Marketing Technology – Take time to plan and reduce execution risks.
Purchasing a marketing solution is very different from using the solutions. Sitting through various vendor pitches tough. Evaluating which solution best optimizes your technology stack is tough, too.
Adding capacity and actually managing marketing technology is the hard part. There’s far more to incorporating the technology than simply purchasing it. From purchase to implementation, these considerations should help you get the most for your investment:
- Organizational Readiness – Often development work, in the form of a business plan, is required. Do defined priorities and related road-map align with contract dates? It’s a waste to pay for something that can’t use yet because something like a brand promise is not approved yet.
- Dedicated Owner – It is important for any tool or SaaS platform to have an internal person assigned to champion the project. In some cases designating an outside consultant is best. A champion monitors performance, advocates for resources, and evangelizes how it helps. That person also continuously determines its value.
- Integration Needs – The vast majority of marketing technology tools don’t operate independently. They either require interaction with or feed other systems. It may serve as an anchor or as a tool that boosts an anchor’s performance. Before purchasing any tool, it is important to consider how it will fit in with the existing stack. Are off-the-shelf integrations available? Will your organization need to develop its own?
- Quality of Input – If you have a tool that automates paid search bidding, make sure your website analytics and attribution data are being used. For most companies this means, at a minimum, making sure Google Analytics is working on your website.
- Staff Expertise – Do you have people on staff who have the expertise to actually use a tool? If not, are you willing to train them? Or should you hire someone with those skills already in place? A qualified consultant can also supplement staff expertise. Consultants can provide a way to add capacity and expertise at a rate lower than a full-time hire.
- Contract/Feature Analysis – Marketing technology platforms may provide many wonderful features, but are you going to use them all? If you’re not, then consider negotiating to pay only for what you’ll use.
- Competing Tool Analysis – You may identify a tool that meets your needs, but consider looking at a few competitors. You may discover one of them will do a better job or fit in your stack better.
- IT – A critical part of marketing stack building and maintenance processes involve IT. In many cases, IT handles implementing and maintaining systems. This is especially true for systems outside of marketing’s control. This is more likely to occur in regulated industries like finance or healthcare. This makes it critical to engage IT prior to executing a contract as a way to avoid potential resistance. IT is also a great resource for technical efficiency and data security evaluation.
- Value – You get what you pay for. One marketing tool may cost less than a competing solution, but does it have similar service level agreements. What about customer support or commitments to continual improvement? A cheaper solution may prove best for a proof-of-concept phase but may not work out well in the long run. Focus on value – not price.
Many of these marketing considerations are simple and should fall under the common-sense category. For small and mid-size businesses, taking time to avoid these missteps can save your organization time, headache and money.