Implementing Martech? Don’t Skip This Step
By Ginger Conlon
You’re ready to implement a new marketing technology. Beyond choosing the right tool and vendor, there are countless other considerations: How long will the implementation take and what’s the expected time to ROI? How will our processes need to change? Who will take the reins over the long term? to name just a few.
With so much to consider, it’s all too easy for marketers to miss an important step. So, we asked several marketing industry insiders, “What’s one important consideration that marketers tend to overlook or underestimate when implementing technology?”
Their responses will help guide you as you outline your marketing technology implementation project plan.
Maribeth Ross, SVP of Marketing, Monetate
Marketers often overlook one key consideration: the organizational impact a new technology or major product update can have on the business as a whole. More...
Bonnie Crater, CEO, Full Circle Insights
Often, marketers haven’t completely specked the gaps in their martech stack and what needs to be addressed holistically. More...
Jamie Hammond, Global Head of Analytics, Optimization, and Training, Jellyfish
In my experience the number one thing marketers tend to overlook when
investing in new technology is the time, planning, and resources needed to properly train their team. More...
Anna Fisher, Senior Director of Marketing and Head of Lead Generation, ZoomInfo
Having access to comprehensive, valuable data input guarantees you’re on track to keep the wheels spinning en route to maintaining your marketing objectives. It’s the one must-have you can’t afford overlook in 2018 and beyond. More...
Tal Kedar, CTO, Optimove
Marketers often severely underestimate the potential returns of really using their data. More...
Nadjya Ghausi, CMO, Prezi
The most important consideration that marketers tend to overlook when implementing technology is making sure that it supports marketing and sales collaboration. More...
Richard Black, CMO, North America, Momentum Worldwide
Too many marketers underestimate the importance of cross-functional unity when implementing technology. More...
Agatha Rymanowska, SVP, Enterprise Operations, Conversant
Marketers tend to overlook the overall investment that comes with implementing technology, beyond the cost of the technology itself. More...
Chris Lynch, CMO, Cision
As marketers continue to shift their marketing budgets and increase investments in new technologies, they need to consider how well those tools will help them track and measure their investments in and results of their campaigns. More...
SVP of Marketing, Monetate
In the age of AI and machine learning, it’s not uncommon for marketers to feel overwhelmed when determining which emerging tool or technology upgrade will drive the most value for their businesses. While some may hesitate to adopt a new tool, others will jump on the latest, most buzzworthy technology in an effort to enhance their digital strategies.
Regardless of which solution they choose, marketers almost always overlook one key consideration: the organizational impact a new technology or major product update can have on the business as a whole.
Companies that still operate with a siloed organization structure are already at a disadvantage when it comes to adopting a new tool. In fact, Monetate’s first annual Personalization Development Study found that marketers’ number one constraint for adoption is the structure of their organization. Without complete collaboration across departments, businesses will struggle to reap all the benefits of a new tool — particularly when it comes to delivering better customer experiences.
To solve this issue, marketers must think beyond the current structure of their organization and imagine how they’d like the company to operate. It’s essential to have a clear sense of the dedicated resources needed to kick off implementation, and how those resources can help integrate the new tool into the company’s daily operations across various departments.
This planning should consider how marketers can break down the traditional siloes within their organization so their teams can create a more holistic customer view and work toward a common goal. Not only will this make the selection and adoption process more efficient, but it will also make it easier for the company to glean deeper, cross-functional insights from the software to make informed decisions about how to engage customers.
Marketers should ask the following questions:
How challenging is it to collaborate in the current organizational structure?
How efficiently can teams extract, analyze, and share data about customers across departments?
Is the business delivering the best possible customer experiences, or is there room for improvement?
Considering the bottlenecks, inefficiencies, and opportunities within the business will help make clear to marketers not only what needs to change, but also how they can change it. It’s critical to understand where the most valuable resources are within the organization and what structure will allow them to both thrive and master a new technology.
It’s no secret that delivering unique, personalized, and memorable experiences is the key for maintaining strong brand loyalty. Marketers who don’t first consider team structure and collaboration will struggle to deliver on that goal — no matter how advanced the technology is that they’re adopting.
