How Much of that Marketing Tech Stack are you Really Using?
Remember the days when your Magic 8-ball would always give the right answer? It didn’t matter how many how times you needed to shake it – eventually, you got the answer you wanted.
Unfortunately, as digital marketers we can’t rely on a Magic 8-ball for the answers, we need to be much more methodical if we are to ensure that the company’s tech stack doesn’t start to resemble an 11-year-old’s Lego collection – only with a lot less use.
As much as we appreciate it when the C-suite declares their commitment to transform the customer experience by investing more in technology, we need to also be wary of the potential risks. Often, companies looking to bank “quick wins” may end up resolving a current-state problem, but with a partner that has no real solutions for the challenges of tomorrow. B2C Marketers know all too well that meeting – or even exceeding consumer expectations isn’t enough. Success today is often measured by how well a company anticipates a consumer’s needs, and immediately offers a solution that is unexpected, yet appreciated.
A lack of preparedness, including not having enough trained staff or other critical resources in place early in the technology onboarding process can quickly become a marketer’s worst nightmare. After all, you know technology doesn’t run on its own, and the clock is ticking. Reluctantly, you gear up and enter the battle, hoping to find an ally or two along the way.
A bit dramatic? Perhaps, but not entirely unrealistic either. Unfortunately, over-investing in technology that remains under-utilized a year or two later is not only expensive, but it can also be highly disruptive to your business operations. In the most extreme cases, you might actually fail to address the most important challenges that you set out to address in the first place. The reasons why a company’s tech stack becomes unwieldy centers around a few key themes:
Excitement for what’s possible often overshadows what’s realistic.
While it’s true that some companies are better at taking the crawl > walk > run approach, many more need to start first by sitting up and perhaps rolling over once or twice. Take your time to assess the full landscape because there’s a lot to consider.
Too many stakeholders with competing goals.
In seeking to transform your marketing operations, it’s important to watch out for the inevitable scope creep. Chances are, there are dozens of transformative ideas captured on whiteboards all throughout your company just waiting to be funded. Knowing which to prioritize is no easy feat. Luckily, one stakeholder trumps all others – your customers. Companies who have invested in a Customer Experience Management platform know firsthand the wealth of insights collected from customers, so start there.
Technology fails to keep up with your company’s growth or defined changes in strategy over time.
If the provider seems too new in the space, chances are you’ll be cutting them loose before you know it. Be equally wary of the most established technology providers who claim to be industry leaders yet clearly don’t comprehend your unique set of challenges. Even if you have no choice but to commit to a short-term fix, plan to invest the necessary time and effort over the next year evaluating a range of alternative solutions. Lastly, when the tech stack starts to get crowded, or your partners no longer seem capable of delivering results, start trimming.
As customer expectations are continuously evolving, so too must each phase of your customer journey, so don’t get too comfortable.
When gaps between the expected vs. actual results are highlighted, it’s often not pretty. But an effective marketer knows that this is exactly why a detailed business case is so important because it ensures everyone knows what you’re trying to solve for.
|If the time has come to reevaluate the ROI for each component of your marketing technology stack, start by asking yourself the following two questions:
Lastly, in benchmarking your company’s progress along their own unique digital journey, consider the following best practices:
Thoroughly critique the underperformance of technology, not people.
It’s easier to blame people you know than technology you don’t understand; it’s also foolish. Recognize that most people have the best of intentions but aren’t always set up for success. Disciples of Dale Carnegie understand the importance of letting someone save face. And who knows – that person may end up being one of your biggest allies, and you can never have too many of those.
Mandate that your technology partners act like – well, partners.
Despite ongoing consolidation, the Martech ecosystem remains a crowded place. There are plenty of great customer-centric companies built solely with your success in mind. A few that could care less, as well. The bold ones even try to sell you more before delivering what you’ve already purchased. You know who they are, so demand that they put some skin in the game or walk away – quickly. Don’t ever let a company build their business on your back and leave you nothing but frustration to show for it. Don’t be afraid to ask for references.
Beware of relationships in the C-Suite.
It’s reasonable to expect that C-Suite and technology executive relationships are going to find their way into any technology acquisition undertaking. That’s okay – after all, relationships are rarely a substitute for a well-developed strategy. More importantly, if there’s a success story from the past that can be replicated in the future, it just might make your life easier.
Undoubtedly, conducting a full-scale audit of just how much of your marketing technology stack is really being used is bound to uncover more than a handful of unpleasant realities. It is what it is. However, companies are complex organizations with constant employee turnover. Therefore, it stands to reason that most technology will eventually cease to add value once the initial sponsor(s) have moved on. With that in mind, perhaps mandating an annual efficiency audit of everything within your existing technology ecosystem might just cement your own legacy as a legitimate transformation leader.
The innovative leader in procurement services and technology, LogicSource is purpose-built to drive profit improvement, mitigate risk, and ensure supply chain continuity through better buying. LogicSource focuses exclusively on the sourcing and procurement of indirect goods and services, which typically represent 20% of an organization’s revenue and the area of greatest spending inefficiency. These include complex categories like marketing, packaging, corporate services, facilities, information technology, distribution and logistics and more, for which organizations often lack the capacity, focus and scale to achieve best-in-class buying. Unlike traditional advice-based consultants, LogicSource is a purpose-built buying utility with assets that are configurable to their clients’ needs and ready to deploy. By combining decades of sourcing and procurement expertise, superior market intelligence, cross-portfolio spending leverage, and their OneMarket® Source-to-Pay technology, LogicSource executes customized solutions that deliver immediate savings and sustainable value. For more information visit www.logicsource.com.
Tags: Technology, Marketing, MarTech, Center of Excellence