How to Identify Technology Tools That Your Team Will Actually Use
Scott Brinker, computer programmer, entrepreneur and Chief Marketing Technologist at chiefmartec, created a martech landscape slide called Martech 5000. It is named after the 5,000 companies that are competing in the marketing technology space in 2017.
Brinker has since updated it with an additional 2,000 vendors, bringing the total of marketing technology companies up to 7,000 — all competing your CMO attention.
The growth of marketing technology companies is explained by the fact that marketing technology is now the biggest portion (29 percent) of total marketing budget for a lot of companies, according to Gartner. CMOs are spending more on technology than talent.
Marketing and technology are more intertwined than ever before so marketers are more intentional about which software they use. They can no longer just focus on the hottest tools in the market or avoid using any tools at all, simply because they can’t choose.
In this article we will go through how you can identify marketing technology tools that your team can use to build a powerful marketing stack.
Your MarTech Stack is All About Strategy
A MarTech (marketing technology) stack is essentially a group of technologies that marketers use to execute, analyze and hone their marketing throughout the customer lifecycle. Stacks are created at the project, team or functional level and are used, almost daily, to collaborate, to measure the impact of marketing initiatives and to reach customers in new ways.
How do marketing leaders usually build their marketing stacks?
As a leader, when you are looking for technology to fill a need, the first thing you have your team do is research different options. They will immediately head to Google or G2 Crowd to compare features and pricing, right? Then they might go ahead with a free trial to see if it’s a good fit. You’re team is not alone: 94 percent of people buy software this way.
There’s nothing wrong with that method as long as you realize that it’s just a marketing technology tool that you’re trying out. You also need to include strategy in your method. What do we mean by that?
You can compare various software by their features, that’s perfectly fine. However, the value of any software lies in the strategy and approach it provides or activates.
In other words, strategy is the foundation of a marketing stack.
Your marketing stack should reflect who you are as a team or company, the goals you are trying to reach and your target market. Without a strategy that identifies those things, your marketing stack will just be a mismatch of tools that will confuse your team and derail your marketing efforts.
Which marketing technology tools should you include in your marketing stack?
The first step to figuring out which technology you should include in your marketing stack is to review your marketing processes and figure out how your team operates. Identify areas where you lack processes and where you need to do things differently. The technology you choose should be based on that information.
Once you have mapped the process out, you’ll have a better understanding of the tools you need for your team or company.
To sum it up, MarTech is all about building a strategy and then finding the right technology that enables or helps execute that strategy.
To Build or To Buy?
Many marketing leaders are confused not only about which technologies to include in their marketing stack; but also whether they should build or buy certain technologies.
Well, that depends on many things…
Let’s look at a few examples of well-known companies to break down the advantages to building or buying certain technologies.
Spotify builds their own tools. Why? Because they’re a tech company, which means that their technology tools are integrated fully into their app, their customer experience and the client. They don’t need to fuse different third-party tools together in an effort to personalize.
That strategy gives them a competitive advantage (plus, they can afford it). In fact, companies should only build their own software if it would give them a competitive advantage and if they are building a large business that can cover the cost of a proprietary system.
For example, let’s say a business is considering building their own video creation software or they want to make videos the old fashioned way, i.e., lots of hours of input. That strategy only makes sense if it would give them a competitive advantage or if they have the budget to cover it. Most companies don’t go with that option. In fact, many Fortune 500 companies buy video creation software from Lumen5, even though they have the capability to build their own.
All in all, under the majority of circumstances, businesses are better off buying rather than building. Smaller businesses in particular may benefit more from buying.
Let’s say you have a limited budget. Building custom software isn’t cheap. Already available solutions are less expensive so it makes sense for a smaller company, or a company with a limited budget, to go with the buying option.
Other reasons why some companies don’t buy is that they do not have a strong enough software team to successfully build custom software. In that case, they buy the software now and hold off on building a more personalized software until they have a strong enough team.
Also keep in mind that building custom software takes a lot of time. If your company doesn’t have the time to build one, you should go with the buy option.
In addition to choosing the right technology that will help you execute your marketing strategy, you need to ensure your team will receive proper training to use the software correctly. This is made clear by Clay Stobaugh, Wiley’s executive Vice President CMO. He says that the challenge is not necessarily getting the right tools to the right people but making sure you have a training foundation so that your marketing folks can use the tools. That then helps build their careers as well as improve the company’s business performance.
For example, Wiley introduced the Marketing Revenue Center as a place for employees to receive training in customer experience, CRM, social media, content marketing and SEO/SEM. They receive internal certifications in those fields and in other disciplines.
Here’s what they got out of that program: Wiley managers can use certifications as a head hunting tool to find employees with the skills they need in their department. That in turn gives employees a more promising career path. A win-win.
This is why we, here at Lumen5, offer Enterprise Support with dedicated training for those on our custom team plans. It’s all in an effort to ensure that your teams are set up for success.
Tools, technology and training are all big parts of any marketing stack. But let’s not forget that creativity is the fuel in any marketing stack.
According to Stobaugh, “Yes, you need to know the brand and be fluent in it, and you have to stay on top of all the digital stuff,” Stobaugh said. “But I get concerned because a lot of people in marketing have the digital stuff down pat, but they don’t have the creativity.”
You could go a step further and argue that technology stifles creativity: in the sense that it turns marketers into machines that slowly lose their creative spark.
In identifying technology tools that your team will actually use, you need to remember that those tools cannot and will not replace creativity.
Ready to add tools to your marketing stack?
Keep this in mind throughout the process: think strategy first, and then identify technology that enables you to execute that strategy. You simply cannot have one without the other (and in that order), if you want to succeed.