Marketing landscape has evolved and shapeshifted immensely in the past years. Every day, new tools and technologies emerge, bringing a whole new world of possibilities to marketing teams. The diversity of today’s marketing technology (martech) is patent on the famous Marketing Technology Landscape from ChiefMarTec – the 2018 edition reached the mind-boggling number of 6,829 marketing technology solutions from 6,242 unique marketing technology vendors.
With this scenario, it’s natural that marketers are stressing to keep up with each innovation that comes into play. While a typical marketing department is already dealing with an average of 15 different technologies, the numbers can get close to 100 in larger companies: from Content Management Systems (CMS) to Customer Relationship Management (CRM), through marketing automation platforms, and various forms of advertising, data management, reporting and analytics platforms. To avoid the technology magnitude from taking over your marketing department and to keep the focus on marketing effectiveness, we’ve gathered 5 key tips for smarter martech choices.
1. Chose only what fits your needs
It’s a fact, technology can do almost anything nowadays. From AI and chatbots to AR and video platforms, there’s always a software or an app to support – or take the lead of - each idea that comes from the creative minds of marketers. And this is great, because it gives the opportunity to develop innovative approaches to prospects and consumers. But do you really need to try every new thing that comes into play?
Look into the example of Augmented Reality. It’s easy to get excited with the potentialities of the technology but unless you see the applicability on your own business, it’s probably not worth the investment. The same for investing in an advance video technology when you don’t have the resources or content to develop it further. The only reason why you should invest in technology is when - and if - it solves an identified need or goal. Keeping a clear focus on your business goals and marketing strategy is crucial when assessing which technologies to adopt. If you don’t really need it, or you still don’t know exactly what to do with it, then don’t take it – no matter how good the recommendations or how convincing their sales pitch sounded.
2. Weed out everything that doesn’t bring results
Just like technology is often adopted for the wrong reasons, companies sometime also get stuck with a less-then-perfect solution just because they got used to it. Let’s say you already have these huge marketing technology silos that are driving your marketers crazy, because of the unrelated processes, long approval chains, huge amounts of data and so many other issues that can be traced back to technology overload. It’s definitely time for a clean-up! Assess all your marketing tools and platforms to unveil the pros and cons of each and every one of them, and check for any existing gaps. For example, while Web Content Management systems (WCMS) might be great for collaborative authoring, they don’t shine when it comes to teams’ organization and planning needed for asset creation. On the other hand, when it comes to supervising resources, budgets and deadlines, there’s nothing like a good project management solution, with the downside that they are designed for organization and control and not to its actual execution. After putting everything into balance and weighing your options, keep only the technology that fits like it was tailored for you, improves the processes, is cost efficient and makes your marketing team productive.
3. Take your time to implement and really use the tools
You, like so many others before, might want to load up on technology, being tempted by the “new & improved” tags it comes with. But never lose sight from why you’re actually bringing these tools on board - to make your daily activities smoother and more efficient. For that to happen, you have to take your time. Implement them correctly, train your team, learn how to use all the features they provide and only then, they can really unfold and work their magic. By not rushing the process you will learn to utilize everything a tool has to offer making other complementary solutions obsolete and that’s not only cost effective but also productive.
4. Plan ahead, for long-term success
When focusing on your business strategy and real needs, don’t lose sight of your mid/long-term strategy. If you plan to expand to a new market, or start developing your online sales, this needs to be taken into account when choosing a CRM platform or migrate to a new CMS. Keep your roadmap and priorities well established and transparent to all stakeholders. Technology should be seen as a long-term investment, able to evolve and grow together with your business.
Just as important is the need to anticipate systems and data integration. One of the most common problems with technology overload is the lack of communication between systems – the famous silos. Assessing in advance how each process interacts with or impacts others is a good start to avoid additional development costs, time and resources.
5. Don’t forget the human factor
Despite technological advances, marketing still relies on actual people, with a strong component of creativity and personal touch. It’s vital that you find technologies that adapt their needs and not the other way around. Aim for that unique blend of functionalities and user-friendly interface that helps marketing teams stay productive and secure, while making sure communication is as fluent as possible. On the customer front, don’t forget they should be the ultimate reason for all your marketing investments. From contact forms and online surveys to focus groups and 1:1 interviews, there are several ways to get inputs from your prospects and clients to what they need before starting to build out your marketing technology stack.