As marketing technologist recruiters, we’ve watched marketing budgets grow substantially almost across the board in recent years, in large part to take advantage of the rapidly growing suite of powerful marketing tools and technologies.
This year, investments into MarTech are poised to grow even further.
You’re probably spending more than ever on new technology for your marketing team. But are you sure you’re getting the maximum ROI?
Navigating a Complex Landscape
chiefmartech.com recently published the most recent edition of its annual Marketing Technology Landscape Supergraphic for 2017. Every year, the site gathers and organizes a list of as many of the technology products available for marketers as they possibly can. 2017’s lineup is absolutely dizzying in scale and scope:
The above graphic features 5,381 technology solutions from 4,891 unique companies. For context, that’s about a 40% increase in growth from last year’s landscape. Marketers have more options to choose from than ever, and their potential toolbox continues to balloon at a rapid pace.
Some of those would probably be hugely helpful in connecting you with customers and optimizing your campaigns. The right one could fundamentally transform your business and propel you to unprecedented growth. Others are less valuable to your organization; either as overall inferior products to the competition or simply not being right for your business.
With so many options to choose from, how can you make sure you’re getting the most out of your marketing technology budget?
Imagine your car was underperforming or just broken down in some way. You could walk into an auto parts store to get some tools to fix it; but you wouldn’t just grab a random assortment for checkout and hope that you picked the right ones (at least, I’d hope not).
Instead, you’d rely on experience and guidance to make sure you’re making the right purchases.
Perhaps you’re a car person yourself; you know the kind of tool you need so you just do a little research online to make sure you’re getting a quality version at a reasonable price. If you’re not so handy, maybe you consult with a mechanic or someone at the store to analyze your problem, determine the right tools to fix it, and choose the best options off the shelf.
It’s not a perfect analogy, but it’s close enough to what business leaders face when looking at the buffet of MarTech options and trying to figure out how to fix (or tune up) their growth strategy.
Tools are useful, but only if you know what you need and how to use them.
Leadership and Strategy
Like most business challenges, the solution to plotting the right path for your organization’s marketing technology strategy and budget allocation starts at the top.
One of the modern CMO’s primary responsibilities is making sure the company is making good technology decisions–not just in the marketing department, but across the organization. It’s not reasonable to expect a busy Head of Marketing to be up to speed on every single emerging technology option–but they should be digitally savvy enough to understand your business’s big-picture needs and the kinds of solutions available. They must also have the leadership capability to push for organization-wide buy-in of technology that requires adoption from other stakeholders.
Just as important, the head of marketing must also be able to find and appoint a supporting cast of marketing leaders who are abreast of the marketing technology options in their domain, whether it be advertising, public relations, analytics, or something else. If you have a very large marketing technology budget, it may even be prudent to complete a marketing technologist executive search and put a dedicated expert in charge of allocating budgets, selecting vendors and forging partnerships.
An ax is nothing without a lumberjack, guitar is nothing without a musician, and a cutting-edge CRM system with a million bells and whistles is nothing without a deft marketer directing it.
Buy any marketing technology you want; the most advanced, sophisticated, expensive options will still need operators. Technology can’t replace the need for talented marketers operating them. Instead, it informs them to make smarter decisions, opens up previously unattainable opportunities, and frees them from menial tasks to be more creative and strategic with their time.
Any investment into MarTech should be matched with a corresponding investment into talent. What that means for your business will depend on your situation.
Perhaps you can train your current team to master the fancy new tools.
Maybe you need to bring in interim expertise like a marketing technology consultant or digital staffing to help your business adapt to your new platform or build the infrastructure needed for it to work.
Or contacting marketing technologist recruiters at a digital talent agency might be your best solution to adding some full time expertise to your team.
Whatever the best option is, it’s important to make sure that your marketing team is stocked with talent that’s comfortable with the latest, most powerful technology as they are with marketing principles.