If you’re in marketing, no doubt you’re bombarded daily with the next “new” thing in marketing tech. If you run marketing for a brand of just about any size then getting on top of the right marketing tech for your business is an imperative.
The marketing technology landscape is crowded and complex. VentureBeat, who tracks the category, identifies:
-947 marketing technology companies in 43 categories
-The six major categories identified are:
- Marketing experiences
- Marketing operations
- Backbone platforms such as CRM
- Infrastructure such as databases
- Marketing environments such as Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter
- Marketing middleware that ties it all together
There is a lot this technology can do for audience development, sales and brand, but the truth is, it’s a lot to take in, and every brand does not need every technology. The art of marketing is being supplemented by science or data in just about every space. It also means a lot of energy is going into optimizing vs. creating. The science is subsuming the art. And marketers who become focused on the delivery system vs. the insight may find themselves chasing their results to the bottom.
The question I hear most often is “how can marketing technology build my brand?”
Here are five suggestions to ensure marketing technologies have the greatest impact on your brand and your business, and minimize the distractions of the latest bright shiny object:
1. Have An Idea. Before you start enabling technology you need to know what you want to say and how you are going to say it so it resonates with your customer. Analytics can help you understand message effectiveness and drive better results, but you need a compelling platform. Otherwise you’re spending a lot of time, money and tech without much focus. Get the idea right and then…
2. Have A Plan. That means objectives, target, strategies, a calendar and a budget. Marketing technology will support execution of the plan, but the technology can only be as effective as the plan you are executing. With a plan in place, marketing technology can help you improve impact and avoid continuing less effective programs.
3. Have Resources. Most of the marketing technology solutions require manpower and constant vigilance. You need an internal team, agencies or both. Consider the effort required to feed a marketing automation program, or the vigilance required to produce and manage large quantities of content through multiple social channels. If you’re not resourced properly you will be paying for technology that you can’t use.
4. Have An Engaged CIO. For the company to get the true benefit of marketing technology, integration with many systems is a requirement. Marketing cannot be an island when it comes to technology. Greater integration at the enterprise or company level leads to innovation and the potential for greater customer intimacy as well. Enlist your CIO from the start.
5. Have A Dashboard. The dashboard seems to be the starting point for many companies. In my opinion a good dashboard is on the roadmap, but it comes once you have a plan — which should include metrics or KPIs — not as a means to developing them. As important as the dashboard is how it is implemented in the company and the marketing organization.
My recommendation to clients is to embrace technology. Integrating analytics, media and social platforms, mobile, automation and multi-faceted reporting can create tremendous opportunities. Marketing is an ever-evolving discipline and technology is pushing us all to places we could not have foreseen just a few short years ago.
Technology is a means of improving performance. Put creativity and planning first and technology will improve competitiveness and outcomes. Focus on the technology alone is not enough.