The digital world has changed marketing completely. With buyers 57 percent of the way through the purchase decision before even being in touch with sales, marketers are on the front lines more than ever before, often responsible for everything from reducing cost of acquisition to driving top line revenue.
Luckily (or is it unluckily?), there are now thousands of marketing platforms and software tools available to help marketers accomplish this growing responsibility. In fact, Scott Brinker’s 2015 Marketing Technology Landscape shows there are now 1,876 vendors listed in 43 different categories.
But, with so much to choose from, how can marketers expect to develop a successful strategy and framework?
In answer to this question, a major takeaway from the FutureM panel “Managing the Complexity of Today’s Digital Marketing Mix” I attended last month was a four-step process to getting a handle on your marketing technology stack:
- Inventory – find out what tools everyone in the marketing department is using and why.
- Capability Framework – map the tools already being used to the five or six essential capabilities your marketing department needs to have.
- Vision – identify your future vision for those capabilities and what technology will help you get there.
- Sign Off – talk to your CFO/CEO in terms of ‘accelerating revenue’ to get sign off on the technology.
But, key to the success of this process is also thinking outside of your marketing silo and working with other departments to see if any of the tools they have in place would also work in your department and vice versa. Putting a focus on interoperability and integration, therefore, also becomes important across both tools and departments.
Identifying the tools in the first place can be a problem in and of itself though. We all get so many emails and irrelevant promotions that we can often feel caught up in the marketing automation streams ourselves.
But, it’s important to know what’s out there and at least skim the capabilities or see a demo of the tools that are relevant to your business to keep thinking about functionality and relevant use. Another big tip coming out of the FutureM panel was to have an experimental / emerging committee for people to try new technology tools before bringing them into the mainstream stack, which needs more control.
How do you identify and streamline your marketing technology stack?