You want to create a successful marketing platform for your business, but you don't know where to begin. Someone told you that you need to invest in a MarTech stack for your marketing efforts. You've started looking at the variety of tools available, but the more you investigate your options, the more confused you're becoming.
As you delve into the world of MarTech and how it can benefit you, you will find yourself asking questions about the tools, but you may not feel confident asking someone in the know. Research is only yielding more questions. Now what?
You've stumbled upon the correct article. We have compiled twelve questions that you may want to ask, but you're afraid to vocalize. Before we tackle the questions to help you choose the right MarTech tools, let's start with the basics and identify what MarTech is and why MarTech tools are worth investigating.
What Is MarTech?
MarTech sounds like a foreign concept, but it's really not. MarTech is a shortened way to say marketing technology. Marketing technology is software that assists marketing professionals in processing a variety of data sources to improve customer engagement. If you use MarTech correctly, your marketing efforts will become more efficient.
Marketing technology tools can help you learn what your customer base expects from you, what websites they already view, and which trends you might find beneficial for your business. Using the tools helps you develop efficient marketing practices, insights into customer behaviors and desires, and successful sales techniques.
No tool is perfect. Finding the right tools for your business is essential in creating a marketing platform that works to meet the goals you have set for your business practices and scalability metrics. To help you begin to compile your MarTech stack, learn the questions you should ask a MarTech vendor.
1. What Is The Value?
When we say value, we aren't necessarily talking about monetary value unless you are looking at how much money you will save by purchasing the product or what your ROI will be (something we will cover later). Will this tool save you time? Is this tool different from what we are currently using, and if so, how?
The ultimate question to consider is whether the tech will allow you to create a better experience for your customer. Make sure you have a goal that you want to reach with each piece of tech that you choose. Don't choose something based on its newness or trendiness alone.
2. Is It Integrated?
Integration with your current software is one aspect of MarTech tools that is worth insisting upon having. The more fully integrated your marketing tools are, the better and more efficient your workflow will be. Additionally, how easily can you add other tools later, whether it be other marketing tools or a different kind of software?
Choosing something that is either fully integrated or customizable will help you have an efficient, productive workflow. Are there customization options if your chosen tool doesn't automatically integrate with your current software package? Are there steps you can take to increase the ability to integrate the software with other packages?
3. Does It Align With Our Branding?
Does the platform align with the company's branding? This is perhaps the most critical question because reaching customers is essential, but your branding is tied to your company's image. The image is with your company over the lifetime of your business.
Will this tool help you reach your most important goals? Does it match your core values? If not, then it isn't the tool for you.
Your brand represents you. You want to choose tools that will be true to your brand and thereby help keep your reputation intact.
4. Does It Change How I Work?
You want your workflow to change. Whether you have a small business or are responsible for selecting the marketing tools for a large company, a key component to consider is efficiency. If a MarTech tool increases your efficiency, it has changed your workflow.
Tools are designed to make your life easier and more efficient. It would be pointless to purchase software that didn't enhance workflow somehow. So, if your MarTech software isn't increasing efficiency or making life simpler, you should scrap it in favor of a more favorable tool.
Collaborative tools, data asset management tools, and analysis tools change the way we store, analyze, and use data. Built-in collaborative tools help to integrate processes across multiple programs and platforms. Having the right tool can save you time and increase productivity.
5. How Does It Help Us Meet Client Goals?
You should have a set of criteria you want to meet regarding client interaction and engagement. The best marketing assets will help you not only to reach but also exceed your goals for client interaction. Exceeding your client's expectations will help gain loyal customers for the business.
As you build client loyalty based on exceeded expectations, you can expect the need to expand the company itself in the future. Goals for scaling go hand-in-hand with client acquisition and retention goals.
6. Do I Need A Platform Or A Feature?
Don't mistake the need for a single feature with the need for an entire platform. Look at the element's functionality you appreciate and determine if you already have a program that can match that feature's functionality. If the only appeal of a platform is a single feature, you might consider looking at other platforms that include that feature and others that you need as well.
With the overlap in available tools, there is a possibility that you already have the feature you need, or the feature you appreciate is available as part of a different package that better fits your needs. If the majority of the platform's features meet your needs, then you do indeed need the platform rather than just the feature.
