The problem is common and constant: Client purchases an instance for XYZ marketing automation platform (MAP), customer data platform (CDP), campaign management platform, programmatic platform, or any of a million other plugins and add-ons to increase the effectiveness of their marketing operations. The platform is onboarded and integrated into operations and … then what? More often than not, it just sits there, underutilized and forgotten. Bankruptcy by a hundred licenses.
It reminds me of an experience I had about four years ago when I was given the opportunity to drive a Ferrari at Portland International Raceway (this is a short story that has a point). When I arrived, we went through the normal safety checks and waivers. I also noticed that cones were set up in the parking lot. After the safety brief, the instructors said we would be driving the cars—around the parking lot. My jaw hit the ground as I was being told that I was going to drive a car made to go over 150 mph around a coned track that would keep me under 30 mph. Needless to say, I left disappointed in the experience.
Here’s my point: Marketing technology is advancing into highly sophisticated tools—much like a modern sports car. I felt guilty for driving the Ferrari so slowly and underutilizing this driving “tool” much like marketers feel guilty for underutilizing the MarTech they have committed to.
This post is meant to prepare organizations for better MarTech adoption and make sure they have the right “vehicle” for the function.
Look before you leap into MarTech
Martech tools today are expensive. Modern tools are highly sophisticated and often incorporate AI or machine learning. The problem is most marketing teams are not ready for what they promise to deliver. In order to get the most out of the tools we bring into our organization, we must onboard our team as well.
Onboarding is where businesses need good advisors to make sure integration and alignment occur, while building a checklist of what the company currently has, what the company believes will be the outcome of the new MarTech tool, and who will champion the process. Much like assigning a mentor for new employees, technology needs an internal champion to be successful.
Here’s a quick checklist that can help ensure success as companies head deeper into the MarTech stack.
Before exploring a migration
- List very specific shortfalls of your current technology.
- Know who onboarded that technology.
- Know its pricing history.
- Map all of its integrations.
- Explore the innovation road map of the technology.
- Communicate with tech support to see if the shortfalls are actually available capabilities.
While exploring a migration
- What technology is currently available in the segment? (Hint: There could be hundreds. Start with Forrester Wave, Gartner, or G2 Crowd.)
- Does the new technology fix your original problem with the current technology?
- Does the new technology integrate easily with your current APIs?
- Who is going to onboard the new technology and do they have the capacity to do so?
- Does the champion need a certification to operate the technology?
- Do you need to hire an agency or a contractor to onboard the technology?
- What is the estimated value from the new technology (effectiveness or time)?
- Does the new technology eliminate several other technologies as well as the incumbent?
- What is the innovation and integration road map of the new technology?
After a migration
- How many team members are going to be operating in the new technology?
- Do your agencies have expertise in that technology?
- What are the deadlines and milestones to be fully deployed?
- What is the estimated utilization rate of the technology?
- What will the first executive summary look like and how easily is it generated?
- Will you be able to measure ROI from the technology and when will the first report be?
This is just a preliminary list to get you started. As budgets and expenses increase with marketing technology, so do the complexity and need for a complex evaluation process. The last thing we would ever want is for a company to onboard a new technology or process and have it go unused. It takes careful evaluation and planning to ensure you get the most out of each new initiative and technology.