The Marketing Strategist:

To Really Make the Most of Martech, Look Beyond the Tools

May 21, 2015

Nicole FranceMarketing technology may be the future of marketing, but one thing’s for certain: technology alone won’t make marketing successful. In ITSMA’s recently published study How to Become a B2B Marketing Technology Frontrunner, we found that most B2B marketing organizations have jumped onto the martech bandwagon but aren’t yet enjoying the ride. Only 34% rate the business value of their marketing technology investments highly, making them the real frontrunners in this area.

step by stepSo why is this group of frontrunners is getting so much benefit from marketing technology when others aren’t? If you think it’s down to a particular technology or vendor, think again. The real answer is that the frontrunners have put even more effort into making technology tools part of the way they work than they have into picking the tools themselves.

Based on the results of our survey and the insights we got from in-depth discussions with martech frontrunners, we put together our “Lucky 13” list of recommendations to catapult your marketing team into that lauded group:

  1. Building effective marketing technology infrastructure is a step-wise approach. Invest in a solid foundation of backbone systems first—specifically marketing automation, customer relationship management, and corporate website—or other investments will be unlikely to yield significant returns.
  2. Let business and marketing objectives dictate marketing technology investment priorities. This differs from company to company; there isn’t a standard, one-size-fits-all plan.
  3. Centralize marketing technology planning and implementation. Ensure that you have a plan and a budget. Even if the details of the plan change, everyone must have a clear understanding of the direction and common objectives. Figure out what marketing problems you are trying to solve with technology.
  4. Sales buy-in and participation are essential for success. Prioritize early investment in and rollout of functionality that directly benefits sales (e.g., sales insight plug-in to Marketo).
  5. Build some creative tension into the team. Make sure there are both marketing technology enthusiasts advocating new tools and approaches and marketing technology skeptics who reject anything unlikely to provide genuine value.
  6. Develop rollout and training plans for every significant technology tool. Not everyone will need to use each tool, but adoption by those who do is key.
  7. Ensure that marketing ops teams are adequately staffed to support all campaign activity and other requests from other parts of marketing. There is chronic underinvestment here, which hampers adoption and performance.
  8. Make use of outside agencies that specialize in marketing automation. Their skills are not the same as those of creative agencies, but they are important resources for building and executing automated campaigns.
  9. Identify affinity and interest in marketing technology within the existing marketing team. Most marketing technologists have grown into that role from other areas of marketing expertise. Hiring external experts is usually difficult and expensive.
  10. Get over the fear of failure. Experiment widely and fail fast.
  11. Look to peers for recommendations on tools and vendors. Nothing beats first-hand experience.
  12. Focus on relationships at least as much as technology. This includes customer relationships, engagement with sales and IT, and internal marketing buy-in and adoption.
  13. Recognize that results take time. Adapting marketing processes to new ways of working can be protracted and B2B sales cycles are long.

Anything else you’d add to this list?

If you have questions on any of these recommendations or particular marketing technologies, let us know. ITSMA can help.


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