With so many marketing tools available and emerging, now is the time for marketers to take a hard look at their organizational structure so they don’t fall behind in the race for digital maturity. Back to Contributors list
CEO, Full Circle Insights
I often see marketers running so fast that they’re not looking at an entire problem set before implementing new technology. In other words, they haven’t completely specked the gaps in their martech stack and what needs to be addressed holistically, versus just solving a point problem. It’s tempting to be distracted by shiny new technology that solves one problem; but doing so often leads to other bigger problems down the line.
The most successful marketers take the time to be strategic about their gaps and associated
needed requirements. The more time they invest in this up front, the more time it saves them down the line in implementation and aligning new processes. Back to Contributors list
Global Head of Analytics, Optimization, and Training, Jellyfish
In my experience the number one thing marketers tend to overlook when investing in new technology is the time, planning, and resources needed to properly train their team.
Unfortunately, I’ve seen firsthand what happens when teams invest in the latest, greatest martech or ad tech only to be scratching their heads three to six months later wondering why the tool hasn’t delivered the expected results. This is analogous, in my mind, to buying an expensive car but never investing the time or energy into learning how to drive: It looks good in the driveway, and you can show it off to friends, but you’ll never realize the full promise of
what the car can deliver without the proper training.
Now, in the defense of marketing professionals, they’re often dealing with tech vendors who focus on their solution’s capabilities and potential ROI. They rarely, if ever, highlight the amount of time and additional investment a company might need to make to fully realize these suggested gains.
One reason: It’s hard for an outsider to accurately estimate how much time and effort it might take to train another company’s staff. The responsibility to understand a marketing team’s needs falls squarely on the shoulders of the marketer overseeing that team.
So, how does one go about identifying the training needs of a team that might not have any prior experience with a tool? To use our prior analogy, how does one know how long it will take and how much effort will be required to learn how to drive if one has never sat behind the wheel?
There are four key considerations:
Determine your needs. Yes, you want to get your staff literate with a new technology as quickly as possible. But it’s unrealistic and impractical to think that your team will become expert on a new technology in one training session. Decide early on the key stages of your training program, as you would when learning to drive that sports car. Take the car to the nearest parking lot to make sure the team understands the basics. Work your way to expert through practice and additional training, gaining the skill over time to take the car out on the open road.
Focus on learning not just training. As your team learns a new technology, areas where more training is needed will become evident. Don’t mindlessly follow some course of training. This can seriously undermine your team’s enthusiasm for and adoption of a new technology. Let your training program evolve to meet the learning needs specific to your team.
Find great instructors and relevant materials. It may seem counterintuitive, but in my experience the best trainers may not be the technology provider’s staff. You may want to identify people from your industry who are expert in using the technology. These people will be best equipped to understand your team’s use cases and key metrics.
Focus on what matters and measure results. Of course, you want to make sure the tools you invest in deliver the needed results. So, measure the training program on its ability to bring those results to life. Completing a training program for the sake of completing a training program is a waste of time. Training should drive a business result that matters, like increased sales, improved customer satisfaction, more qualified web traffic, or lower cost per acquisition.
Clearly, marketers will increasingly look to technology to help them solve many of the challenges they’re facing today. Successful marketers will be those who not only best identify the martech or ad tech solutions that are right for their company, but, more important, take the time to train their team to fully leverage the competitive advantages those tools provide.
Companies today can ill afford to buy fancy cars that sit in their driveway. Back to Contributors list
Senior Director of Marketing and Head of Lead Generation, ZoomInfo
Have you ever stuck to a New Year’s resolution? Chances are, if you’re any bit like the rest of us, you’re hopeful at first — and realistic two weeks into January. So, why do we continue to bother with these unattainable promises? Easy: Like junk food, the mere thought of committing to a resolution is instantly gratifying. The thing is, we can’t think a resolution into existence. We must carefully plan our goals into action.
Similarly, when it comes to starting any new year on a positive note, a marketer’s resolution to implement her wish list of “stuff” (e.g., new tech, upgrades to existing tools, and
integrations for optimization) will only materialize with a blueprint for execution consisting of real, workable considerations. Budget allowing, the most important of these involves the input of valuable data to power these resolutions or objectives.