7. Do We Have the Team to Back It Up?
Technology is only as good as the people behind it. The best tools will do you no good without the human component needed to support the implementation of the technology. Products are wonderful resources, but your living team needs to have the ability to interact with the software package, or you have a wasted tech product.
Make sure your team has the knowledge base to utilize the MarTech tool you have chosen entirely. For example, if your software package requires coding knowledge, but no one on your team knows how to code, you have what amounts to an expensive paperweight unless. Though, you could provide training that will help your team utilize the new software.
8. What's the ROI?
MarTech vendors will highlight the specialty features of the products. After all, they are selling a product, so it's reasonable to expect them to market their products with the flashiest features front-and-center. It can be easy to get caught up in the newest high-tech features because they draw you into the narrative surrounding the product you are investigating.
An effective way to evaluate the product is to focus on the primary purpose of the tech. Will those core features provide you with an appropriate return on investment (ROI)?To determine your ROI, compare the cost, including training and maintenance, with the benefits you get from the main features. Choose the product or products that provide you with the most significant ROI.
9. Would You Hire Your Platform?
Before shopping for MarTech solutions, write down your expectations for the new software. Consider what, if anything, you would change about the software. Think of it as a job posting. After all, the tech should perform a job efficiently for you.
Practical evaluation of products allows you to make a knowledgeable decision regarding which tools will be effective as a part of your MarTech stack. If you think of the software as a new employee, it will make evaluation an easier prospect. Realistically ask yourself, "Would this product make a good employee?" If you wouldn't hire someone with the skills available with the MarTech platform, the tools are likely not a good fit for your MarTech stack either.
10. Open-Source or Not?
Open-source sounds like it would be a good idea. After all, open-source software can be distributed among multiple team members without fear of repercussions. However, before using open-source software, you should remember there are downsides to open-source materials.
Is there an established customer service number if you have issues with the program? With open-source materials, you will often have little or no recourse if you have problems with any part of the software. While programs that are not open-source can have a higher up-front cost, they also have built-in customer service.
Sometimes you'll run into open-source programs that have not been thoroughly tested. This is another reason to stick to software that has been fully vetted. You don't want to install software only to have it crash and cause issues with your other programs or your operating system.
Privacy should be a top priority with marketing technology. You should know and understand established privacy policies within your company before you begin incorporating new software. Learn all you can about the new platform's privacy policies before you start incorporating the software into your rotation of programs.
12. Is This More Than We Need?
Simple is often better. When you choose simple software, it implies that it will be user-friendly. If your team has issues using the software you've chosen, then they will likely leave it gathering dust.
MarTech software can incorporate a variety of tools into one package. It's best to carefully consider the packages and choose the one that will fit your needs the best with the least extra work from your team. Bells and whistles are nice features but do you really need the additional features the software has to offer? If your answer was no, then you should move on to different software that will better suit your needs.
Things to Consider When Choosing MarTech Tools
You've asked the questions, but you don't yet feel ready to commit to a suite of marketing tools. As they say, knowledge is power, and the more knowledge you have about the tools available and the goals you want to reach by using the tools, the better your experience will be. Here are some things to consider before buying components of a MarTech stack.
Where do you see your company in six weeks? A month? What about six months? Will the marketing technology you've chosen scale with you? This will tell you what scalability factor you need to consider in any software you are purchasing.
If you don't know your company goals, now is your chance to formulate and solidify them. A solid idea of your goals will help you make various other decisions regarding your company's best practices.
Not only do you need to know your company's overall goals, but also you need to know your specific marketing goals. It goes without saying that you want to increase consumer engagement with your brand. After all, that's what marketing is for in the first place.
Beyond engagement, what do you want for yourself, your team, your company, and beyond that, your community? If you're looking to expand your marketing tools, it's clear that you don't want to stagnate and wither to nothing.
Do you have a really tech-savvy bunch of marketing geniuses, or are they more plug-and-play oriented people? The skills and knowledge of your team will significantly affect the outcomes of various decisions you make for your company. It also dramatically affects the kinds of software you can implement.
A tech-savvy team will not be taken off guard by the need to code to get the full benefit of a platform. However, the opposite is also true. If your team knows nothing about coding and you choose a tool that is heavy on coding, you will either have a software program that never gets used, or you will spend unnecessary time and money on training for the program.
