Marketing technology, aka MarTech, is all the rage, the new black, and the must-have resource in marketing shops around the globe. I get it. Call this a rant, but really it's a personal quest for me as a marketing professional to change this “tech-first” mindset.
My respectful request to my peers and colleagues — Stop leading with tech!
Far too often (roughly 90% of the time), companies and colleagues will ask me: “What tech do you recommend or like to use?” Maybe this is just Silicon Valley-speak, but it's an important question that I feel is generally answered with unintentional bias. I understand they're looking for insight, but marketing technology to me is like wine - we all have our own taste and favorites, and shouldn’t just tell people it’s the one they should try.
With over a thousand MarTech tools out there, selecting the right solution(s) can be as overwhelming as walking down the wine isles in your local grocery store. We succumb to good marketing by marketing technology providers, investing in the tools that make us feel good and the brands that convince us of their promise. Then, when we get really good at using the tools, we become even bigger advocates, because they make us look like rock stars; we achieve platform certifications and become experts featured on webinars, panels, and white papers. Who doesn't like that?
This is where selecting wine parallels choosing MarTech tools. When I’m knowledgeable about a particular wine region or varietal, I want to share my insights and passion. So when people ask me what wine I recommend, I always respond: “It depends!” First, I want to know more background. What do they typically like? What have they tried and why? What are they paring it with? And, what’s the occasion? It's easy for me to make suggestions once I have the whole picture and understand the desired experience and outcome. This same mindset rings true for MarTech tools and providers.
In the spirit of selecting the right wine, here’s a list of questions to identify the right MarTech solution to meet your business and marketing needs.
- What does success look like for you/your business?
- What marketing challenges are you really trying to solve?
- What type of marketing and tech resources do you have in-house?
- Do you manage, or can you manage, external providers and solutions as well?
- What processes do you have in place now?
- What have you tried (tech-wise), and what were the outcomes?
- Were these at the suggestion of clients, employees, etc.?
Answering each of these, you can begin to uncover the real needs, and get to the heart of the matter. As someone buying tech and planning strategies, this is your chance to really dive in and get to the root of what’s needed to advance the business and ability to create and serve customers. You can call this reverse-engineering, because it is.
In the end, technology alone won't solve your marketing challenges. Take for example Marketing Automation; the system won’t solve anything as a standalone technology. It’ll simply expose processes (or lack of) and show you where you can start making improvements in the way you acquire, nurture, score, and create customers. If someone is saying you need marketing automation, or a specific platform, you need to ask, Why? Research what it's going to deliver, where it falls short, where it can add business value and where it can't.
For the record, I favor Pinot Noirs. I like it because each one (producer) tastes vastly different from another. As such, it's difficult to pair with food sometimes; so I’ll drink it alone. I know it's not for everyone — so I’m thoughtful of whom I recommend it to. See the parallels?