According to Gartner, CMOs will likely spend more on technology than CIOs. Yet, there are many marketers that feel let down by the promise of marketing technology. Why? Some say it’s not as easy as they thought/were promised it would be.
Others say they don’t have enough resources or support from the business to be successful. Some say they are just scratching the surface of using all of the capabilities. Finally, others say they are so busy working through their to-do lists that they don’t have the time to optimize what they are doing. Sound familiar?
As an Adoption Advisor for the Oracle Marketing Cloud, I talk to a lot of customers about improving and extending their usage of marketing technology. Typically, most adoption and change management challenges are due to one or more of these three essential criteria being out of balance: People, Processes, and Technology.
The principle of People, Processes, and Technology is not new and aligning these three criteria is essential to the success of every technology deployment. Yet, while it is essential, it can be challenging for many companies.
Let’s look at these in more depth to find out how you can start getting more value out of your martech investments.
- Align Skills & Roles: First, make sure you have the right people in the right roles. Does your marketing team consist of the right people with the right skills/aptitude in place to manage your technology investments? You can’t expect an abstract, creative marketing person to manage the data and infrastructure of your marketing technology. Just like you can’t expect an IT professional to put together a complex, creative multi-channel campaign. It just won’t work. Make sure you align skills and responsibilities appropriately.
- Invest in Training & Development: Next, it’s critical to invest the time and money into training your team and developing their skills and expertise around the platforms you purchased. Think beyond just technical training, professional and strategic training are equally as important. There are countless times I’ve talked with customers who haven’t invested the time in product training and wonder why they are only using a fraction of their system’s capabilities.
On the other hand, there are some very talented technical people that know the technology inside and out, but don’t have the strategic vision for how the technology can be used to create efficiencies for their company. Implementing and using marketing technology is not like setting up a new iPhone. You have to participate in the training, read the product documentation, understand the overall strategy/vision, and put in the hard work. There are no shortcuts.
- Define & Document Your Process: Marketing runs on processes. Or at least, it should. Processes for campaign creation and execution, content creation, reporting and analytics, lead management, data management….you get the idea. These should all be defined, documented, assigned owners, and have built in accountability with service level agreements. Broken and undefined processes result in inefficiencies, wasted time, and ultimately, wasted money. Take the time to audit your processes to see where you can become more efficient as a marketing team.
- A Real World Example: I experienced this first hand: When I was a marketing practitioner at a previous company, we had so many work arounds for how marketing passed leads to sales, and work arounds for those work arounds, which made the entire lead management process incredibly inefficient. Sales cherry picked what leads they wanted to follow up with, good leads with bad data didn’t make it into the queues, and marketing had no idea what was happening to the leads they had spent precious budget in generating.
We spent a year and a half fixing our broken lead management processes. The time, resources, and tremendous effort that were invested paid off in spades in terms of influenced revenue on the business. Leads were now tracked throughout the funnel, the process was monitored with reports and dashboards, and both marketing and sales were held accountable.
- It’s Not Always Perfect: Let’s get one thing out of the way upfront – no technology is perfect. [Gasp!] There will usually be bugs, limitations, and frustrations. Marketing technology is not exempt from this. While this isn’t what you should expect, it’s just a given. Make sure you get help from support services and submit requests to the product development team to get issues fixed and new features added. For Oracle Marketing Cloud products, you can always submit product feature requests via Dream It on Topliners. We have often taken these ideas and developed them into the products. Now that we have that out of the way, let’s continue…
- Success Begins with a Successful Implementation: Success with technology starts with a successful implementation. It’s important to hire the right implementation partner, align internal stakeholders, and secure executive sponsorship to achieve a successful implementation. Make sure that your unique business needs are going to be met and supported when implementing a new technology. An unsuccessful implementation inhibits success and results in frustration, setbacks, and the good chance that the technology will not be adopted.
- Crawl, Walk, Run: Finally, utilization of marketing technology can be as easy or as complex as you make it. Take a Marketing Automation Platform as an example. Companies don’t invest in marketing automation platforms to send batch and blast emails. Yet, oftentimes, this is all it is being used for. And it’s usually because either the people or the processes aren’t in place supporting the technology. Use a crawl, walk, run approach to become more sophisticated with your usage. Pick one project to start with and build from there.
As you can see from the Chief MarTech Marketing Technology Landscape Supergraphic, the number marketing technology companies has exploded year over year. The booming and complex marketing technology landscape is reflective of the increasingly important role that marketing plays in business today. Balancing people, process and technology is how you can make your marketing technology work better for you, get return on your investments, and achieve real results.
The Truth And Nothing But
There seems to be no end to the growing number of marketing technologies available today. As I just mentioned the number marketing technology companies has exploded year over year. Download The Truth About the Martech Stack: What You Don't Know May Cost You and learn about the value of choosing an open platform that offers pre-integrated apps, offering an open infrastructure for future innovations.
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