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by Phil Birss
4 min read
Identifying the right technologies for your marketing needs
Author: Phil Birss
Posted in Technology on 7th June 2017 8:45 am
Thanks to technology, marketers today can make a far greater impact than ever before – and have an unprecedented ability to quantify output and performance.
However, these tools often come in the form of expensive B2B software packages and the sheer range of options – stretching from email marketing platforms, to social scheduling tools, to analytics tools and CRMs – can be overwhelming (as this graphic illustrates). This issue has grown to such proportions that marketers today report that identifying and implementing new tech is one of the greatest challenges that they face; and, across the industry, some
This issue has grown to such proportions that marketers today report that identifying and implementing new tech is one of the greatest challenges that they face; and, across the industry, some 33% of the entire marketing budget is spent on marketing technology. So, what to do?
Your first port of call when considering a new software application should be to define exactly what you want to achieve. Onboarding costs might be high, both in terms of time and money, but should not be a reason to resist change. That said, before contacting their reps, and entering their sales funnel, you should define exactly what benefits the product will provide, and how it will drive revenue for you, keeping in mind the costs of subscriptions and purchases.
What’s more, taking a step back, is it actually a problem that needs solving? And if it is, is it something that a human might be able to do with minimal overheads; something you can achieve by taking a different approach; or something you can do with technology that you already have?
CRMs from Hubspot to Salesforce come with a formidable range of features so it can pay dividends to explore capabilities that you may not be using, as well as keeping an open mind about how to approach problems.
Also consider how the new tech will fit into your workflow. If your real issue is a bad set of processes, then adding new software likely won’t fix the problem. Indeed, in cases of catastrophic IT project failures, adding more engineers has consistently worsened the situation. In the same way, adding workarounds to broken processes will only exacerbate existing problems. Instead, do the ground work and set your systems in order – then look to technology to extend and augment your capabilities.
Before approaching any onboarding process, establish a clear mission plan including who is responsible for the launch, who will judge on whether the product is succeeding or failing and when they will do so.
In addition, consider having a team test the product before rolling it out to the entire department or to the company as a whole. That way you can establish the specific utility that it delivers (for example, testing MailChimp against Campaign Monitor for email marketing) as well as smoothing out speedbumps in implementation.
Having a clearly defined mission plan and strong internal communications, allowing you to heed criticism, will save you significant time in the long run and, most importantly, will prevent your team from burning time on defective software or quietly discarding tools that they actually hate. You’ll also cultivate a culture of experts who can go on to share the wealth, whether their knowhow is in analytics or CRM shortcuts.
Another factor to consider is how new tech will integrate within your existing marketing stack. One of the core benefits of team messaging platform Slack is its ability to integrate with dozens of products, making it far more useful than IMs like Skype.
Meanwhile, platforms like Salesforce are only too aware of the power of synergy and, as well as coming with an extensive range of integrations, their CRM has sister products that directly connect email marketing and marketing automation functionality into the mix. While this may not be a determining factor in choosing a product, cross-functionality can be a powerful point to sway the case.
The key thing when considering whether new technologies are right for your business is to go in with a clear head. As many as 87% of marketers believe that marketing tech is improving their companies’ performance, while 72% of small businesses report that investment in technology now offers a higher rate of return than additional hires – so don’t shy away from innovation based on onboarding costs.
However, you should ensure that you are asking questions as you undergo a process of testing and review. And, if you don’t have one, a chief marketing technologist may be an invaluable addition to your team to get an overview of your entire marketing stack – managing change and identifying new opportunities.
If you enjoyed this blog about technology and marketing, you may enjoy reading these – How Virtual Reality is changing business and We Know How You Feel.
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