to wait for the changes to take effect during the next release round. The modifications will be active immediately and effective across all platforms, including mobile, desktop, and other API-supported devices. This eliminates the need to alter incentives for each device or version, offering a significant competitive edge in today’s market.

3. Faster time-to-market

A MACH-certified Promotion Engine is full of dedicated, out-of-the-box features that enable enterprises to swiftly launch campaigns within minutes upon completing the initial API integration. This agile approach allows businesses to capitalize on market opportunities promptly and broaden their operations by entering new markets or targeting previously untapped segments. One such example is TIER Mobility which managed to cut down its campaign time to market by 70% by switching to a MACH-compliant promotion platform. 

Success Stories

See how TIER Mobility reduced campaign time-to-market by 70% using a MACH-first Promotion Engine

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When is the right time to migrate to a MACH-certified Promotion Engine?

The answer to that question is tomorrow, but the second best is as soon as possible. But we live in a complicated world with complicated solutions. Deciding when to migrate to a MACH-certified Promotion Engine depends on several factors, such as your business needs, future goals, and growth plans. 

You should consider a migration to a MACH-compliant promotions provider if:

  • Your current promotion solution can’t keep up with your business's growing demands and new use cases. 
  • Your existing system is too complex and difficult to maintain, constantly slowing you down and preventing your marketing teams from running campaigns they want to.
  • You plan to expand to new channels and touchpoints – a MACH-certified promotion platform can help you easily integrate and manage your promotions across multiple channels and devices.
  • You want to improve your customer experience with personalized and targeted promotions that enhance your customers' shopping experience, leading to increased engagement, loyalty, and revenue.

Ultimately, the decision to migrate to a MACH-certified Promotion Engine should be based on a thorough evaluation of your current system's capabilities, limitations, and overall performance, as well as your business goals and growth plans.

How Breville grows their digital brand with MACH-compliant promotions? 

Breville is a renowned global brand recognized for a vast range of innovative household appliances, particularly blenders and coffee machines. With a strong international presence spanning across 70 countries, Breville is the leader in the home appliances industry.

Breville was in need of a comprehensive promotional solution that could handle all promotion-related activities, from campaign generation to management and reporting. The over-reliance on the development team was a significant expense. It also prevented Breville's marketing team from running campaigns they wanted, ultimately resulting in a subpar customer experience and negative financial impact on the company. Even though Breville was running on commercetools, they soon learned that their commerce-oriented solution did not offer extensive promotion and loyalty capabilities. This is where microservices-based architecture came into play, allowing Breville to easily integrate an external Promotion Engine to build personalized marketing campaigns fast and at scale. 



Now, Breville’s team uses the full power of the Voucherify Rules Engine by personalizing campaigns with customer purchase history, cart content, product information, and budget – use cases difficult or impossible to recreate in the standalone commercetools engine.


Ready to take the next step?

Switch to a MACH-compliant Promotion Engine for free


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