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BY: GAVIN MILLER – Creating value through marketing technology and operations

Making the Complex Less Complicated

One thing is clear, marketing technology today is an essential component of business transformation, helping marketers and their organisations attract, grow and retain audiences and customers  and with it, revenue, margin and value. For business and organisations of all shapes and sizes (B2B and B2C) marketing technology is a key driver and enabler of transformation: e-commerce, data, customer relationship management, workflow, social media, communications, product development and analytics amongst others.

But it’s ever-growing and complex to manage. It requires dedicated resource and planning; it can be costly if not fully utilised and it requires teams in the business to be joined up in its ambition to deploy marketing technology that will make a difference.

In addition, without a joined up and strategic road-map (Why are we doing this? What’s it for? What’s it going to cost us? What do we expect it to deliver and how are we going to measure our investment?) the risk of a poorly executed marketing technology programme will outweigh the benefits.

Challenges and Complexity

The challenge is that it’s a ‘market’ that has been made more complicated by the increasing number of software products, services and vendors to choose from (over 8,000 in the UK). The market is valued at around £100bn+ and estimates from  Gartner puts marketing technology at around 26% of an organisation’s total marketing budget. That figure is likely to increase as we have witnessed the acceleration of digital change and transition over the past 12 months.

And if Gartner is right, marketers use only 58% of their existing technology capabilities. That reflects three problems in a business. Who is making the decision to adopt new technologies and based on what criteria? Who is responsible for implementation and utilisation? Who is tracking and measuring performance and impact? It will become a costly mistake if no one is doing those things.

It’s not just the increasing choice of technology and vendors that’s the challenge, but the skills and capabilities required to implement and integrate the right tools and technologies, the selection  process, the structure of organisations, measurability, procurement, negotiations, cost, usage and efficiencies.

ESG (Environmental Social Governance) and Net Zero will play an increasing role  too. So how can businesses and organisations navigate the complex path of which marketing technology will suit and fit your goals and objectives’? What steps can you take to ensure the right plan,  team and structure, technology, procurement, operations and execution are in place to achieve your goals and what is Marketing Technology?

What is Marketing Technology?

Marketing technology (known as MarTech) describes a range and choice of software and tools that enables businesses and organisations to achieve their goals or objectives. Its origins lie mostly in a technology driven world, that then met marketing. A sort of short list that became a long list of tools and technologies that enabled marketing teams to deliver on their marketing objectives. But as  Scott Brinker (founder and creator of the Martech Landscape map) believes, there is far more to MarTech than simply the technology and the software.

In effect, MarTech today enables business  transformation through marketing. Business and organisations of all shapes and sizes (not-forprofit, professional services, retail, media, manufacturing, hospitality, education, FMCG) will be on  very different marketing technology paths. Some will not have anything in place, some will have started the journey and are building up their marketing technology stack and others will be ‘fairly  mature’ in terms of their use and application of marketing technology tools and platforms. But whatever stage of the Martech lifecycle you are at, there are common denominators for every  business and organisation:

Do you have a strategy and plan? If you have invested in MarTech, are you getting a return on that investment? Are you auditing and reviewing its utilisation? Who is  owning the costs? Who is managing the supplier relationships? What skills and capabilities do you need to leverage your Martech plan in the business? So how can you ensure you are maximising  value in your business or organisation through marketing technology?

 9-step process for maximising business value through marketing technology

1. Have in place your business or organisational objectives and goals first. You’re going to need to have them to ensure that your marketing technology strategy, plan and choices are aligned and form part of your business case.

2. Undertake an audit of your current audience | customer journey (CX).
• Where and how do they come into contact with your business?
• What marketing tools are you currently using to attract, engage, convert and retain your audiences and customers?
• Write up a list of the tools inventory you are currently using across advertising and promotion, commerce and sales, data, management, social and content.

3. Audit, analyse and review the cost and value of your current marketing tools and technology. You’ll want to use this as a benchmark for any future changes including new investment.

4. Craft a GAP Analysis that includes what tools you think you might want to lose, retain, optimise or invest in as new, that will fill a gap and in line with your over-arching goals and objectives.  This step includes researching the market to determine what other tools would make a good fit, as well as looking at how to get the best out of those tools you wish to retain.

5. Once you have determined your current state of marketing technology and what a new state (or stack) might include, establish a very honest introspection of your ability as a business or organisation to implement new changes. It’s what the Martech Alliance refer to as a ‘Maturity Assessment’. How well developed are you in your marketing technology skills and capabilities  planning, people, platform and processes)?

6. Think about the current state of your team and structure:
• Who owns or will own marketing technology?
• Is it currently sitting with IT, Procurement or Marketing?
• Do you have a lead ‘sponsor’? How will you construct roles and responsibilities?

7. Start constructing what your new technology stack might include:
• What are you proposing to include?
• What value will it drive?

8. Once you’ve constructed your marketing technology stack and research tools, technologies and vendors, construct a robust procurement and vendor selection process.
• Include your current budget and expenditure as a benchmark.
• Create a cost comparison matrix.
• Establish a vendor scorecard measuring fit, functionality, Net Zero, SLA, team chemistry.
• Include in your SLA a quarterly review of utilisation, costs and ROI.

9. As marketing technology and its implementation and integration becomes more complex, it requires both an agile but strong process and operations plan:
• Monitor vendors, track contract timelines, costs and price increases.
• Ensure effective on-boarding and training.
• Put in place data and governance policies.
• Improve internal communication and collaboration processes.
• Establish effective analytics and reporting.

Finally, one last observation. Think about outcomes rather than features. Investing in and implementing shiny and new marketing technology features will not facilitate a successful- and  sustainable marketing technology programme. Critical to success (in parallel with the 9 steps outlined) will be to focus on the outcomes. What do you want your marketing technology and stack to  deliver? How does it fit your goals and objectives? How will you measure the customer experience? And how will you measure return on investment? It can be a complicated journey, made less  complex by following a set of principles and our 9-step process.

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