Investing in Strategic Assets: Marketing Technology

Inbound Marketing technology has quickly become an asset that needs to be strategic and analyzed. This technology needs to meet your online business marketing needs effectively to be deemed worthwhile. You should research the capabilities of the marketing technology you're leaning towards to ensure it's a good fit for your business.

You need to strategically choose a martech solution because it often impacts business groups beyond the marketing team. IT, Corporate Communications, and Sales can all be affected if the technology has a broad use. Thus, it's important to analyze which solution will perform best for all business departments involved. 

In your journey to finding a martech solution for your business, there's a good chance you'll be drawn to solutions claiming to be "all-in-one." Be wary of such claims. In reality, most businesses employ many vendors to provide the best services to them or their B2B clients.  

Marketing Technology 101   

Marketing technology can help your enterprise increase revenue and its client base. However, there are many things you need to consider and strategize about before you pull out that company credit card.  

1. Alignment: Before you find a martech solution, there needs to be alignment between the business' strategic vision and desired outcomes. Unfortunately, many companies purchase a solution without having a proper plan for it. To avoid a disjointed strategy, start by identifying the strategic plan of the whole business. Once that has been accomplished, create a marketing technology strategy that supports the overall business objectives. Only then can you pick a solution. According to a CMO study, "42% of senior marketers who define and own their martech strategy see a greater business impact than those who do not." Don't be left floundering in the middle of your marketing mess. Have a strategy in place to help guide your decisions. 

2. Use high-level workflows during the selection process: A big mistake companies make is choosing a marketing technology after observing it work with a general workflow. Vendors usually provide demos which showcase the technology's generic use. However, it's best to try the marketing technology with a high-level workflow first. In doing so, you can be certain the product will meet your specialized needs at a business level. If you create a high-level workflow to try, the vendor should be able to work it into the demo. It's better to ensure those needs are met first during the selection process rather than after the product has been purchased.  

3. Keep change in mind: Marketing technology is constantly changing as business needs evolve. What works for your business now may not five years down the road. It hard for industry experts to predict what direction technology will go in and what marketing teams will need in the future. Therefore, it's crucial to have an exit strategy prepared. If your martech stack is no longer meeting your needs, it's time to cut some strings. Thus, you should know if your vendor contract has any flexibility. You should also clarify who exactly owns the data in each solution, the difficulty involved with replacing a solution, and how removal would affect the rest of your martech stack. With these questions in mind, you'll be able to select a marketing technology solution that can be easily replaced if need be.  

4. Partner up: The words confusing, complex, and chaotic all describe the initial use of a new marketing technology. You don't know what you're doing, but you're getting rapid fire questions about capabilities and metrics. You need assistance, plain and simple. You need a pillar to lean on who you can come to when you don't know where to go for answers. Having internal or external partnerships will increase your knowledge of the new technology and help you manage risk. Internally, you can look to IT to help with back-end maintenance, privacy, security, etc. Externally, you can approach third party experts for a fresh perspective. They'll be able to provide you with insights regarding implementation approaches, giving you advice for crafting a more suitable strategy.  

5. Agree on an implementation strategy: When the vendor first demoed the product to you and your team, it was in an ideal environment. Every variable was controlled and cooperative. When you're ready to roll out the technology in everyday business operations, the ideal environment will be long gone. Instead, you'll be faced with a maze of roadblocks you didn't consider. Your IT department can spend hours or even days trying to rectify the situation. While you're finalizing your implementation strategy, it's important to consider any challenges that may pop up and proposed solutions for them.  

Marketing technology can benefit your business and raise it to the next level. Before you decide on a martech solution, you should have an alignment strategy in place. When considering a product, keep change in mind and demo high-level workflows. Once you have the technology, find a partner to help you navigate it, and finalize a strategy for a smooth rollout.