3 ways to ensure your marketing technology stacks up
Putting together a marketing technology stack can be exciting, but with so many vendors and so much functionality, it can also be overwhelming. Columnist Jim Yu has some advice to guide your tool selection.
The Marketing Technology Landscape has now reached nearly 5,000 vendors, with options to suit a wide range of marketer needs. Depending on your point of view, the number of new vendors and tools available — which grew by 40 percent within just one year — is either incredibly exciting or very daunting.
According to Foundation Capital, technology spend by CMOs will increase 10x in the next 10 years, from $12 billion to $120 billion. For the CMO and digital marketers tasked with developing a marketing stack, this can be anxiety-provoking; the landscape is overcrowded and fragmented. Benefits of various vendors may appear to flirt across categorical needs, providing all-encompassing but spotty support.
And with so many options available, it’s easy for marketers to get confused.
Rather than spending hours walking through product demos, many marketers are either choosing to stick with the same tried-and-true marketing stack or brazenly adopting the “latest and greatest” technologies, regardless of their fit with the existing stack or department needs.
It’s more important than ever that marketers take a thoughtful approach to building the marketing stack. The digital realm in which brands compete is projected to become significantly more congested. Marketers must strategically engineer their marketing stack with a host of solutions that navigate through the noise and deliver solid ROI.
In this article, I share three simple tips to help ensure your marketing technology decisions stack up.
1. Visualize your stack and get a holistic view of your technology landscape
Before even getting to the detail of which tools and platforms to include in your marketing stack, it’s advantageous to step over to the whiteboard and engineer your marketing stack.
The team at Cisco (above) has designed a marketing stack with a circular flow that is partitioned off by customers, partners, sellers and data operators. Wiley, on the other hand, takes the approach of assigning technology to specific strategies, like social media and lead generation.
Digital marketers are beginning to hone their focus on the online channels that best attract, engage and convert the right customers. Do not fall prey to thinking of these platforms as individual tools. Rather, match the capabilities of these tools to key marketing and digital trends that feed into the greater strategy of what your marketing operation looks to accomplish.
Hence, it is also important to ensure you understand what you currently have. This includes doing a complete audit of your current technology providers to ensure your current investments are providing the return on marketing investment (ROMI) required from them.
This includes looking at:
- platform usage versus license agreements and numbers.
- upgrades versus incremental performance.
- functionality and ease of use.
- speed and reliability.
- point vendors (tools) versus comprehensive solutions (platforms).
- workflow (process) versus performance (reporting and analytics) solutions.
- wider company adoption versus siloed departmental usage.
- onboarding, training and ongoing support.
- integration and multi-functional reporting.
- data sources (first-, second- and third-party sources) versus data accuracy.
2. Use data as the source of truth that powers your marketing stack
Digital marketers now have access to more data than ever before to help them understand how their marketing performs and stacks up to their competition. By leveraging both historical and real-time data, digital marketers can discover what technology will perform best for them.