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How Martech Is Like Fantasy Football: Drafting The Right Players In 2016
Do you have the right martech in place to score this season? Columnist Scott Vaughan tells you how choose a winning team of technologies to impact your bottom line.
In the midst of football season, it’s budgeting time for marketers. For most, marketing automation has been bought and implemented already. According to Gleanster, 84 percent of top-performing companies reported using or planning to start using marketing automation between 2012 and 2015.
With the quarterback in place, organizations need strong wide receivers and running backs to ensure they have a strong, integrated team to make it over the goal line.
So what new big-ticket technology items will make the cut and into marketing budgets next year? The selection process is grueling, but no different from determining which players made Fantasy Football rosters this season.
Context Of Martech Landscape
It’s important to scope the field of vendors for key players before diving head first into individual solutions. A good place to start is by reviewing research firms and analyst reports to gain objective perspectives on the various players in the space.
Another resource is local vendor user groups or meet-ups, where you can network with like-minded marketers. These arenas provide access to customer-perspective information that will help align your needs with the right selection of tools for your business.
Industry influencers and experts are other critical reserves of information. Free high-quality information exists all over the web through influencer blogs and social media and networking platforms.
Don’t be afraid to call a time-out if you run into any questions — reach out to influencers with queries regarding specific marketing tools or strategies. These tailored insights go well beyond research reports or online content and can address your specific needs.
Once you’ve consulted with the experts, take a look at the trends. Just like reading ESPN and sports blogs, digging through recent M&A and funding news from the martech world provides valuable insight on where the industry is headed.
We see account-based marketing (ABM) making noise, as Demandbase acquired WhoToo and raised $30 million in financing. We also see a push toward predictive data, evidenced by EverString’s Series B funding round of $65M.
These moves came on the heels of large vendors buying up smaller data-centric companies to connect and personalize marketing efforts — including Oracle’s purchase of BlueKai and Acxiom’s buy of LiveRamp.
Drafting The Right Martech Players
With these industry movers and shakers in mind, it’s evident that marketers are seeking new approaches to connect the data they already have and tap into it for more effective marketing that yields new opportunities, retains happy customers and positively impacts the bottom line.
To draft a winning team in 2016, organizations should look to the following technology capabilities with star-player attributes:
• Predictive: It’s time for marketing to get smarter. Predictive capabilities arm organizations with the intelligence needed to pinpoint the best accounts to target and identify the tactics most likely to win them over.
With this information, marketers can focus their efforts on more high-value interactions that are grounded in a wealth of data.
• Website Personalization: Prospects and customers are simply sick of being bombarded with irrelevant messages from brands.
Increase the likelihood of closing a lead or retaining a customer by focusing on quality and relevant messaging, rather than quantity of communications.
• Data Cleansing/Appending: Many of the capabilities noted above are not possible without data integrity.
Embrace tools that sift out inaccurate, duplicate data and append additional insights to ensure marketing decisions are always well-informed.
• IP Targeting: With the adtech and martech worlds colliding, marketers have another tool in their toolbelts.
To best tap into the advertising world, place ads across exchanges and publishers, targeting only the IP addresses of companies on your account list. This prevents wasting ad budgets on impressions or clicks with unwanted companies.
• Outbound Demand Automation: Automated outbound demand generation technology enables you to engage the individual decision-makers at targeted companies with your thought leadership and other longer-form content.
Instead of relying on decision-makers to come to you, this player discovers where marketers are having relevant conversations, where you can then acquire their information and inject it into your marketing automation nurture tracks and CRM system.
• Measurement that Works: To justify budgeting on these new tools, marketers must be able to prove ROI.
Tap into automation and data management tools for a holistic picture of marketing efforts, ensuring real-time line of sight into results.
Tech Isn’t The Only Solution
While a solid team of technologies can win a game, a coach’s strategy is paramount for a successful season. The CMO’s coaching vision must ensure KPIs and benchmarks are set, integration among technologies is seamless and sales and marketing are locking arms for a cohesive plan.
Armed with the right tools and game plan, marketers are well on their way to the Super Bowl.
Some opinions expressed in this article may be those of a guest author and not necessarily MarTech Today. Staff authors are listed here.