2017 is right around the corner and you’re probably knee-deep in 2017 planning. Many of us are looking at our budgets, people, and of course technology.
With the abundance of new technologies available, it can be easy to get distracted by all the shiny new objects. But with a solid strategy in place, you can navigate the MarTech landscape and adopt the best solutions for your organization to step up your stack.
No, not these stacks…
If you’re currently looking into new technologies for your MarTech stack, here are five key considerations to make the most out of your investment:
1. Clearly Define Your Business Strategy and Objectives
Did you know that, according to Radius, the average marketing team has more than 17 tools in its marketing technology stack? And according to Scott Brinker at ChiefMarTec, there are at least 3500 tech solutions—up from over 2,000 the previous year! Don’t buy a tool just because it seems like everyone is doing it. It’s critical to first understand your business objectives and goals and then identify how technology can make your life easier. Investing in technology is similar to buying a pet–the conditions have to be right–or you’ll be sorry. Ideally, a new tool should be a need-to-have, not a nice-to-have. Nice-to-haves end up getting neglected.
2. Identify and Be Clear About Your Current and Future State
Your MarTech stack strategy should support your short-term and long-term goals. You might have some critical business needs now that need to be addressed, but how will they evolve over time? While it’s not easy to figure this out, it’s essential to think about your business needs now, in six months, and even several years from now so you don’t have to rip-and-replace every other year. This understanding will help you evaluate tradeoffs and build vs. buy decisions. A good trick is to talk to people in a similar business that are a bit further along in their process to understand what you should avoid, try, and plan for.
3. Map Your Stack to Your Objectives
To effectively ‘map your stack’, think about the main categories of technology you need to support your business objectives. Some people map technology to their revenue process, while other identify key tactics. Here are two generic examples:
Categories (based on Scott Brinker’s technology landscape):
Advertising and Promotion
Content and Experience
Social and Relationships
Commerce and Sales
Here’s a great example of category mapping from Lattice Engines:
You can also choose to map your stack to your revenue process for technologies that support when a buyer first becomes aware of your company/products to after they become a customer and beyond. Check out a revenue-mapping example from Allocadia below:
4. Have a Dedicated Owner
If you want your tools within your stack to deliver value and stand the test of time, your MarTech stack will need to have a dedicated owner to manage it. Without an owner, it’s hard to effectively keep up on a meaningful strategy, execution, and testing plan. Many technologies make impressive advances, faster than ever before, and someone needs to make sure the systems are current and being used to their full potential.
While it will vary for each organization, the dedicated owner could be someone who has a natural interest in digital technologies and is familiar with them, such as someone on your marketing operations team. This can be a great chance to provide someone on your team with a career growth opportunity.
5. Have a Method and Plan for Proving the Value of the Technology
It’s always important to be able to prove the value of your investments…or they might go away! You should establish a set of metrics or outcomes to illustrate the value each technology provides to your business. The metrics you track will depend on the technology you use, but some important indicators include cost-savings (time and people), efficiency, and results. Whatever metrics you establish, the important thing is to set clear objectives and benchmarks. You need to make sure that any metric you use is really measuring the objectives you intend to track.
As we look forward to the new year ahead and the release of the 2017 Marketing Technology Landscape Supergraphic, it’ll be more important than ever to understand how to best evaluate new technologies. Marketing has come a long way and staying focused on our objectives will continue to pull us forward.
Are you currently evaluating new technologies for 2017? Share your own tips below!