Doing More with the Martech Tools You Have
Strategic use of the technology you already have is a much clearer path to value than buying a shiny new martech tool.
What does the perfect martech stack look like? It's made up of marketing technology solutions working together seamlessly, helping your marketing team achieve clear, strategic goals. And getting to this state of martech nirvana may be easier than it at first appears. How? Instead of adding to your tech stack and spending more money on new martech tools, first consider strategically optimizing your existing technology.
Buying more things is rarely the answer to marketing success. In fact, the average marketing department is already well-stocked with tech tools -- really well-stocked. Marketing expert Scott Brinker pointed to Okta data that reveals even small companies already use an average of 40 different applications, while larger firms carry hundreds.
Getting ROI out of those diverse tech tools comes down to how your team works with them. Breaking down operational silos is often the first step toward undoing the tech silos that keep martech from delivering on its promise. If there's a clear strategy for the whole marketing team to rally around, it'll be easier to make each tool work together and deliver consistent value.
What is marketing technology?
"Marketing technology" has become such a broad term that it now seems to apply to nearly any tool a marketer touches. If you ask Brinker, there are 8,000 options available in the marketing technology landscape today.
Tools purpose-built for the marketing department — marketing automation, email marketing, social media management and more — are clearly martech. Then, you have the systems that marketers use to communicate, collaborate in, and work with content. While these are used in every department in the company, they have an important role to play in the martech stack and in expediting marketing efforts.
What martech tools are available?
A streamlined way to review available martech tools is to categorize your options by their functional roles (rather than taking in all the thousands of options at once). By basing your thinking on what digital marketing software does at a basic level, you can cut through the hype about new solutions and make sure your marketers have what they need to succeed.
There is no absolute list of martech categories, but there are good places to start. For example, the Clickz Advisory Board came up with the following five based on companies' self-summaries of their martech stacks:
Planning Solutions: The software in this category covers a wide variety of uses, including: document management solutions, communication and collaboration suites, search analysis and intent measurement.
Creative Applications: This software lets your people make professional-looking materials for customers to read, listen to and view at each stage of the marketing funnel. Creating designs, collaborating and delivering content all fall under this umbrella.
Engagement Tools: These are the martech tools most likely to be referred to as "marketing technology." This could be the marketing automation platform or marketing tool behind everything from social media to lead generation, awareness building and more.
Customer Experience Martech Applications: The customer is at the center of every good marketing strategy, and these tools manage the customer experience. CEM applications handle the whole customer journey, from lead nurturing to experience management and long-term retention.
Data Analytics Platforms: Storing, cleaning and analyzing customer information is vital for data-based campaign planning. These platforms are the tools that allow for data-derived insights, so marketing leaders can make better decisions in pursuit of brand goals.
How can martech tools help your brand engage customers?
When it comes to martech, remember that technology is the tool you use to achieve your strategic goals - it's not the strategy in and of itself. Good marketing strategies have clear objectives around better engaging and serving your customers, with technologies chosen to specifically focus on those aims.
When planning an inbound marketing campaign whose endgoal is better customer engagement on your website, for example, martech tools can help you reach that goal in the following ways:
An SEO analysis tool will provide insights as your team plans content designed to perform in SERPs.
A content management system (CMS) will act as the gateway to publish more engaging and search-friendly original content.
A customer relationship management (CRM) system will support as your team tracks website visitors and optimizes engagement.
Marketing automation tools will allow your team to run retargeting campaigns.
Each of those software solutions is pivotal in getting you closer to the objective of more customers engaging more deeply with the brand's content. Fortunately, it's likely you already have those systems within your martech stack.
Rather than spending money to replace any of the necessary martech with newer models, make sure instead that your marketing strategy is sound, revise it as needed, and align your team around its goals and workflows.
When a marketing team has shared clarity on their aims and objectives, it becomes easier to see the opportunities to integrate existing tools with one another. A cohesive martech stack gives you a much clearer path to value than buying another widget would.
What does smart investment in martech tools look like?
If you're having a marketing dilemma, martech vendors will probably suggest you buy your way out of it. But instead, start by assessing your current marketing technology stack, and you'll likely find another way forward: Refresh yourself on what you have and get your team strategically aligned on the processes in place to utilize those tools. Marketing technology serves the strategy, not the other way around, and martech integration follows naturally from marketer integration.
A customer-centric marketing strategy is the North Star of any marketing operation. The smartest martech investment you can make is focusing on improving your processes and briefing your people, all with the end goal of better serving and reaching your customers. Strategic use of the technology you already have is a much clearer path to value than heeding the vendors' messages and buying a shiny new martech tool.
Invest in your people, your customers and yourself. Contact us today at GeekHive to take a closer look at your company's marketing technology stack and consider the possibilities.