Chances are your Marketing organization, like so many others, is as Gartner suggests, “extraordinarily dependent on technology.” The average company regularly utilizes 20+ Marketing Technology (Martech) solutions. Today the Marketing technology landscape consists of 5,381 solutions! It takes a significant investment to purchase, support and use this technology. A year ago, as much as 27% of the Marketing budget was allocated toward Martech. This year, Gartner predicts the Martech line item in the Marketing budget will decline by 15% as the C-Suite pressures Marketing to prove returns. According to the Transforming Marketing Through Technology and Analytics study, nearly 60% of marketers say they don’t get the most out of the Martech they have. What is the hurdle? This study, like many others, suggested that the most difficult Marketing challenge is “quantifying the effect that marketing efforts have on new sales revenue, or creating/quantifying the most efficient cross-channel mix possible to drive results.”
The C-Suite plays a critical role in Marketing’s success with technology. The Leapfrog Marketing Institute’s annual digital benchmark study posits that the C-suite is driving organizational transformation as the need increases for businesses to become more digital and customer-centric. As a member of the C-Suite in order for your company to adapt and succeed in the rapidly changing digital and customer-centric world, you need your Marketing team to lead the way.
Here’s how you can help make your Martech investments payoff:
- Insure Marketing and Business Alignment. Aligning Marketing objectives to the business is vital to demonstrating Marketing’s focus on strategic contributions. This alignment starts with the Marketing plan. Take a moment to review the plan with your team to make sure it directly links the work and investment of Marketing to the desired business results. The Marketing plan needs to be more than a list of what Marketing intends to produce, the cost and timing.
- Focus Success on Effectiveness Rather Than Efficiency. Many Martech solutions are designed to help your Marketing team do something faster. Faster is good if they are already doing the right initiatives to create and add value to the organization. Ask your Marketing team to tie the value of their Martech to more than productivity and cost-savings. Connect Martech performance to improving revenue generating processes designed to affect your customer’s buying behavior.
- Require a business case for any new Martec purchase. A business case provides the analysis that demonstrates the value of a new investment as well as what it takes to properly staff and implement it. The business case should present what value the investment will produce and how, and include the performance targets that will be used to evaluate the investment.
What should a Martech request look like?
Poorly deployed technology can cost more than the initial outlay of cash. It can cost you goodwill with customers, time to market, and the successful adoption of products and services. It’s important to be sure that by implementing any kind of technology to reduce costs and gain process efficiencies you aren’t sacrificing overall customer satisfaction. This includes customer satisfaction at the front end of the buying process, such as product investigation and at the back end of the process post-purchase.
When your Marketing team brings a Martech investment request, ask them to include these four points in their presentation:
- Customer and market demand. Be sure it’s clear how this investment will help you increase customer acquisition, retention or growth. Having the Martech may be irrelevant if it won’t help you improve important business outcomes, such as market share, share of wallet, and customer lifetime value.
- Skill level. What are the skills needed to successfully implement and use the Martech, and how competent or proficient the is current team with these skills? If a successful implementation requires complex new skills, and if it is too time-consuming or costly to acquire that level of competence, it may be too soon for your organization to invest. The real investment may need to be in skills development. Think of the difference in knowing how to manually sand wood properly vs. buying a power sander that, without the proper skills and know how, will only result in damaging the wood.
- New technologies have a steep learning curve and can be costly. The adoption of a new technology may require reconfiguring processes or even adding new systems and training employees. Before embracing new Martech, make sure it’s clear how the investment will pay off.
- Critical mass. One of the risks in using new technologies is that they often have relatively poor performance in their initial incarnations. A key strategic factor to consider before deciding to adopt a new technology is whether there are enough suppliers in the market to make the adoption (including integration) easy, cost-effective, and user-friendly.
Deciding what Martech to deploy and when, doing the research and creating the business case, selecting the right suppliers, optimizing your manual processes before you automate them, and implementing change management, takes many resources. If your Marketing team is lean, or there is no one on the team with best practice expertise in some of these areas, or if you need a catalyst for change, or an objective point of view, consider bringing in a third party to help. Choose a company that has:
- Deep expertise in this specific area
- Pre-developed tools/templates/frameworks
- Experience working with other companies in your industry
- Knowledge transfer methodologies so that your team can implement best-practices for the relevant skills, change management, and communication going forward
- Relevant, satisfied customers as references