The more marketers come to understand the benefits of martech to achieve their goals, the keener they are to create a streamlined tech stack.
One of the major barriers to delivering market-beating customer experience however, is in fact an inability to unify data and systems. Often wrestling with legacy technologies, companies are sometimes reluctant to invest in even more systems, concerned about the burden of tech debt, incompatibilities, and feature redundancy.
But streamlining a tech stack doesn’t mean throwing the proverbial baby out with the bathwater. It is possible to bring the organization up to speed today – and futureproof it for tomorrow – with a gradual and strategic approach to onboarding new systems. Here are five steps to best practice martech management:
As companies scale, it is inevitable that priorities change. In some cases, the whole business model can be flipped on its head. Businesses that were primarily bricks and mortar might now find themselves entirely ecommerce-based; those that sold through third parties might now be pursuing a direct-to-consumer strategy. Or it might simply be that, as it has grown, the organization has a larger number of more complex needs that it wasn’t initially set up to solve. Too many companies still base their strategies on their foundational business model, rather than the business they are today. Identify this, and you’ll be much better placed to understand how your martech stack needs to evolve.
Once you know your company’s position, it is time to take stock. What systems are now outdated, which ones are no longer fit for purpose? Also, which systems are functioning but only because they have been cobbled together with others and are now limping along, barely coping? Are some tech investments now largely redundant as the business’s focus has moved elsewhere or as often happens, the only ‘power user’ who knew how to make the most of the tech has, themselves, moved on? Companies regularly waste money on licenses for under-used systems, or through inefficiencies from using the wrong system for the wrong task. An audit will cut through this.
This is the most daunting part. Scott Brinker’s 8,000+ martech landscape map does make you wonder where to start. For most, looking to the ‘best of breed’ listings is the first most reliable source of information. censhare, for example, currently sits at number two in Research in Action’s (RIA) Top 15 Global Vendors, 2021 for Digital Asset Management solutions. Lists such as RIA’s delve into the size of the company, its future plans, current offering, top products and main areas of expertise. This will help you determine not just which companies are deemed the most successful in a particular martech space, but also how likely they are to fit your specific needs.
The “best of breed” does not mean you should just accept the “best” solution on the market as being the best match for your needs. It is integral that this next steps involves the scoring of a handful of top potential providers that look most suitable on their various attributes. Here, you want to list out the features that are most important to you (note, rather than the features the vendors might be specifically promoting) and then to score them – out of ten, five stars, whichever works best for you – to see which is the closest fit. Martech Alliance has an excellent example of vendor scorecards to help you build a comparison. After whittling your list down to two or three, you can then progress to request for quote/proposal to help you make your final choice.
All too often, organizations start to wind down their new martech purchase after completing step four, when the fifth step is arguably the most important of all. Most of today’s martech is created to be as intuitive as possible, with dashboards that can be used by the widest variety of employees as possible. But employee involvement and education is still a vital part of making the most of new technology. The relevant teams must be involved at some point in the decision making process, so that their needs are clearly stated, understood, and essentially then met by the chosen solution. After implementation, these employees must of course be educated in not only how to use the tech day-to-day, but also how it can be used to help meet new strategic goals, understanding the potential of the technology beyond its use today and what else it might deliver that the organization hasn’t explored yet. Equally, ongoing monitoring is vital to make sure the company continues to enjoy the benefits of the technology and that it doesn’t become a victim of the next audit.
Despite the complexity of the martech market, and even across the DAM sector within it, it is eminently possible to find the solution that is right for you and implement it in a way that suits your business.
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