Orchestrating the input of valuable data
The lofty promise of more solutions and more platforms to remedy and perfect marketing at every step contributes to the vexing state of information overload we all know so well. And, ironically, regardless of the initiative, today’s digital boom forces us to play in a space that’s both disjointed and interconnected; we’re pushed and pulled in converging directions. It’s little wonder that our marketing resolutions fade so fast.
However, by leaning on the commonality of valuable data as input for our preferred technologies, we position ourselves for omni-channel marketing success through an ongoing commitment to consistency. In other words, injecting like-minded, quality data into our tech stack can withstand any upgrades and integrations, and, ultimately, is the best possible way to stay resolute toward achieving our daily, monthly, and yearly goals.
Looking to marketing data governance – and to the future
What I’m referring to here is the clear link between valuable data input and a streamlined process of marketing data governance. The process combines people (marketers and sales pros), workflows, and information to instill a systemized way for handling data, ensuring a reliable and more formalized approach to working with various and ever-increasing marketing tech.
How can you access a constant stream of valuable data and support inclusive, marketing data governance? Start by knowing where your data stands:
Mind the data management gaps: The effectiveness of your marketing programs depends on the ability of sales to execute effectively. And, like marketing, sales needs the right data to power its outreach. Make sure to check your B2B contact database for incomplete account details, missing email addresses, and inconsistent job functions.
Adopt a framework for measuring data quality: At its core, quality data needs to be refreshed and updated — pretty much all the time. So, it’s important to perform an analysis of your data set on a field-by-field basis based on your requirements. And when evaluating a data provider’s ability to help, note how well aligned its inventory of data is to yours. This is crucial for knowing and measuring the status of your data and a vendor’s ability to help.
Disparate tech does not work in a vacuum. You need to understand the workflows around existing and future tech investments to drive the capabilities you wish to realize, as well as to manage the existing — and incoming — information in your tech stack.
You also need to invest in the priceless art of alignment to bridge your tech and overall strategies. And having access to comprehensive, valuable data input guarantees you’re on track to keep the wheels spinning en route to maintaining your marketing objectives. It’s the one must-have you can’t afford overlook in 2018 and beyond. Back to Contributors list
Marketers often severely underestimate the potential returns of really using their data. And with the recent increase in AI terminology — some genuine, some fluffy — it's harder than ever. As a result, marketers may spend far too little time considering and evaluating technologies, tools, and methodologies that allow their teams to take full advantage of all available data, across all channels and all audience segments, when designing and optimizing campaigns.
Contemporary marketing teams are changing rapidly — moving away from a traditional channel-centric structure and more towards customer-centric teams focused on the different stages of a customer's relationship with a brand. Those teams are using sophisticated omni-channel personalization techniques, and continuously optimizing for concrete top- and bottom-
Marketers should give appropriate attention to how new technologies and tools can enable and streamline effective, cross-channel, emotionally intelligent communication with their customers. Back to Contributors list
VP of Marketing, Prezi
The most important consideration that marketers tend to overlook when implementing technology is making sure that it supports marketing and sales collaboration. The fact is, the final sales pitch is actually part of the marketing funnel.
Marketers should consider whether a technology goes beyond serving marketing in a silo, and instead helps to create alignment across the who and how for prospects and targets and to enhance the interactions between people at the bottom of the marketing and sales funnel.
Most marketers spend significant amounts of money at the top of the funnel for upfront customer acquisition costs; understandably so, as all this effort is essential to landing a sales meeting. But marketers often neglect to invest at the bottom of the funnel — especially at the point where they need to deliver the final presentation to their prospect — and this is the most critical part of the funnel.
Studies show that for every $92 spent acquiring customers, only $1 is spent converting them. And a study by Heinz Marketing Group concludes that that the most vulnerable transition in the sales process is moving prospects from “evaluation” to “moment of decision” at the bottom of the funnel.
