There are a lot of Marketing Technology (MarTech) suppliers out there, all making big promises about disruption, engagement and profit. But which one do you choose? What will work for your business? Our Chief Technology Officer, Martin Paton, gives a brief overview of the questions you should be asking.
Where does your marketing budget go? A decade or so ago it might have been spent on large print runs, newspaper advertising or maybe a TV ad if you had the money. Nowadays it’s obvious where many of us are spending our budgets - MarTech.
According to Gartner, MarTech now accounts for almost one-third (29%) of marketing budgets. That’s up from 22% in 2017. Put simply, it’s the single largest area of investment for those seeking the advantages of the digital realm.
The jungle of choice
There are over 7,000 MarTech solutions available (just take a look at the famous Scott Brinker graphic below), so nobody can complain about the lack of choice available. But with great variety comes great responsibility: how can you be sure you’re sinking your budget into the right place?
It can prove very costly for CMOs if they don’t invest wisely and strategically. There’s the danger of buying all-singing, all-dancing tech when all you really need is a simple tune. Marketing leaders say their organisations only use, on average, 61% of their MarTech stack’s capabilities*.
It is therefore necessary to understand the MarTech landscape and how to select the best solution for your organisation and your customers. Whilst most marketers don’t have in-depth knowledge of APIs or cloud-based web services, many do have a strategic mindset. So strategy is a good place to start.
Begin with strategy
Before you reach for the MarTech catalogue, take the time to consider your business needs. What problem are you trying to tackle, or which opportunity do you want to maximise?
Whether you’re looking to attract new customers, support retention or create efficiency, understanding your business need is the key to all that follows. Being clear on your goals and KPIs will mitigate the risk of buying technology for technology’s sake – making a decision based on your customer or company needs instead.
People first. Technology second. We say it all the time at AmazeRealise but it really is a necessity when it comes to choosing MarTech. Let your customer needs and business objectives drive your decisions around technology, not the technology itself.
Understand the impact
It might sound obvious, but technology doesn’t define the process, or automatically improve the customer experience. You need to set up the process and people behind the tool in order for it to work.
Take something that seems simple – collecting and displaying online product reviews. You need to make sure there’s a strategy and process in place to ensure this integration is positive and enhances the customer experience.
How do you collect the reviews? How does this touch point fit in with your existing comms programme? Which departments need to be involved? Who will be monitoring the reviews for trolls and sweary language? What happens when you get negative reviews? How do you draw insights from the reviews to improve your service or product?
Add another five pertinent questions to this list and you get the idea – nothing is simple.
But answering all these questions will help you make better decisions further down the line. It will also help you to determine the scale of the tool you should be adding to your shortlist.
To deliver the seamless experiences consumers expect, marketing has to break down silos and connect different disciplines. Prioritise suppliers that support these endeavors and get them to prove how they will help you optimise ways of working to exploit the capabilities they offer.
Do your research and ask questions
Once you understand the problem you’re trying to tackle, you now need to narrow down your selection. Talk to peers. Complete desk based research. Use your agencies as a sounding board. Indeed, we’ve recently been advising a major energy and utility company and global industrial giant on their MarTech and have been able to provide an objective view based on our experience that’s led to smart decisions.
Meet with vendors and be ready to ask more questions. Here’s ten that they should be able to answer and will indicate whether they’ll be a good fit with your culture and work ethos. The answers should also allow you to plan beyond the integration to think about support, maintenance and product roadmaps.
- How will your technology support me meeting my desired outcomes, objectives and KPIs?
- How will your technology integrate with my existing marketing technology stack?
- What support do you give during integration?
- Will there be a dedicated resource to support with the integration?
- How do you handle issues – both during, and following integration?
- What resources do we need at our end, in preparation, during and after integration, to make it a success?
- How does your company align with our culture and working practices?
- What is your product roadmap? How often do you release new features, and how does that affect older versions of the product?
- What is the ongoing cost for support and maintenance? And how do you manage post-launch support?
- Is it possible to complete a proof of concept or short pilot to test the tool, and its integration?
And if they can’t answer these questions? Well…. there are many, many more options out there.
Yes MarTech is a maze. And the abundance of choice means selecting the right tool for the job isn’t easy, even for those of us who work in this space every day. The good news is that you can apply your marketing mind to the problem. Think strategic. Think ahead. And make sure vendors give you the reassurance that they’re the right fit for your organisation and its needs.
We can help you when it comes to choosing MarTech. Get in touch with our experts by filling in the form below.
*Gartner’s 2018 Marketing Technology Survey