- Learn to navigate the extensive marketing technology landscape.
- Apply practical steps to your company’s marketing technology strategy.
- Is it time to revolutionize your company's marketing technology stack?
Marketing technology has been around for a while now, but recently there has been an explosion of solution offerings. You can find everything from one-off specialization systems to an all-in-one interfaces. Martech enthusiasts already know there are over 4,000 options, and that has been an exponential increase from 2015. What we might not know is the choice paradox states: Too many options has a negative effect on satisfaction. This occurs because too many options increases time and effort spent on decisions, which leads to increased anxiety, larger expectations, and self-blame. Ouch...
Long story short, more isn't always better. Most likely, marketing managers are currently experiencing migraines while swimming in the extensive amount of marketing technology selections. So, until the industry undergoes some consolidation, how do you create an optimal marketing technology stack for your company?
No one enjoys change, especially technological change. The strongest core for a successful technology onboarding is peer support. Present the CXO with the business case of "The new addition of Martech "X" will save money and increase revenue by "X"." Define this extrapolation based on time saved due to task oriented automation, and new leads generated. If you can provide proof of ROI, it's harder to turn down. Hubspot has developed an excellent calculator to emphasize potential return.
Run through each level of the organization and find the champions: VP, director, managers, and especially users. Of course, that's not all, discover which departments will be directly influenced by the change and approach them as well: finance, marketing, customer support, sales, and technical support. It is essential for every department to work cohesively to create a seamless, high-quality experience for customers. You need advocates who are willing to promote the new technological choice. Social Influence is a powerful tool whether it is unintentional or not.
Requirements & Needs
Why is marketing software underutilized by average users? Because teams fail to define the scope of their projects appropriately. If the team is too small to devote adequate time using the software, they will never realize its full potential. Before making a technology decision accurately define current capabilities, requirements, skill sets, and external obligations. Don't forget to put emphasis on future goals; ask the question, is the ability to scale a critical aspect?
There isn't one marketing technology that will match every specification you are looking for. It’s about creating an ecosystem that interacts with everyone who has so much of a glint of interest, all the way to paying customers. So, while evaluating solutions create a list of must have features, desired features, and attributes that you could live without. Then ask yourself, do these traits support my ability to achieve key marketing goals? Don't be afraid to challenge the underlying need of a feature; thoroughly qualify that each attribute belongs on your list.
Pick no more than three to five solutions that match the previous business requirements you identified. Then align those with the internal requirements of your team (budget, size, integration capability, needs) and whittle the options down to two. Almost every sales and marketing technology offer a demo and free trial, take them up on that offer! You only get one chance to pick the right technology before you lose peer support. During the demo, ask questions when they arise, don't wait. Avoid getting hung up on small nuances so that you have enough time to use all the solution's features before a trial ends. Most importantly, don’t fall for “vapor ware” features and functionalities that are promised but not available in current versions. The statement "our team is implementing that feature shortly" is promised by many an overzealous sales rep without any real timeline for a release.
Awesome, you’ve discovered a new marketing technology to add to your stack. What's next?
- Tune & Adjust
Start with a technology road map team of interested parties. Handle these individuals as a control group that tests the product before releasing to the full company. Together, complete all the setup and work out any bugs in the system before delivering it to your teams. Any errors in a new software roll out will automatically create doubt within the organization. Validate the decision process that got you to this point and plan for potential challenges. Nothing goes according to plan, just remember your process and adjust it based on data relevant to the marketing goals.
Be ready to answer these four critical project questions after everything's said and done:
- What was successful?
- What needs improvement?
- How was the experience for each department?
- How can I make the project better next time around?
Too often marketing tools are left misused. Prepare your due diligence, dig deeper, and not only understand what the issues are but why they were problems in the first place. Analytics should be prepared and used to determine whether the project success criteria have been met.
Real World Example
Matrix Marketing Group has implemented a rock solid, closed loop sales and marketing technology stack. Every marketing team requires a personalized software stack for efficiency, but we have a favorite combination that has proven to stand above the crowded market.
Outreach structures outbound email campaigns. It allows for personalized correspondence with prospects and email analysis to let us know which campaigns are achieving goals and which ones need to be enhanced. A majority of the activity generated is directing towards our website. The outbound activity is most often cold-emailing or reinvigorating old leads that need to be renewed. Outreach is the start of our sales and marketing cycle.
A powerful marketing stack middleman. Hubspot controls web appearance and anything associated with an inbound marketing strategy. They have created a marketing hub for inbound email marketing, web content management, digital analytics, and marketing automation. The core product offering is inbound marketing, but their team continuously develops new add-ons: PPC Management, Advanced Reporting, and Hubspot Sales. The website COS is slightly pricey compared to many web hosts, but its ability to create a dynamically changing site based on visitor data is well worth the monthly fee.
The connecting piece of this software stack is Salesforce CRM, and it integrates seamlessly with Hubspot and Outreach. Once leads have been active enough on the website, they are sent along to the sales team to be qualified or brought back to Outreach for additional lead nurturing. Salesforce provides unlimited features and upgrades to keep the sales process running smoothly.
These are just our largest pieces of software, there are another 20 tools we utilize within our system that fill in hyper-focused and targeted gaps. What optimal marketing technology stack have you created for your company? Did you get the results you were hoping for or was the project's scope readjusted throughout the process?