5 Keys for Successfully Navigating the Martech Landscape

For today’s marketers, technology is turning into both a blessing and a curse. A blessing because there is seemingly an unlimited number of innovative technologies from which to optimize each stage of the customer lifecycle at more and more granular levels, from awareness and acquisition to retention and advocacy. A curse because adequately managing these disparate technologies – and the fragmented sources of data they create – is becoming increasingly difficult and costly.

Instead of riding a wave of innovation to the next frontier, many marketers find themselves trapped in a quagmire of slick user interfaces, with no real strategy, and under-whelming results.

The solution, of course, is to start from the beginning, plot your strategy, and attack. Here are five keys for getting the most from your applications so you can drive better customer experiences and improve bottom-line results.

1.     Understand Your Goals – Too often, marketers tend to buy technology willy-nilly without having a clear understanding of how these applications fit into their overall marketing technology “stack,” and, more importantly, how they align with the company’s business model and goals. As part of your process, conduct an internal audit to understand which applications you have licensed and how you are using them. What’s missing, and what can be cut or improved upon? For example, is it time to upgrade from an email service provider to a more robust marketing automation solution? Or, to save money, is it time to switch from a full enterprise analytics solution to an ever-capable Google Universal Analytics. Also, what about your mobile strategy – mobile, as you already know, is becoming increasingly important. What technologies will help grow your presence there?

2.     Align Your Resources – One of the biggest missteps in buying any technology is not having the resources to properly manage it and drive results. Managing technology, from deployment to management to execution, can take vast resources. Popular applications for marketing automation, digital analytics, CRM, social media and many more require devoted and attentive resources. These are powerful, multi-faceted applications. If you don’t have the resources to manage them, don’t bother making the investment, or you’ll see them gather virtual dust.  

3.     Find the Right Technology –Finding the right best-of-breed solutions for your business model can be difficult – given the vast number of technologies out there (1,876 MarTech vendors and growing weekly, according to ChiefMartec.com), and overlapping vendor messaging. Talk to your peers, leverage industry analysts, and take advantage of a new crop of crowd-based  sites providing aggregated reviews of many good technologies. Take a look at  TrustRadius or G2 Crowd. To better understand which solutions are most popular in the marketplace, check out BuiltWith’s technology trend index.

4.     Harmonizing Technology (and Data) – Once you have your strategy, resources and technology all lined up, you’ll need to embark on another important step: harmonizing these siloed technologies, and their corresponding data sources, to reach maximum results and optimal customer experience. This can occur through one-off integrations with your core platforms, or preferably, by binding your entire application stack through a “data layer,” the behind-the-scenes data and structure that helps standardize data definitions across applications. This data layer, an integral value proposition of an enterprise tag management solution, reduces chaos, improves control, and serves as a key foundation for creating a single view of the customer (detailed in our next step).

5.     Delivering True Omni-channel Experiences– Have you ever bought something online, and then been targeted for that exact item in other places across the digital landscape? If so, then you’re a victim of siloed marketing: the left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing. Establishing a single view of your customer helps solve that problem by capturing customer activity across touch points in real time and then transforming that data into a unified customer profile. This profile is then distributed back out to marketing execution systems based on various rules. It’s the key for delivering more consistent and personalized customer experiences. Many vendors offer customer profiles, but the key is to look for universal profile capabilities that span multiple vendors and touch points. These types of profiles are offered by broader omni-channel data platforms and can help fuel your entire eco-system.

Finally, one last word of advice: stay agile as you evaluate the martech capabilities you’ve already invested in and those you may add in the future.  Technology is moving so fast, it’s opening up new and innovative opportunities, especially in mobile channels. Be prepared – and on the lookout – for new applications that can help drive your business in significant ways.

Being able to successfully navigate the modern technology landscape is one of the most important things marketers can do. Everything is digital. Everything runs through some type of application. The best technologies connect to each other and are part of your daily operations. Follow these key steps to harmonize your applications and ensure your technology investments are a blessing, not a curse.

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