In today’s rapidly changing digital landscape having the right technology to meet your customer’s needs is essential. The pandemic has rendered in-person meetings and trade shows unavailable and many companies are relying on their marketing machines to bring in leads now more than ever. However, many executives struggle to make sure that the platforms, software and marketing tools, that make up their martech stack, are configured correctly to maximize the capabilities of their marketing team. Martech spending often makes up a significant portion of the marketing budget with “marketing leaders spending 26% of their marketing budgets on martech”, yet few companies have achieved the ideal marketing mix. We've put together a few key tips to help you configure an agile and effective martech stack:
Audit your current stack
The first step to building an effective martech stack is gaining a thorough understanding of your current environment including capabilities, repetitions, gaps and sync issues. It may seem cumbersome to conduct a full martech stack audit, however organizational changes such as turnover, mergers and acquisitions can result in outdated platforms being left on your books. By identifying platforms that are no longer being utilized or repetitions in software licenses across teams you will be able to free up extra room in the budget for martech software that fits your business.
The audit will also help you identify new capabilities existent in tools you already own. In order to be competitive in today’s marketing software space many companies are expanding their product capabilities. What started as a marketing automations platform, may now include features for sales, social media, content, etc. By learning about new features of platforms you already own you may be able to eliminate unnecessary side software. Oftentimes when a product adds new features, they are left unused because they are not relevant to the person currently using the tool. As a result of marketing silos “marketing leaders report utilizing only 58% of their martech stack’s potential”. Use the audit as a way to bridge technology silos and reduce the number of tools in your stack.
Focus on Integration
Once you have completed your martech audit the next step is to define your core martech platforms and build a universe around them. Your core platforms should be directly aligned with your business goals and the type of customers you are pursuing. It is essential that you invest in the right tools to build your full ecosystem around, and that as many of your smaller platforms as possible have integration potential.
Integrating your technology is not only essential to running your business it can also promote a more unified overall culture. One of the major things that can exacerbate siloes among marketing teams is a lack of shared technology. If your teams aren’t looking at the same data or managing their projects in the same software, they likely have very different habits and may even be receiving a completely different company story. By having an integrated software platform teams can have common ground to communicate about and through. In today’s world of mergers and acquisitions, oftentimes teams that should be functioning as one will remain on different software platforms for years. This is why it is crucial that you continue to audit your martech stack. Make sure you are moving as many teams to your core systems as possible and then using the full functions of those systems. Simplifying your MarTech stack is not a one step process, but a continuous practice.
Consolidate but carefully
Once you have defined your core systems and have committed to an integrated stack it’s time to consolidate, but it is essential you do this carefully. System migrations are a difficult process, in fact 27% of marketing leaders report integration between martech solutions as being the largest impediment to their martech stacks effectiveness. When you are integrating systems make sure you are devoting enough resources to the project and allowing for realistic deadlines. It is almost impossible to untangle data if it is not transferred quickly and efficiently. When you are consolidating your martech stack it is also essential that you are replacing similar capabilities. At first glance you may think that replacing a webinar platform with a meetings platform sounds like an easy fit, however if the meetings software doesn’t have a quality option for webinars, this could result in decreased webinar participation, decreased leads and inevitably decreased revenue. It is essential that you talk to your team about their exact needs before moving them off a tried and true software. Which brings us to tip number four…
Listen to your team
As a marketing executive it can be tempting to invest in a solution that sounds like it will bring in easy leads or clarify a confusing process. However, if it makes your team’s life more difficult with little pay off, odds are, they won’t use it. It is very difficult to introduce a new tool into a team dynamic, so be sure that it is essential to not only your martech goals but also your teams. You may feel frustrated by lack of clarity into your team's budgeting process; however, a fancy budget tool will only solve this problem if it's easy to use and provides benefits for the team. If not, they will quickly abandon it for spreadsheets. The last thing you want is for your team to be duplicating processes. This leads to lack of efficiency, errors, and team frustration. Having a failed experience with a new tool can also lead to tool adoption becoming more difficult the next go around.
Train and train again
This one may seem obvious; however, the importance of training is often glossed over. 29% of marketing leaders indicate that training is a major impediment to martech stack effectiveness. When designing a training program, you need to make sure the level of training provided matches the tool, and how the employee plans to utilize it. A complex marketing automation system such as Marketo or Hubspot is going to demand much more training than a new tool to organize your marketing collateral. If your team is not trained on your core items you will not be able to build out the efficient stack you are looking for. Training should be an ongoing program that evolves with new hires and new software features. When introducing a new tool to your martech stack it is essential you vigilantly track its adoption over months and years. If you want this core piece of your stack to last you need to make sure it is adapting to your business and the training needs of your employees.
An efficient martech stack is key to growing your business
Building a martech stack that can evolve with your changing business and rapidly evolving digital marketing space can be difficult. However, focusing on a simplified and efficient martech stack will not only allow you to get the most of your marketing dollars, it can also help you grow your business and create an integrated and cohesive marketing culture.