If you’re looking for a visual perspective on the various marketing technology tools that are available to help marketing and sales leaders reach key digital transformation goals, there was a dizzying array of charts released recently that could interest you.
Or maybe give you a headache.
The charts may be visually attractive, and they can be helpful with the abundance of information they contain to boost demand generation, engagement, and retention programs. Each one teaches us all a little more about how to think about the world through the marketing technology lens.
The data may pop off a page or screen, but, taken together, the charts’ interpretation of the martech landscape is daunting. (For instance, I like the Dun & Bradstreet chart because it puts the tools into context of the activities that match up with them. So, I find the chart more useful when explaining the end-to-end needs of digital transformation.) But the charts only seem to raise anxiety, and the type is usually too tiny for my CMO clients.
It may be easy to wind up with a bunch of tools — especially those that don’t cost much — but having too many of them, or having the wrong tools, is worse than having none.
Current trends suggest that larger enterprises need to reduce the numbers of tools they use by consolidating on corporate standards and develop best practices so they can get more out of the tools they already have.
Before you start getting rid of or searching for new tools, follow these five steps to assure you are well equipt.
Step 1. Turn over your pile of charts and return to square one. What’s the organizational strategy and the marketing strategy for the next 12 to 18 months?
Step 2. Identify which strategic goals technology can help solve. Remember: A tool is only useful if it accelerates a business process or turns the impossible into something possible.
Step 3. Audit your existing tools and see if they have features that can support at least one of your goals. Remember, the more integrated your stack of tools, the better you can respond to the needs of your customers and prospective customers.
Step 4. Dump the tools you don’t need.
Step 5. Once you have outlined your business goals, success metrics, and what you have and need, then you can flip over those colorful martech charts and begin to analyze how to fill your gaps.
No matter what direction you take your martech stack, remember that the process is, and should be, iterative. Go slowly and thoughtfully to yield the greatest impact. And, remember to build skills and invest in the people who run the tools. The more your marcom leaders can do with them, the more they can do — operationally and strategically.