How many people do you have working on your marketing projects? Will the platform you have chosen require hiring more people, or is your crew already large enough? Your team, not your tech, is the real key to your business success.
Let's face it. Nothing can be done outside of the budget. It's foolish to think that money is no object when it comes to marketing tools. Granted, vendors are happy to allow you to spend as much as you want.
Take a realistic look at your overall budget as well as your marketing budget before you even begin looking at software of any kind. It's crucial to be aware of the kind of funds you have available for purchases. You can easily break the bank when it comes to tech packages.
Don't forget to incorporate training and maintenance costs into your marketing tools budget. Even packages that boast that they require little or no training will require some front-end training to get everyone familiar with the software and its implementation. Maintenance costs are also a necessary requirement.
While digital tools are global resources, considering your location is still worthwhile. The tools and techniques that lead to the best results in one area may ultimately fail in another. For example, if you are based in the middle of a community of dairy farmers, a nice, polished video about life in Manhattan. Similarly, someone in the city is not likely to respond well to an ad backed by an audio clip of cattle and chickens.
Your location informs your customer base and the tools that will work most efficiently to reach them. If you aren't catering to the consumer, are you really completing any marketing tasks?
Another thing to consider regarding location is that not all online coverage is created equal. While in an ideal world, your tools would be easily implemented, and you would have an instant online presence. However, connectivity is still a real issue in some locations, even in 2022.
Your marketing efforts are nothing without your customer base. A good marketing strategy aims to realize the most significant impact on the customer. No matter how many tools you have, you won't have a successful marketing campaign if you aren't paying attention to your customer base.
Taking that thought a step further, you should consider utilizing tools that focus on customer engagement as one part of your MarTech stack. These tools are explicitly geared toward having the most significant impact on customer relation goals.
The right MarTech stack is not likely to simply fall into your lap. Vendors often want to sell you the MarTech stack that will be best for them. However, you should choose the MarTech tools that work best for you.
When working with a vendor, you should check their reputation. Choose a vendor whose operating philosophy most closely aligns with your own. Choosing the correct vendor will help make your choice easier.
Avoid Common Implementation Mistakes
First comes people, then comes tech. The number one mistake people seem to make is thinking that the technology they implement will magically solve all of their marketing dilemmas. Tech is a tool, and it's crucial that we remember that.
Don't elevate your tech above the status it deserves. Implementing one feature or platform will not magically cure all your marketing woes. You still have to pay attention to data and metrics.
Analyze, but don't over-analyze. Sometimes we get caught up in the numbers. Someone, somewhere, said that numbers don't lie, so we constantly look for the numbers. Unless you are using those numbers to create new strategies, you might as well ignore them altogether. Why bother gathering facts and figures if you don't use the data once you have it?
Take the win. If even one small thing improves with the implementation of MarTech tools, then that is a small victory. Small victories add up. If you are patient and work diligently, your small victories will become a more significant win.
User-friendly tools will be easier to adopt into your entire marketing strategy. User-friendly options include options that require little to no training and those that need little to no coding. Your team should dictate how user-friendly your program is.
When used correctly, MarTech platforms can help you increase productivity in your marketing department. However, you can't just purchase a platform and expect immediate success. Implementation does require effort, even if it's minimal, but being prepared and knowing your company goals will help implementations go smoother.
Fear of the unknown can keep us treading water in one place, never realizing the potential of trying something new. When it comes to MarTech, that fear of the unknown can translate into the reluctance to try anything new. Knowing which things to consider before considering MarTech and knowing which questions to ask when we have reached the decision-making stage can help us avoid choosing the wrong software for our personal needs.
Integration with other tools, scalability, and ROI are three significant considerations when choosing a MarTech stack. Simplify your world by choosing tools to facilitate collaboration, efficiency, and productivity. User-friendly tools are easier to implement and require less extensive training before implementation.
The goal of any good marketing campaign is customer engagement. Knowing your company's goals will help you choose tools that help you reach your customers with the greatest efficiency. Use analytics to predict buyer behavior, but don't overanalyze.
Ask your vendor how the tools can work best for you.