It’s software renewal evaluation season for all sorts of industries. This time of year I spend more time evaluating martech platforms that my agency uses for our own knowledge, and platforms we use for our clients’ integrated marketing programs.
The martech landscape is evolving…fast. Where we spend most of our efforts at the top of the funnel, I’m seeing software vendors morphing their services to cover more channels – right in line with marketing depts. and agencies being more fluid and needing more knowledge as they activate across new channels.
I thought I’d share five insights that are top of mind for me this time of year as I’m in evaluation mode, and in general on martech stacks.
- Make sense of your data – It’s okay to not be the foremost expert on what all of your marketing platforms tell you…as long as you have a good analyst on staff. Whether it’s marketing or scientific data, you’ll get piles of it and you need to make sense of it. As marketing continues to evolve, so does the process (tools, methods, etc.) of how we measure success.
- Stay ahead of the game – Marketing professionals need to be educated on martech software, trends and be able to ideate on ways to use technology to stay ahead of the game with their marketing programs. This is a simple hand-raiser as a professional development initiative, and it’s imperative. One beautiful thing is that the vendors want you trained and to be evangelists of their wares. But everyone needs to invest some time in this.
- Increased frequency of evaluation – Look beyond marketing performance reporting of say brand, campaign and acquisition metrics to question whether platforms are delivering the right insights. I think martech software should be evaluated on a quarterly basis and I wouldn’t commit to longer-term contracts.
- Efficiencies and sharing the stack – Companies need to make it a higher priority to understand shared costs of martech software between different divisions of the company and between external agency vendors for example. Teams within a marketing division need to talk and share more insights which will not only help potentially create efficiencies but also could increase the marketing program performance. Plenty of CMOs don’t know where they could create efficiencies. However some negotiation with the software vendors may be needed, because if data amplifies, costs typically do as well.
- Respond to industry fluctuations and try to embrace change – When Instagram (as a result of Facebook’s privacy issues) changed its API earlier this year to restrict data previously available to say us marketing folks, at least two marketing software platforms we use became ineffective. So, leaders need to make quick sense of new metrics to possibly consider for say the performance of social media marketing, and on the vendor side consider renegotiating relationships with software vendors they’ve committed to, whose platforms no longer deliver.
We could go way deeper here and into big data land, talking about AI as a tool for evaluating your marketing data, machine learning and AI. But that would require a lot more coffee.