How much of your budget goes to marketing technology products? According to Forrester, the answer, on average, is one-fifth of the overall marketing budget. As it’s the start of a new year, it’s time to ask yourself a hard question: are you actually using the martech you have enough to make the investment worth it?
Having MarTech Only Matters if It’s the Right Tech
Marketing technology investments can be great for your business. They can open the door to improved efficiency and enable you to achieve better results. But marketing technology can’t bring about those results in and of itself, it’s all about how you use it. That is, if you use the martech you have at all.
Fifty-six percent of companies say they don’t use their martech enough, and twenty-one percent say they’ve invested in technology they never use. That means a significant share of your budget could be going to tech that your team isn’t getting the intended benefits from.
You can solve part of the problem by being more strategic in how you introduce the tech you buy to your team. But no amount of training or incentivizing your employees will ensure your martech gets the results you want, unless you start by buying the right tech to begin with.
For the technology you buy to help your marketing efforts, it has to match your needs and goals. That’s an obvious idea in theory, but often hard to pull off in practice. Here are a few tips to make sure that you only spend money on martech you’ll actually use.
1. Bring People from Different Teams Into the Process from Day One
If the people making martech purchasing decisions aren’t the ones who will be using it every day, there’s a real risk of a disconnect between what the decision makers think the company needs and what your team actually needs.
Before you make a final decision, consider who will be expected to use the product and bring them into the process. Try to have at least one contact from each department or role weigh in on the decision.
This gives people with a stake in the decision a chance to contribute. They’ll see potential issues with the tech you may not be able to notice—ways it might make their jobs harder, cause problems with other tech they use, or not provide the functionality they need most.
And just as importantly, when you bring different team members into the purchasing process, they’ll be more invested in the technology you ultimately choose. Buying a product they helped pick makes getting them to use it an easier sell.
2. Create a List of Your Primary Problems and Goals
Finding the right piece of tech is easier if you know what you need before you start searching. Figure out the main problems facing each of your departments and clarify the main goals you hope to achieve with the help of technology.
The first tip should help with this one. Interview different team members to get a thorough and specific picture of the various needs and challenges facing each department of your marketing team. Then use the list as a guide when reviewing your options.
3. Analyze Each Product Based on Your Actual Needs
Having defined what you need a product to do, you’ll have an easier time evaluating each option with the criteria that actually matters most to your team. Don’t let yourself get distracted with exciting bells and whistles. A product with lots of cool features you don’t actually need is worth less than a more basic one that offers the specific functionality you’re looking for.
4. Consider Compatibility with Your Other Tech Products
Many companies now have dozens of martech products—at enterprise companies the average is 91. Any new product you purchase needs to play nice with the ones you already have.
Compatibility issues can create more work for your employees. And if using two products means more work than one, they’re more likely to stick with the product they know at the expense of the new one. Create a list of the main products your team depends on now and ask every vendor you consider about their tool’s compatibility with them.
5. Evaluate the Reputation of the Company
The product itself isn’t all you should evaluate. A martech investment is also a commitment to working with the company that sells the product. You need to know that they provide quality customer service and product support. If the product takes time and effort to learn, they should offer training resources to get your team up to speed.
Look for reviews that detail other customers’ experiences and ask around amongst your colleagues and peers to get a feel for the vendor’s reputation.
6. Have a Roll-Out Plan before You Buy
If you want your team to get in the habit of using the new martech you buy, you need to put some work into teaching them how to use it and incentivizing them to do so.
Before you make a final decision, sketch out a plan for how team members should use the technology, as well as a strategy for getting them on board with it. Ask the vendor for help with this. You’ll get a good idea what they’ll be like to work with based on how they respond.
Thoughtful Purchasing Decisions Lead to Martech Success
You don’t need every awesome martech product out there—no matter how convincing a salesperson is. A product can be great, while not being exactly what your marketing team needs.
Make a New Year’s marketing resolution for 2019 to be cautious and thoughtful in your approach to buying martech. You’ll end up spending your budget more wisely and selecting tools that actually increase your rates of success.
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