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The Power Of Martech Unleashed
Thinking about implementing marketing technology tools to optimize the customer experience? Don't wait too long, advises columnist Mary Wallace -- the time to adapt is now.
Martech guru Scott Brinker’s Marketing Technology landscape supergraphic expanded significantly from 2014 to 2015. The density is overwhelming. With 1,876 products in 43 categories, it’s almost like being in Boston last winter — so much snow and no clear-cut path toward what to do with it.
Marketing technology is software. The optimization of finding, understanding, managing and converting leads is the software’s purpose.
The software can reside anywhere: apps, SaaS (software as a service) solutions, or internally installed. Marketing automation, content management, and data management services are a few examples of marketing technology tools.
Just because there is amazing growth of marketing technology products does not automatically mean the tools will provide business value for you. What it does mean is that the marketing function is changing.
Technology (the Internet) has given buyers freedom. Large media organizations have lost their audiences. Buyers can now do their own research at their own pace without reaching out to a salesperson. As buyers are staying hidden longer, the role of marketing in the organization is expanding to encompass more of the buying process.
Marketing is also being held accountable for building pipeline and revenue growth. With CMOs moving into the boardroom, quantifiable data must be available at all levels to track results.
Technology Is Empowering The Marketing Evolution
Managing the increased responsibility and complexity of marketing requires new tools and processes. Hence the rise of the marketing technology (martech) topic and the large playing field for innovation.
Heinz Marketing’s Matt Heinz says it best in a 6sense webinar:
It’s not about the tool; it’s about the problem it’s solving.
Focus on the problem that needs solving, not on selecting a tool that does something really cool.
Martech can solve a wide variety of challenges that marketing organizations are facing:
- Uncovering and communicating with the right prospects;
- Streamlined lead flow from generation through sale;
- Quantitative understanding of performance, what is working, and what needs fixing;
- The right content, at the right time, to the right lead;
- Better manage owned, earned and purchased media.
The list of challenges could go on and on.
Integrate’s Scott Vaughan summarizes marketing’s challenges into two uber categories: Marketing must directly contribute to the sales pipeline, new customer acquisition and revenue. At the same time, customers expect a personalized experience that makes it easy to interact and transact with your company, products and people.
Martech makes these two parallel goals possible.
Selecting the right martech tool requires an in-depth understanding of the specific problems you’re trying to solve. It is a business issue — not a technical need. For example: “We need to better understand social media impact,” or “We need to better target unknown leads.” The problem is not, “We need Google Analytics to track traffic.”
All stakeholders should agree on the requirements up front. The best way to do this is with a document. Word or PowerPoint are great options for drafting the document. The responsibility for creating the document can reside with the IT organization, the marketing organization, or both.
Document the overlay of processes, ownership and technology within the marketing organization with a blueprint. The blueprint is like the architectural drawing for a large building. It shows the flow of all systems in the structure and how they interrelate.
The Threefold Benefit Of Reviewing The Blueprint
Reviewing the requirements and the blueprint has a threefold benefit.
Need validation — Confirm the real source of the need to ensure root cause resolution and not just a Band-Aid on the symptoms.
Strategy alignment — The requirements need to align with the overall strategy. There is no value if the need being addressed is not aligned with what the organization is trying to accomplish. Technology enables the strategy — it is not the strategy itself. So stay true to your strategy.
Solution value — Just because a tool looks really interesting or it’s extremely innovative doesn’t mean it will provide value. In fact, it can have just the opposite effect: wasting time, money and other valuable resources.
Martech Helps Orgs Build Pipelines, Drive Revenue
The right marketing technology tools optimize the customer experience and drive revenue. The organization (IT or marketing) responsible for implementation is not important. What is important, is that the time is now: Without marketing technology, business will not adapt to the ever-increasing changes in the buying cycle.
Waiting too long to begin puts the business at a strategic disadvantage. As with any evolution, those that don’t adapt will eventually become extinct.
The same holds true for businesses that don’t adapt to the changes in customer behavior and expectations. The key is to understand that change is happening and it does have a strategic impact.
Look for tools that align with where you’re going and what you need. Then select the tool that best fits your need.
Some opinions expressed in this article may be those of a guest author and not necessarily MarTech Today. Staff authors are listed here.