In the “Modernizing the Mix: Transforming Marketing through Technology and Analytics” report from DataXu, 78 percent of the respondents indicated that understanding Marketing Technology (MarTech) is an increasingly important skill. Unsurprisingly, the more important a task becomes, the more people it takes to do the trick. Today, most organizations claim to have at least one person on the Marketing team dedicated to managing MarTech. That doesn’t mean that every system is created equal. It is one of the tricks of the Marketing trade that there is a suitable MarTech platform available to meet just about any company’s requirements and budget. You just have to know how to use them.
There are no lack of gizmos, gadgets, and tools when it comes to MarTech. In his 2016 MarTech Landscape super graphic, Scott Brinker, program chair at MarTech Conference, editor at chiefmartec.com, and co-founder & CTO at Ion Interactive, identified 3,874 marketing technology solutions. Thankfully, he organized MarTech into six clusters:
- Advertising & Promotion
- Content & Experience
- Social & Relationships
- Commerce & Sales
Despite the proliferation of MarTech, many organizations are struggling with it, especially when it comes to employing it to improve marketing performance. Just three percent of marketers say they get full value out of their tools. Unfortunately, marketing technology won’t produce magic. Without basic skills and some practice, all you will have is a trunkful of props and potential.
Therefore, before your MarTech can perform on cue, you have to set the stage. Here are four basic reminders to help you successfully implement MarTech before we discuss using it to improve performance.
- Know what you are trying to achieve. It’s easy to become lured into choosing a flashy tool. However, before you leap, be sure you know what you are trying to accomplish. While all magic has an element of illusion, what you need to produce a credible slight-of-hand is very different from what you need to stage large-scale vanishing acts. Knowing what you want to reveal in your Marketing will help you select the right solution.
- All MarTech takes data. Read that again. All MarTech takes data. Whether it’s as simple as a list or something more complicated such as behavioral data, without data your tool will sit idle. To maximize MarTech, you need to know what data you want, how you will source it, how you will determine its quality, and who will maintain it and how.
- Plan for configuration. Providers are now making it possible to be almost instantaneously up and running with a MarTech solution. That does not mean, however, that it will be configured the way you need it to be. Configuration is the way a system is set up; so make sure you know what you want it to look like. After all, appearances are reality.
Take the time to map your process and identify the components and connections needed at each step. For a system to “be all that it can be,” it must be properly configured and deployed. We recommend taking a customer-centric approach to your configuration. Configure the system around how your customer finds, evaluates, selects, and buys, and uses your products.
- Practice your skills. Like magic, tools are essential to successful Marketing. Whether it’s something as effortless as a wave of a wand, or a more demanding feat such as the deception of reality, a real magician makes his career by improving his skills and craft, not by trial and error. Similarly, MarTech isn’t a replacement for solid Marketing skills.
Conjure Maximum Value out of Your Martech
The “State of Marketing Technology 2017” from Walker Sands found that the percentage of marketers who believe MarTech helps them perform better has increased from 58 percent to 69 percent year-over-year. This supports the claim that more and more marketers agree that the reason to invest in any kind of MarTech is to help Marketing deliver results that demonstrate value to the business. Nevertheless, in order to use a tool to conjure evidence of Marketing’s value, you need to be clear from the start how Marketing is going to prove its value and which metrics to use to do so. Knowing what constitutes success will help ensure your MarTech investment helps you achieve it.
MarTech solutions are all designed to support Marketing by helping find, keep, and grow the value of customers. When Marketing succeeds in working in conjunction with its tools, it is better able to achieve its purpose of positively impacting a business’ economic value. This is usually accomplished through increasing adoption rates, win rates, share of wallet, customer lifetime value, and market share. Therefore, one way or another, the MarTech solutions you choose must enable Marketing to effectively maximize its ability to achieve its purpose.
When MarTech works cohesively with Marketing it’s as if a spell has been cast. Overnight data seems to reveal actionable insights, and suddenly you can better demonstrate Marketing’s value to the business. Despite the useful data MarTech seems to materialize, mastering the technology is not going to be as simple as pulling a rabbit out of a hat. Like any great act, getting the show to run smoothly is going to take practice, maintenance, and research. A good place to start in order to make sure that you have a solid foundation and the tools of the trade is to download and read our white paper: Marketing Technology: The Power Tools for Optimizing Performance and Agility. Only once you have a strong knowledge of your craft are you able to amaze your audience with the results.