Is your firm maximising its digital marketing intelligence from tools and technologies to constantly improve

Is your firm maximizing its digital marketing intelligence from tools and technologies to constantly improve - or is it just one more thing to manage?  4

By Ben Michaelis, Managing Director – ThinkEngine

Is the number one headache for marketing leaders – ‘which marketing platform should we buy to drive revenue growth?’ Getting it right can deliver a scalable infrastructure to grow, getting it wrong can, well let’s not talk about it, it doesn’t bear thinking about.

It feels to me that we are reaching an inflexion point in the digital marketing industry where we are flooded with technology and choice, but knowing how to narrow this down to the right solution for your business can be somewhat of a challenge. Why? Well, there is a considerable number of factors to consider which impact the decision-making process, everything from the views and opinions of stakeholders (both internal and external) to the way in which this platform might interreact with existing business technologies. Does this point then lead to another common headache for marketing professionals ‘is what we have enough?’ or ‘is another solution just going to be more work to manage?’ – All of these potential questions are becoming ever present in the minds of innovative marketing leaders looking to evolve and adapt to the modern world of marketing that we live in. I am going to do my best to outline my thought and see if I can make you think about these things a little differently.

Exciting times ahead, but will this work in reality?

The outlook for marketing technology is now at arguably its most exciting period to date, from no-code tech to the metaverse, the way we engage with customers and clients is changing, and fast.

I consider myself extremely fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with clients at every point of their business journey, from start-ups getting started on day one to major global groups employing thousands of staff. And yet the synergy and key questions often remain similar from a marketing perspective, which technology are you looking to use to scale this business? So, it begs the question to me, does this mean that we should be spending more time at an earlier point in the business journey to really understand the marketing tech for scalability sooner? Granted, I take the point that we cannot predict the future and don’t know which exact direction our business might take, nor do we often have the budget for a full-blown solution in the early days – but the need to select an intelligent , automation focused, and cost-effective marketing platform is arguably a critical component to the puzzle in my view. And here’s my justification why. Clever marketing technology typical of supports several other business departments within a company, this might include Technology, Operations and Finance for example. Let’s not forget the obvious winner, the Sales/Business Development team. Marketing’s support not only drives customer/client intelligence to support sales growth, but also great insight into lead and acquisition costs, campaign ROI and budgets. In my view, joined up thinking towards marketing technology can bring significantly wider corporate benefits to the table, one main benefit is the improvement to a companies’ culture. At this point you might be thinking ‘Bold point Ben’. Again, my justification is based on working with a wide breadth of marketing teams and leadership teams – for many years there has been a number of common issues within emerging firms. Put simply, the most common one is that marketing and sales teams don’t get on well. Why? Because apparently both teams have different objectives – and I don’t think that’s true at all. The common objective is always to grow the business, and in my view there has been a major collaboration issue between sales and marketing teams over the years. I think it’s critical that they are actually the most joined up departments within a business due to their natural overlap to one another. And if you want to look at it frankly, amongst other things, marketing is tasked with driving quality leads and sales is tasked with closing them – if neither department does their bit, everyone isn’t in a great situation are they? No one wins…So why are both these teams not the best of friends? I think this is really simple, both departments do not truly understand the level of expertise, experience or resources that are required to facilitate each team’s function, therefore there is never a true understanding of what is required to make both teams operate in the most effective way.

So what’s the simple answer I hear you ask? Get to know your internal colleagues’ role and technology better – the more you know about what is involved in a process, the better you can support one another and grow the business overall. I have seen first-hand with a number of fast-growth firms how this approach can take a business in to a whole new level of growth. A simple theory and fix which could deliver significant rewards – in the end everyone wins.

Fresh perspective

Even prior to the pandemic, I noted a number of common issues with the way that many firms fail to take a step back and realise how marketing technology should be working for them. Due to high and resourceful workloads, marketing teams are often burdened with ‘business as usual’ and they don’t often get the opportunity to analyze the data and understand how a new mindset and approach might actually help to solve a number of business issues.

The common line I hear from marketing teams is ‘that’s how we’ve always done it?’ – my common response back is ‘does that solve your marketing pain points or deliver the greatest possible chance to meet your objectives?’. They often reply with an answer which broadly says that they don’t want another piece of tech to manage with their busy schedule.

This leads nicely on to the next point around how changing of technologies and the ‘upheaval’ it can cause can just be another thing to manage as a marketing team, well that is a fair point – but, again, could it help you to make your life easier, and if you look at the scenario six months later, would you be able to drive better results? In most cases in my experience the answer is yes. I believe it’s important to consider the long game, short term thinking means that we are not considering the long-term growth potential for the business.

Should I work with stand-alone marketing solutions if they talk to your existing tech stack? Or is one platform best?

This is a question I get asked a lot and the honest answer is….Whatever works best for your business. I tend to find that unless a business has invested significantly in one integrated solution (a sales and marketing solution with a CRM) then often most of their tools all work standalone. Then headache then leads to how all these tools communicate to one another, this can be a significant task for tech teams. Ultimately if a business has not considered this prior to purchasing a solution, or more commonly not having a central approach to technology procurement, it leads to vast additional cost and integration complexity down the line.

Many of the emerging and outstanding marketing tech platforms are often standalone solutions because they have realised their niche value within a marketing toolkit and built an outstanding product. Many no-code chatbot platforms are great example of this. Yes of course, you can find a marketing automation platform that may also have a chatbot builder within it, but often it will not deliver you the same features and benefits in my experience. The other point to note here is that on occasions, possessing different means platforms that you are not tied down to one solution provider and you don’t have a single point of failure ie if your one integrated provider has a server drop off for example, All of your tech could be impacted, thus means your clients experience would also be impacted – having standalone elements would mean some parts of your digital infrastructure would still be live and remain unaffected. Everyone will have different views here, but I think from a security, compliance and tech perspective, it does raise a few alternative discussions.

Where are things heading to?

My prediction over the next few years is that there is going to be a key change in how leadership teams see marketing technology and the way that marketing teams are run. In a similar way that marketing and sales team have been closely aligned because a business needs to drive growth, marketing will potentially work even closer with tech/digital transformation teams. In fact, you could argue that marketing departments will be working closer with all departments because the pace of technology change in the industry is considerable and failure to keep up means you are behind your competitors. If that is the case, that could mean that without a joined-up approach, the whole business could be behind too.

Hold on…Does this just mean that marketing will become the nucleus of your digital transformation evolvement? Will marketing and technology teams become one combined department? Let’s find out

Leave a Comment