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A CMO’s 6‑Step Guide to

Martech Enablement

Why should I be concerned about Martech Enablement?

If your organization has invested in technology and you have been trusted with proving the value of these investments, then you should be concerned about Martech Enablement. At its very essence, Martech Enablement is the process of bringing marketing and technology together to create the team, define the strategy, identify, implement and integrate the tools, and execute the strategy that enables an organization to engage most effectively with their customer.

What's Inside

The CMO’s 6-Step Guide to Martech Enablement will give you an insider’s perspective and expert’s roadmap for what business leaders can do to help drive effective digital transformation within their marketing departments and across their entire organization.

STEP 1: Martech Digital Maturity Assessment

When it comes to Martech Enablement, in order to craft a plan to get where you’re going, you’ll need a clear understanding of where you are starting from.

STEP 4: Kickoff

The kickoff sprint consists of a subset of activities that will become a regular part of future cadences as enablement efforts continue and progress.

STEP 2: Strategy Tune-Up

As part of your tune-up, you’ll want to pop the hood on a few critical areas: Target Customer, Competition, Channels, Data Strategy, and Technical Strategy.

STEP 5: Execution

The Execution phase is all about following through—anticipating potential problems, making adjustments as you go, and planning for future campaigns.

STEP 3: Initial Alignment & Planning

Here, you will apply your digital strategy in order to define a set of objectives, goals, execution strategies and measures or KPIs.

STEP 6: Review, Refine, Iterate

It’s time to review your performance to date, with the ultimate goal of improving future campaigns, team effectiveness, business processes, and technology.

Introduction

The Martech Revolution

It’s been a little over a decade since Apple introduced the iPhone and changed the marketing landscape forever. Since then, marketers have had a front row seat to what many regard as the marketing technology revolution—the wholesale transformation of marketing into a technology-fueled discipline. Tools and technologies aimed to help marketers build better campaigns have exploded onto the scene, fundamentally changing the way organizations deliver value to their customers. Today, CMOs and marketing professionals alike are finding themselves under increasing pressure to operate as marketing and IT hybrids—crafting marketing programs that leverage new technologies as the backbone of their strategy.

Step 1

Martech Digital Maturity Assessment

Martech Digital Maturity Assessment is a unique new benchmarking activity from GeekHive that helps organizations look at specific areas of their business in order to evaluate where they are, versus where they need to be (potential).

A New benchmarking tool for the CMO

The journey to digital transformation must begin with understanding where your marketing organization IS, before you plan for how to get to where you want to BE. To effectively transform your organization, there are five primary areas of focus.

Customer Centricity

As the first step in your Digital Maturity Assessment, we begin by taking a closer look at your organization’s customer centricity. That means actively evaluating different touchpoints in your marketing funnel or customer journey, and objectively measuring or scoring the effectiveness of those engagements so you can see what’s working and what needs improving. Areas to look at include: customer experience, loyalty and/or promotional programs, communications, pricing, and feedback.

Digital Culture

If your organization is not moving toward a digitally-focused culture, getting the full value out of your martech investments will be a true uphill battle. Cultural change doesn’t happen overnight. As part of your Digital Maturity Assessment, take a look at how your organization shakes out in these three key areas: Leadership Alignment, Marketing Org Structure, and Role Assignment & Voids. The Digital Maturity Assessment should also shine a light on the effectiveness of your overall digital marketing strategy. Is your strategy customer-centric and journey-focused? Keep in mind, impactful marketing strategies always put customers first. To begin, look at any strategic materials you’ve developed—that could include anything from a goals and objectives document, to content or competitive audits, to KPIs and measurement documents, to customer personas and content creation plans.

Operational Process

Your Digital Maturity Assessment must also include a close look at your organization’s operations and business processes. Rigid, inefficient, and siloed processes represent significant roadblocks to a marketing organization’s potential effectiveness. To start, look for places where team members are making critical decisions based on gut instincts rather than available data. If your marketing organization isn’t currently embracing an agile approach to its operations (like a Kanban-driven process, for example), your team is likely feeling the pain.

Technology Maturity

The martech revolution has given marketers thousands of new ways to understand, connect, and engage with customers. As the days of a straightforward media buy fade into a distant memory, many of today’s marketing professionals are faced with an overwhelming task—trying to sort through and evaluate the platforms and tools that promise to take their campaigns and marketing efforts to the next level.

Step 2

Strategy Tune-Up

This should not be mistaken for a complete overhaul to digital strategy; rather, the tune-up represents the first part of a biannual opportunity to sharpen your digital strategy proactively, based on changes in the marketplace, customer behavior, and your organization’s goals and objectives.

