Columnist Paul Roetzer shares tips to help marketers build solid technology foundations that will drive performance.
Marketers are increasingly reliant on technology solutions to plan, create, manage, automate and monitor campaigns.
A strong marketing technology foundation in your business can help optimize productivity, maximize ROI and create competitive advantages. But choosing the right products and partners from an ever-growing matrix can be daunting for even the most seasoned marketing technologists.
Marketers tasked with building their company’s technology infrastructure can waste significant time, money and human resources on solutions that will not scale with company growth. This may be due to lack of adoption among internal users, poor integration with existing technologies, or any number of other major challenges marketers must overcome.
The Missing Pieces
In 2012, my agency released Marketing Score, a free online assessment tool that uses subjective analysis from internal stakeholders to identify marketing talent, technology and strategy gaps. Since that time, more than 2,000 marketers, executives and entrepreneurs have used it to evaluate their businesses.
Marketing Score includes 27 profile fields (e.g., annual revenue, revenue goals, marketing budget, employee size, industry and sales cycle length) and 132 factors across 10 sections. Each factor has a rating of 0-10 and is categorized as a liability (0-5), neutral (6-7) or asset (8-10).
One of the key takeaways from our research is that many organizations lack, or are underutilizing, fundamental marketing technologies.
In fact, when asked, “How would you rate your organization’s utilization of these marketing and sales technology solutions?” the highest rated factor out of 10 featured technologies is “Content Management System,” with an average score of only 5.4.
The research shows strong correlations between the strength of marketing technology utilization and marketing performance. For example:
- CRM (customer relationship management) utilization strength drives improved lead-to-sale conversion rates. CRM high performers (8–10) have a lead-to-sale conversion rate 1.4x the average rate of all others (0–7).
- Marketing automation high performers (8–10) have an average lead-to-sale conversion rating of 6.1, 1.6x the average rate of all others (0–7).
- Internal social network high performers (8–10) have an average internal communications strength rating of 8.2, 1.3x the average rate of all others (0–7). These high performers also have stronger corporate cultures (1.2x), employee relationships (1.2x) and employee retention rates (1.2x).
Questions To Consider
So what can your business do to ensure it has the right technology solutions in place to achieve performance potential? Start by asking the right questions.
- What are the core components of our existing marketing technology stack?
- Do we clearly understand the features, functionality and value of our existing marketing technology solutions?
- Are we immersing our marketing team in the technologies that drive our company’s success?
- Is the marketing team fully utilizing the existing technologies?
- Are the technologies we have tightly integrated with each other?
- Are gaps in technology affecting performance? For example, is the lack of a marketing automation solution hindering our lead-to-sale conversion rate?
- Are redundancies within our marketing technology solutions leading to inefficiencies?
- Do marketing and IT work together closely to maximize the value of marketing technology investments?
- Is an all-in-one solution that bundles core technologies (e.g., automation, email, analytics, social, CMS) best? Or should we build through a collection of best-in-breed solutions?
- What are we doing to keep up with innovations in marketing technology products and services?
Answers to these questions will help focus your business on constructing a solid marketing technology core that can drive performance.
The Only Constant Is Change
The rate of change continues to accelerate. Whether you are just starting to assume a more active role in marketing technology or are a martech veteran, it is more important than ever to take a critical look at the makeup of your marketing technology infrastructure.
Consider how your needs will evolve in the months and years to come as consumer behavior shifts and technology innovation races forward.
Some opinions expressed in this article may be those of a guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land. Staff authors are listed here.
(Some images used under license from Shutterstock.com.)