This data confirms that tight alignment with the sales organization is essential. The dynamic between sales and marketing must move from a partnership in practice to a partnership in process. So, before implementing new technology, make sure it supports that partnership. Back to Contributors list
CMO, North America, Momentum Worldwide
Collaboration, integration, and diversity of talents are the currency of business. It is this diversity of thought and practice that brings the best and right results for business. But some marketers underestimate the importance of cross-functional unity when implementing technology.
As the pace of transformation accelerates, it’s hard to even imagine companies operating in silos. Departments that have functioned completely on their own for years are now knocking down doors to work with others in the business to avoid being obsolete. Creative teams
are aligning with the analytics team, for example; technology teams often sits at the center of the creative process along
We are well past the tipping point when abundant new technologies are disrupting traditional industries. That means departments can no longer function in the silos they once did. Cognitive intelligence, VR, augmented reality, and any other number of technologies are revolutionizing the ideas marketers and their agencies bring to the table. Marketers who want engagement beyond a campaign’s shelf life must add a tech component. That means departments need to come together and find a way to deliver first-rate ideas that are cohesive and reflective of a larger strategy.
Buy-in is essential across all departments and levels within an organization when planning to implement any technology. Aligning strategies across departments from the start is imperative for ensuring that a new marketing technology isn’t implemented in a silo within marketing. Creative, technology, analytics, and research teams have their respective goals, agendas, and deadlines. All are masters of their craft and understand how their piece of the puzzle operates within the whole of the company. Breaking down silos between these teams leads to breakthroughs.
The onus is on leaders, specifically CMOs, to make sure stakeholders from across departments are having open conversations about these technologies. Will or won’t this technology fit into the scope of a campaign? How can we harness it to push the needle toward growth?
If each department is not actively communicating to agree on a unified goal, a project will fail. That’s why aligning strategies from the start, and securing that buy-in, is essential for pushing boundaries and creating breakthrough work. Back to Contributors list
SVP, Enterprise Operations, Conversant
Marketers tend to overlook the overall investment that comes with implementing technology, beyond the cost of the technology itself. Whether it’s upgrading a platform or investing in machine learning, technology is an end-to-end solution that needs to drive specific outcomes. And to do that, one must consider numerous other factors to maximize that investment.
First and foremost, it’s important to look at the big picture and consider: What outcomes will the technology ultimately drive? Next, how will you scale and continuously enhance the
solution? Last, how will you drive adoption of this technology, what are the obstacles, and how will they be addressed? This requires the right people and specific industry expertise, otherwise the investment will simply not pay off and will lead to waste.
The bottom line is this: Technology is half the equation. To maximize their technology investments, marketers need to have a plan that includes not only an end-to-end solution that will help achieve their planned goals, but also the right people and strategy to scale and enhance the solution over time, and to generate the greatest outcomes in the short and long term.
As marketers continue to shift their marketing budgets and increase investments in new technologies, they need to consider how well those tools will help them track and measure their investments in and results of their campaigns.
Earned media is a great example of this. Until recently marketers lacked the technology and proper tools to measure earned media success, showcase its ROI, and accurately attribute the bottom-line value of earned media investments.
Earned media can be difficult to track due to its indirect path to the consumer, traveling through journalists, social media influencers, or bloggers first. Because of this, communicators have had to rely on vanity metrics such as potential reach, impressions, and content performance to show how their earned media efforts are driving brand awareness and exposure for their company.
Today, new marketing technology applies ad-tech data and measurement approaches to earned media, giving brands the ability to accurately attribute the bottom-line value of earned media investments. Additionally, these metrics help inform media investment across all channels, including paid and owned, allowing marketers to take full advantage of the power behind earned media.
As we look to 2018, marketers need to reevaluate their marketing technology mix and incorporate the proper technology and tools to effectively measure campaign success across channels, showcase ROI, and accurately attribute the bottom-line value of their investments. Back to Contributors list
About the Author
Ginger Conlon, chief editor and marketing alchemist at MKTGinsight, catalyzes change in marketing organizations. She is a frequent speaker on marketing and customer experience, and serves in advisory or leadership roles for several industry organizations. Ginger was honored with a Silver Apple lifetime achievement award for her contributions to the marketing industry.