There’s no shortage of marketing technology tools, but how do they help your business succeed? Is there a true ROI for the money, time, and effort employees put into learning and using them?
Here are 5 things companies need to consider when navigating the current marketing technology landscape to support, rather than hinder, a customer-centric marketing model.
1. A Struggle to Adapt
Over the past decade, consumers have transformed from being, as Mayur Gupta puts it, “tech-savvy to tech-dependent.” And as a result, they expect a seamless user experience from brands across every device and digital channel. This expectation has prompted a diversification of marketing technology, resulting in a paradox of choice for marketers: they struggle to navigate and optimize the multitude of technologies at their disposal.
2. Too Much Segmentation and Specialization
Right now, marketing technology is organized around channels, not customers. New technologies pop up every day to facilitate distribution on video, social, search, paid ads, influencer marketing, and content management. As the number of channels increases, so do the number of technologies marketers are expected to manage. Very few technologies truly integrate information and access across all channels, allowing marketers to manage their content from one interface.
Scott Brinker, marketing technologist, co-founder, and CTO of Ion Interactive, Inc., believes integrated solutions are the way of the future:
“There’s a lot of effort to try to get to standardized platforms that become the foundation of marketing systems. But a lot of these foundational systems are also opening up their APIs, making it easier for a lot of other small companies to create innovative, specialized technologies that plug into their environments.” – Scott Brinker
Yet currently, the technology diversification rate far-surpasses the consolidation rate. In just three years, the number of marketing technology vendors has grown from ~100 to 1,876.
3. Lack of Confidence in Technology Investments
60% of marketers expect their companies will invest in marketing technology this year, however, the investment is not matched by confidence:
- Only 48% of digital marketers feel highly proficient in digital marketing.
- 68% of marketing professionals feel more pressured to show return on investment on marketing spend.
When a marketing manager suggests tools that can help improve productivity and ROI, it’s a lot of guesswork. This doesn’t instill confidence, but to be fair, there isn’t an abundance of research available to provide a clear path that pays off. Marketing technology is in a growth stage, so there is a higher perceived risk when investing in it.
4. Lack of Integration
Robust integrations have emerged as the most desirable feature of marketing technology. According to research by Signal, 96% of marketers said that using fully integrated marketing technology would have a positive effect on their goals, and 88% said it was crucial to helping them continue to innovate.
But despite this shift toward integration, marketers still face major challenges, namely:
- How to organize internally around all of these technologies
- How to put the customer (and not the tool or technology) at the center of the marketing experience
This means even though various solutions are available, marketers are more stumped than ever over what tools to incorporate into their marketing technology stack, why they’re important, and how to organize internally around technology to deliver meaningful results.
5. Not Prioritizing the Customer
Using numerous, disjointed marketing tools doesn’t create a cohesive, customer-centric experience. Customer needs, research methods, and purchase behaviors are always changing, and your business needs strategies to adapt. As technology advances, too many marketers are ditching their strategies for tools and tactics. Despite the new tech at our disposal, the key to marketing success is as old as time: know your customer’s needs and solve them. Technology is not a strategy, it’s a tool for execution.
To Sum Things Up…
In order to truly embrace the way marketing is changing, companies need to research, test, and integrate whenever possible. This will help aid the selection of an integrated marketing platform that can serve you now and as your customers changes their behaviors. The best way forward is to look at the big picture and see what tools you need meet current and projected workflow needs.