The marketing technology landscape has grown tremendously in recent years—increasing from an estimated 150 companies in 2011 to about 5,000 in 2017.
Given this, it’s no wonder there’s incredible complexity surrounding marketing technology. And in fact, most marketing teams use between 6 – 20 different marketing technologies to perform their daily tasks.
But more technology doesn’t make you more successful. For the sake of efficiency and effectiveness, it’s imperative that CMOs understand the impacts of the technology their teams add to the marketing mix.
How to Evaluate Marketing Technologies
Before you sign off on that shiny new piece of technology, be critical about the implications it has on the bigger picture.
What you need to know is: do we need that piece of technology, and how will it interact with existing tools, processes, and systems?
Start by considering the following:
Will the tool integrate with current teams & technology?
This is a crucial consideration for two reasons:
- The last thing you need is another data silo.
- Teams are spending significant resources breaking down barriers to find ways to align and collaborate.
When a new technology is adopted, it isn’t a success if it benefits one team and burdens another.
For example: your marketing team chooses a CRM they deem user-friendly and efficient without realizing that it doesn’t integrate with their other tools. The engineering cost to make this platform speak to others could be astronomical. Ultimately, while a tool’s design and UI are important, they’re not the only things to think about.
If a tool is useable, achieves what you need it to, and it integrates well with your other tools, it’s a win. Think about Marketo and Salesforce—the time and money to engineer and maintain an integration like that is nothing to scoff at. But it already works, Marketo speaks to Salesforce when you buy it, and it’s maintained externally so your IT or engineering teams aren’t tasked with a highly custom integration.
Are you positioned well to use it?
Figure out whether the new tool will help drive your bigger picture. Will it simply create more data that doesn’t help prove or disprove your main objectives? Or will it lend itself to furthering your organization’s core goals?
If you haven’t nailed down the basics of what you’re trying to do, don’t add to the complexity.
Imagine your team deciding that multi-touch attribution is the latest and greatest set of web analytics insights they require. Do they already have the basics of single-touch attribution nailed down? Do they already know what’s driving current leads, or what their cost per conversion is?
If you can’t (or aren’t) doing the first step, how can you do more? Too many people build an analytics house of cards without first establishing a strong foundation. You need quality before quantity.
How does it change workflow and processes?
Weigh the impact adoption has on internal processes, and the cost of changing them.
If a new tool complicates a current workflow, the end gain must justify enduring the change to a new process. In other words, the new intel you acquire from adopting the tool must outweigh the cost of not having that additional information.
There must be a relentless focus on what your needs are and a clear definition of the problems you are trying to solve.
Is there a real need?
Never lose sight of what it is you really need to achieve.
Martech vendors are great at telling you that their platforms can solve a specific problem better than anyone else’s can. They convince you that the thing they do really well is of utmost importance. And we buy into it, because we don’t want to be left behind when a competitor might be getting those insights that we are not.
It’s not necessarily worth ripping a tool or internal process out and adding in an additional layer of complexity (think training, workflow changes, and resources) to gain incremental value.
If your current tool gets you to 80%, a process change may not make sense.
It’s easy to get caught up in the hype. Don’t overlook the costs of martech adoption; remember to take a step back and ask yourself these four questions before adding technology to your marketing mix.
This article was originally published on LinkedIn by Andrew Breen, President of Outshine.