With benchmarks in place from a Digital Maturity Assessment, a Strategy Tune-Up is the next logical step for a CMO on the road to digital transformation.

As part of your tune-up, you’ll want to pop the hood on a few critical areas: Target Customer, Competition, Channels, Data Strategy, and Technical Strategy. Doing so will give you the opportunity to make incremental changes that sharpen your performance and advance your overall digital transformation efforts.

Target Customer

To begin the Strategy Tune-Up, take a closer look at your target customer. Understanding your customer is a mission critical starting point, and will provide foundational learnings that can be applied across all future strategy. We recommend creating new customer personas that leverage demographic and behavioral data as the first point of entry—these allow you to calibrate customer segmentation and create more relevant and targeted messages, content and campaigns.

Competition

Context plays a crucial role when it comes to customer communications, and understanding what your competition is up to gives you the context you need to improve your position in a crowded marketplace, exposing both your strengths and opportunities for improvement. Useful insights from the competitive audit should be applied to your digital strategy as you move forward, helping you tailor smarter, more impactful programs which seek to differentiate your brand from the competition.

Channels

A channel strategy is what we call the plan for getting a product or service to the customer. With more competition for channel attention than ever before, developing and maintaining an effective channel strategy can be a complex process. Possible channels include: retail, e-commerce, wholesale, licensing, distribution partners, agents/brokers, and others. Navigating between marketing, distribution, affiliate, and even hybrid channels can overwhelm even the most seasoned marketer, which is why creating a channel strategy, recruiting the right partners, and measuring, reporting and adjusting along the way is such an important part of the Martech Enablement journey.

Data Strategy

The first essential piece of your data strategy must be the data map. A data map outlines everything you store and collect from customers. This information gives you both the “source of truth” or “systems of record” for where each piece of data lives, and identifies the dependent and tertiary systems that also require access or synchronization.

Technology Strategy

A seamless technical integration of customer interactions across the “5 Pillars of Martech,” including your organization’s CRM, CMS, MAP, Digital Commerce and Data Analytics tools, is a non-negotiable part of any successful digital transformation effort. If your technical strategy doesn’t include aligning the data and orchestrating customer interactions across the 5 pillars, it’s time to make a change. This doesn’t mean synchronizing data between a few systems—it means putting the customer journey first, and letting technology follow as a logical extension of that objective.

Step 3

Initial Alignment & Planning

While the first two steps of the Martech Enablement process are strategic in nature, Step 3—Initial Alignment & Planning—moves you into the beginning stages of execution. Here, you will apply your digital strategy in order to define objectives, goals, execution strategies and measures or KPIs.

You’ve laid the groundwork...now it’s time to start defining the executional elements of your digital transformation journey.

You will also take steps to refine your marketing organization’s processes and workflows. Finally, you will create the initial backlog of actions, initiatives and campaigns that will inform Kickoff and Execution.

OGSM

How do you move from aspiration to reality? Objectives. Goals. Strategies and Measures. OGSM is a time-tested, strategic planning process that helps you create an execution plan for your marketing organization. If your company doesn’t have a comprehensive digital strategy already in place, the OGSM effort may be an acceptable substitution.

Process and Workflow Refinement & Alignment

For those of us embedded in the martech landscape, the terms Agile Marketing or Lean Marketing will be familiar principles. These “work smarter” approaches are characterized by their ability to allow marketers to frequently evaluate and then adapt their processes based on everything from real-time feedback, to market changes or disruptions, to competitor activity. Currently there are two primary software frameworks for introducing Agile or Lean methodologies into your workflow: Scrum and Kanban.

Initial Martech Backlog Creation

Creating your initial backlog is a crucial first step in process or workflow alignment. Backlog helps provide relative prioritization of the effort juxtaposed against all other efforts in the backlog. Larger stories or campaigns should have detailed underlying tasks that map to specific team members. These are then managed in either a Scrum or Kanban-based framework, which also contains identified success criteria in the form of KPIs.

Step 4

Kickoff

The kickoff sprint consists of a subset of activities—Campaign Conceptualization, Creative/Content Development, and Technology Alignment—that will become a regular part of future cadences as enablement efforts continue and progre

You’ve analyzed your needs, tuned-up your strategy, and completed initial planning for your marketing organization; now it’s time to execute campaigns with Kickoff.

Campaign Conceptualization

To begin, review your prioritized backlog and decide what stories or campaigns to include in your upcoming sprint or WIP (Work In Progress). Once you’ve decided on a direction, stories should be broken out into tasks, which can then be divided into two additional areas of activity: Creative/Content Development and Technology Alignment.

