Businesses that are looking to leverage new marketing-technology (martech) solutions to improve the customer experience while improving efficiency have an overwhelming number of options to choose from. The market is practically exploding.
A blog posted on Chiefmartech.com recently indicated that the number of available martech solutions in 2017 exceeds 5,300, compared with only 150 in 2011 and a 40% year-over-year increase from 2016.
While having a wide range of technology options is undoubtedly a good thing, keeping up with the rapid pace of change and understanding what's available can be overwhelming for marketers and IT practitioners. Yet selecting the wrong solution can have far-reaching implications for the organization as well as its customers. This blog focuses on five such considerations.
- Misalignment. Selecting a solution that doesn't align with your marketers' needs may give them more capabilities than they require - or far fewer.
I recently met with the marketing team from a mid-size non-profit organization that had selected a marketing-automation solution. The marketers found that the solution was far more complex than they had bargained for. As the implementation was proceeding, they were already searching for a simpler solution.
The reverse problem - buying less than your marketers need - is likely to be reflected over the longer term. In other words, you might select technology suitable for today's needs only to find that it doesn't meet needs in a year or two.
In both cases, you incur the costs and headaches of having to migrate to a new platform shortly after implementing the first one.
- Low adoption. Failing to engage appropriate stakeholders in considering a solution can lead to the selection of technologies that don't meet end-users' needs and aren't adopted by end-users. This often occurs in cases where the IT team, which was asked to lead the selection process, doesn't consult with marketers when developing requirements. Although marketers might express some initial enthusiasm for the new technology, adoption typically falters as end-users find that that the solution doesn't fit their day-to-day work activities or isn't user-friendly.
- The problems of siloed solutions. We've also seen businesses select martech solutions that don't integrate with other systems. That can leave end-users performing duplicate manual tasks; for example, entering data in one system and then entering it another.
In addition to boosting reliance on costly manual labor, siloed solutions limit sharing of data, making it difficult to for marketers to gain a holistic view of the customer experience. This also makes it difficult to gain a clear understanding of the performance of marketing campaigns. Yet building custom integrations that enable data-sharing across platforms can be expensive and time-consuming. Learn more about Leveraging data to drive marketing excellence.
- Limited return on investment (ROI). All the problems we've discussed thus far have a negative impact on ROI. And they all point to the need for organizations to develop a clear business case before considering martech solutions. Why do marketers need the new technology? What role will it play in the organization? Are there existing solutions within the organization that can meet the need? How - and how much - will it increase revenue and/or cost-savings?
- Undermining the customer experience. Marketers typically embark on the path of identifying and selecting new technology solutions because they want to improve the customer experience. In some cases, this involves solutions that directly interface with the customer; for example, Web content management systems, social engagement and analytics platforms or personalization capabilities. In other cases, it involves internal-facing platforms that indirectly affect the customer; for example, campaign planning solutions, marketing automation platforms or digital asset management solutions.
Selecting the wrong solutions, whether external-facing or internal-facing, can undermine the customer experience, making it more difficult to convert prospects to loyal customers and more difficult to retain existing customers.
The Importance of an Effective Selection Process
Marketers and IT practitioners recognize that the marketing-technology landscape is evolving quickly. They know that it's tough to keep pace and understand the many solutions available. They know that selecting the right solutions is critical. Yet many organizations lack a well-defined process for selecting martech solutions.
An effective selection process will capture the right requirements, clearly define the needs of the organization (including end-users and other stakeholders), and incorporate market research that provides an understanding of the vendor landscape, trends in the marketplace and best practices. It will include rigorous processes for requesting proposals from vendors and facilitating demos and proofs of concept. Finally, the vendor selection process should include a clear business case to support sound investment decisions.
CapTech's Integrated Marketing Management team has established industry best practices for martech vendor selection. We have successfully helped organizations in a variety of industries select appropriate marketing technology solutions for their needs.
If you haven't already, make sure to check out Five Considerations for Selecting the Right MarTech Partner from this series.
For more information about how to select the right martech solutions for your organization, contact Nick Kerzman.
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