In Part 5 of a nine-part series, contributor Peter Ladka explains how to create overarching goals for your martech strategy that will provide insight and guidance for your martech team.
Welcome to Part 5 of: “A Nine Part Practical Guide to Martech Enablement.” This is a progressive guide, with each part building on the prior sections and focused on outlining a process to build a data-driven, technology-driven marketing organization within your company. Below is a list of the previous articles for your reference:
- Part 1: What is Martech Enablement?
- Part 2: The Race Team Analogy
- Part 3: The Team Members
- Part 4: Building the Team
As we proceed from here, I really can’t reinforce enough what I stated so strongly in Part 1 of this guide: The process of martech enablement itself is an iterative, methodical process that will result in digital maturity and digital transformation.
This is not a project you execute and voila, your marketing organization is transformed. Martech enablement requires a commitment to creating objectives and then iteratively establishing achievable goals and executing tactics to meet them.
The iterative “sprints” consist of repeating the process for incremental progress towards maturity and transformation. Later in this guide, “Executing the Process,” we’ll discuss the iterative, agile, sprint-based process of martech enablement.
As has been the case throughout, I’ll continue to reference the race team analogy outlined in Part 2. In this part, “Building the Strategy,” we’ll look at how the race team develops a strategy to win the series by creating overarching goals which provide insight into how to plan each race and then iterate on the success and failures of the races to improve on the overall goals.
Your goals will be the foundation of your progression of martech enablement towards digital transformation and will be the basis for your executional decisions later as you run races. This will be your martech strategy.
Building the team strategy
A race team’s ultimate success objective is winning the race series they participate in. They win the series by tallying up points they earn in each of the races that are part of the series.
Goals are developed for the series that guide the creation of objectives for each race. Strategies are developed based on each of these goals and then executed.
During each race, the drive team and crew are gathering insights and taking action based on the evolving strategies to achieve their targeted goal for each race. So when we look at the relationship of series team objectives, as an example, series goals and individual race goals, you might see the following:
- Team objectives
- Win each series we compete in.
- Elevate sponsor brand engagement.
- Mature the drive team and crew.
- Own average top speed.
- Reduce average pit-stop time.
- Improve average start position over last year.
- Individual race goals
- Change tires every other pit-stop.
- Lead or pace leader through laps, then focus on lead takeover.
During this race, the goals that have been established will act as a filter in order for the driver, drive team and crew to make decisions, thus providing a clear, common understanding to all the team members during the stresses of racing.
Team Objectives -> Series Goals -> Race Goals
The martech team strategy
When looking at your marketing organization, the race team strategy parallel is simple. The race team is your martech team, the series are “sprints” of marketing effort, and races are marketing campaigns and channels executed within each sprint. The efforts are all focused toward achieving the sprint goals, which are targeted towards achieving the martech team’s objectives.
Martech team objectives -> sprint goals -> campaign/channel goals
Define your team objectives
The ultimate success of your marketing organization might not be as cut-and-dried as the race team’s, but developing objectives for your marketing organization is critical to success. As I said earlier, these objectives will serve as a guide to follow to help you set goals and make decisions as you run race series.
These should be rooted in and derived from the vision that was described in Part 4 of this guide. And they should be developed in conjunction with your core team and align with the CEO’s vision for your overall organization. Here are a few team examples to help you understand the principle-centered approach to your objectives:
- Create innovative “customer first” digital experiences.
- Improve speed to market.
- Foster cross-functional team collaboration.
- Vision for unified customer view.
- Make intelligent, data-supported decisions.
- Quantify marketing spend (ROMI, return on marketing investment).
These objectives will serve as the filter through which you will evaluate the goals you set for each series you race. This exercise will also serve as the foundation to evaluate your current martech stack for its initial readiness to serve these objectives. In the next two parts of the guide, we’ll discuss your martech stack and how to perform the required initial evaluation as well as incrementally improve your stack to support your series goals.
Martech series and race goals
As I mentioned earlier, in a later article in this guide, we will be delving into the iterative nature of running series (sprints) in the martech enablement process. Right now, I want to look at how series and race goals for the race team align with sprint goals and campaign/channel goals for your martech team.
If your martech organizational goals are longer-term and aspirational, sprint goals are more digestible and measurable objectives focused on short time periods. Think in terms of months and quarters rather than years. These are goals that will directly act as guide rails to create actual tactical campaigns and channel initiatives.
When making decisions about creating these sprint goals, keep it manageable and achievable. When working with martech teams, I encourage them to identify two or three goals for a sprint. In doing this, the team is able to focus and truly understand the impact of each goal on progress toward the team objectives.
A few examples of sprint goals might be:
- Improve personalization.
- Boost marketing and sales collaboration.
- Identify and collect data for email marketing KPI.
Each of these example goals provides the opportunity to collaborate with the martech team to develop a tactical execution plan focused toward each goal. As you develop the effort around them, you’ll ask and answer questions such as:
- Which core team members and specialists need to be involved to meet this goal according to the RACI matrix (which we created as described in (Part 4)?
- What channels are touch points to achieve this goal?
- What technology do we currently have to support this goal, and will it need to be modified by the crew?
- What metrics will we use to measure the success of this effort?
The answers to these questions will provide the framework for work efforts and campaigns to be created, channels that can be leveraged in those efforts and campaigns and technology needed to execute and measure their effectiveness. This should result in goals for each effort, campaign and channel. For instance:
- Identifies the team objective of: creating a “customer first” digital experience.
- Drives the sprint goal of: improve personalization.
- Creates a campaign goal of: implementing rules-based personalization on corporate home page.
It’s easy to see how the race team’s individual race goals support those of the race series which support the race team’s objectives. The same is true for the martech campaign goal — it supports the sprint goal, which, in turn, supports the overall martech team’s objective.
The campaign goal of “implementing rules-based personalization on corporate home page” can now be broken down into tasks and a plan to reach this goal. It should be this way for each campaign goal you create — a “who will do what by when” plan.
Later in the series, I’ll touch on planning and collaboration tools that can help with the details of managing your martech enablement initiatives, but for now, understand that tools to handle your sprints will be an important component of planning, executing and measuring your success.
A few more thoughts
When developing your team and sprint goals and campaign/channel objectives, be sure to “right-size” them. Incremental improvement leads to maturity and transformation. Look at the areas that are most important to your overall objective and pick a few (two or three) management areas.
The old adage of “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time” is appropriate. As you proceed with martech enablement, I recommend you keep a race team scoreboard and celebrate each race, series and team goal achieved. You’ll be surprised at the accomplishments you will realize over time.
It’s important to understand the power of compounded incremental change. Each of your improvements provides a platform for more valuable advancements in the future. In other words, one improvement will enable you to make future ones you couldn’t otherwise have made.
I’ll avoid a full explanation of how compound interest works — let’s just say in a simple contrived example that three years’ worth of one-month sprints that each move the needle only 2 percent actually lead to a 103 percent improvement, not 72 percent. Realize that improvements today will lead to compounded advancements in the future.
Intro to Part 6: Building the Car — Identify, implement and integrate
In Part 6 of the “Martech Enablement Series: A Nine Part Practical Guide to Martech Enablement,” we will be looking at evaluating, building and modifying your martech stack.
I look forward to continuing to explore martech enablement with you in Part 6 of this guide.
Some opinions expressed in this article may be those of a guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land. Staff authors are listed here.