Creative/Content Development

While all creative and content pieces must also stay on brand and support the overarching marketing efforts of the organization, there should also be a strong emphasis on moving the KPI. An important part of this exercise lies in creating testable creative. A/B multivariate testing should become an essential part of your marketing organization’s toolkit, if it isn’t already. When it comes to choosing the most impactful creative, aesthetics and style matter; however, A/B testing removes the guesswork from choosing a creative direction, providing teams with all the information they need to make data-driven business decisions that support their ultimate objectives and map to KPIs.

Technical Alignment

The stories selected for a current sprint or WIP must be supported by the right technology. This means identifying all necessary data delivery and collection, and tying it to analytics in order to extract insights and crunch the KPI for measurement purposes. As you progress and groom stories, especially in a Scrum marketing approach, you may find some technology efforts will need to span more than one sprint. This is often less of an issue in Kanban marketing, as a particular story remains as part of the WIP until it’s finished, and any related dependency simply sits inside the current WIP until completion.

Step 5

Execution

Whether you’re taking a Kanban or Scrum approach to your marketing efforts, the Execution phase is all about following through—anticipating potential problems, making adjustments as you go, and planning for future campaigns.

Whether you’re performing on the athletic field or in the boardroom, execution of that perfect play (or plan) is all about the follow-through.

Execution

If you’re taking a Scrum marketing approach to your Execution, you’ll be running campaigns that you either created or prepared during Step 4: Kickoff, or as part of your preparation effort from the prior sprint. If you are utilizing the Kanban model, you’ll be running campaigns that are WIP, whose components and dependencies have all moved from the preparatory stages of the Kanban board to Execution. For either methodology, it will be important to spot-check your campaign’s performance against the identified KPIs, making any adjustments necessary to ensure your campaign is performing as desired. This kind of pulse-check should be a scheduled activity, maximizing every opportunity to derive value from your campaigns. I like to suggest that my clients schedule a weekly review of campaigns and KPIs, giving marketing managers and technologists a regular window to the performance and growth of the overall marketing organization.

Planning

When it comes to planning, both Scrum and Kanban approaches take a similar tact. You must look ahead to the next sprint or future WIP execution, and return to the steps you completed as part of Kickoff: Campaign Conceptualization, Creative/Content Development and Technical Alignment. Doing so will provide you with a consistent flow of new campaigns, ready to be executed, and will also allow your organization the opportunity to continually improve and grow.

Step 6

Review, Refine, Iterate

As you approach the sixth and final step in the Martech Enablement journey, it’s time to review your performance to date, with the ultimate goal of improving future campaigns, team effectiveness, business processes, and technology.

Digital maturity requires reflection. To continually improve a program's performance, you must reflect and adjust accordingly.

We cannot emphasize enough how critical a thorough review phase is to digitally maturing your marketing organization. Without this kind of reflection and subsequent refinement, your organization’s transformation efforts will ultimately flatline.

Review & Refine

Campaign Performance

Campaign analytics help gauge the success of your digital marketing efforts, linking your objectives to actual data. Whether you are operating in Scrum or Kanban, evaluating the performance of your campaigns while they’re running is necessary both to understand and measure their effectiveness, and to make clear areas of improvement for future iterations or campaigns. This should be an explicit exercise that considers how changes or adjustments to creative, content, and technology impacted performance throughout an entire campaign, in addition to looking at the impact of mid-campaign adjustments on overall performance.

Team & Cross-Functionality

As part of Review, take a closer look at the performance of individual team members within disciplines, and observe how they collaborated with team members across the organization. You’ll want to understand what aspects of campaign performance they were accountable for, and how they either helped or hampered cross-functional success.

Process

As you look for areas of improvement as part of Step 6: Review, Refine and Iterate, take care to evaluate the processes your marketing organization relies upon for its execution. Review communications, tools, workflows and other production processes, and look for ways those operations can be incrementally improved, standardized, and/or measured. Pay special attention to those areas where your process regularly bottlenecks or otherwise slows down progress, and think about ways to streamline or adjust the status quo.

Technology Effectiveness

As you approach the final stages of the Review, Refine and Iterate process, look at both the performance and effectiveness of your technology, from systems to platforms to tools. Did data perform as expected? How was it collected and transferred? Did it remain intact? What areas leave room for improvement, either in the implementation approach or in reporting?

Iterate

Growing and advancing your marketing organization is all about a commitment to continual, incremental improvement. You do this by populating, prioritizing and grooming your marketing backlog and then reviewing the impact of your total effort and making changes to better your efforts along the way. Whatever your approach, stay disciplined and committed to regular review and iteration as a proven and effective way to refine your progress and power your organization’s ongoing journey toward digital transformation.