In January 2020, B2B Marketing's Trend Tracker found Marketing Automation was the top focus for client-side marketers, and second highest for agency side marketers. 10 months and a global pandemic later, the solutions that MA provides continues to support teams through times of stretched resource, budget cuts and uncertainty of the future of their market.
As the demand for MA grows, as does the technology available to us. There are now some 8,000 different tools on the market, varying across 6 core categories, where this number was a mere 150 in 2011 - chiefmartec.com.
So, what does this mean for marketers? It means choosing the right martech for you and your objectives is harder than ever. However, it's now likely that the right tool to support your strategy and objectives does exist, all you have to do is sift through and find it.
Sounds like a pretty big task? Well Head of MA at Really B2B, Ash Chandler, shared ‘The good, the bad and the ugly of marketing technology’ as part of the Marketing Wild Wild West series hosted by Saloon Cloud last week. Ash shared 3 overlooked challenges marketers face when deciding on the most effective martech for them. It went a little something like this…
Ugly number 1: Habit
When choosing the latest tool to add to your tech stack, make sure you’re shortlisting tools for the right reasons. Ash pointed out 2 objections he hears all the time when consulting with marketers -
“Everyone else is using X, Y and Z”
Don’t be afraid to be different. If you only focus on the latest and most popular martech, chances are you won’t have considered what your campaign really needs to go that one step further. Your martech should be the last piece to add to the puzzle, and should fit in without affecting the elements around it. If you have to change your strategy to suit the martech you’re using, maybe you’re not using the right ones.
Tip 1: Don’t feel obliged to keep up with the latest tech on the market. Create a set-up that is efficient and effective for you and your team.
“It has always been done this way”
Just because something has always been done in a certain way, doesn’t mean it’s always going to provide the most value to you. The last 6 months alone have shown how quickly people’s challenges and objectives can change, so make sure you have a clear grasp of what it is you need the tool to achieve, before shopping around.
Tip 2: Perform an annual review of your tech stack to make sure it still aligns with your objectives. It’s a good idea to coincide this with your subscription renewals, should you need to change things up fairly quickly.
Ugly number 2: Vendors
Similarly to IT vendors, investing in a particular martech will often involve a 12 month contract. This makes it all the more important to keep a level head when considering which tool is right for you.
It is in the nature of vendors to convince you their product will solve all of your marketing problems, help you smash your targets and generate an endless ROI. In doing so, vendors can (not always, but sometimes) forget to have their customer’s best interests at heart. This is where marketers need to stay calm, collected and avoid being won over by empty promises and cool but unnecessary features.
Here’s a few ways you can do this:
- Speak to a reputable expert, not only can they help you look at a tool's functionality from all angles and ask the questions you might not have thought of, they can also support you in choosing the right tech stack to suit your objectives.
- Give the vendors a friendly grilling, it's what they are there for! Ask questions about what a tool can't do as much as what it can do, and find out how they intend to advance and improve the tool over the next 1-2 years.
- Check if they have an online community and find out from them how user friendly the tool is/ any issues you should be aware of before signing on the dotted line.
- Complete a simple scoring sheet like the one below for each of your shortlisted tools.
Ugly number 3: Martech
Last but certainly not least, Ash acknowledged that martech can be its own worst enemy. The market has become so saturated that it can be hard to hear through the noise and remember why you started looking for a new technology in the first place.
Do not forget…
What problems are you trying to solve?
What are you actually trying to say?
What makes you different?
Who should you be talking to?
Martech continues to drive the performance and results of marketing teams forward, but your brand, proposition, story and target audience need to come first. Once you have a clear steer on what you need your tech to bring to the table, you can use these pointers, speak with vendors and use online forums to make an educated decision on the right tools for you. Then the results and ROI will follow.
Don’t forget to catch Ash next Friday 9th Oct, 2:40pm at the very first digital Festival of Marketing, where he gives his lowdown on ‘Planning for and purchasing martech’, get your pass for the event here.