COVID 19 has allowed more time to research, review and make decisions relating to marketing strategies for 2021 and marketing technology is right at the forefront of these decisions. With this in mind I thought the following article (originally published by Sourceit Partner Sarah Scudder from RSN Network) was a perfect reminder of the steps that organisations must have front of mind as they work through the process.
It’s no secret that marketing, procurement and technology have become deeply entwined over the past two decades. Largely because of digital technologies, the methods, tactics and channels used and insights demanded by marketers and procurement have changed dramatically.
Meanwhile, the number of marketing technology tools has increased exponentially. The inaugural (2011) version of Scott Brinker’s marketing technology landscape graphic contained about 150 solution providers. The 2020 version of the graphic includes 8,000 technology solutions. So, the marketing technology landscape has grown by an astounding 5,233% since 2011.
The expanding role of technology in marketing means that marketing leaders are now making substantial investments in technology tools and related services. Last year, research by Gartner found that, on average, companies were spending 26% of their total marketing budget on technology. To put this in perspective, marketers were spending as much on technology as they were spending on media and more than they were spending with agencies.
The reality is, the discovery, evaluation and acquisition of technology tools and related services touch virtually every aspect of marketing. And because technology now plays such a vital role in marketing, it’s critical for marketers and marketing procurement professionals to get their technology decisions right.
Fortunately, there is an abundance of resources describing the process for evaluating business software applications. For example, many providers of marketing software solutions have published “buying guides” that can help marketers and marketing procurement professionals navigate the software selection process.
Having a sound process for evaluating and selecting marketing software is obviously important, but it’s even more important to understand what attributes will make an application a good choice for your company. There are four core attributes that should guide the decisions you make throughout the acquisition process.
For a marketing software application to be a good choice, it must be an enabler allowing your company to solve important business problems and achieve objectives. Therefore, every software acquisition process should begin with a clear and documented hypothesis describing how a given type of software would help you improve business performance.
To be a sound investment for your business, any marketing software application must create meaningful value for your company. Typically evaluating investments in most organizations is return on investment (ROI).
Unfortunately for some technology solutions it can be very difficult to accurately estimate the ROI that a marketing software application will deliver. For instance a marketing procurement solution can be assessed against savings generated in the sourcing process, however a productivity application will need to look below the line at qualitative rather than quantitative measures.
Additionally, individual marketing software applications can be just one component of an ecosystem of interdependent martech applications that are integrated together. It may be possible to accurately estimate the ROI produced by the ecosystem as a whole, but it can be nearly impossible to accurately predict the ROI attributable to an individual component.
No matter how advanced or capable a marketing software application may be, it won’t be a good choice if it doesn’t “fit” your company’s requirement and strategies. When selecting a new marketing software application, look for three types of fit.
- Fit with your primary use cases – The software you are evaluating should be particularly well suited for the main tasks your company will use the application to perform.
- Fit with your other martech applications – The prospective software application should be easy to integrate with other relevant applications within your existing martech stack.
- Fit with your internal capabilities – Your ability to maximize the potential benefits of a marketing software application depends on having the right internal capabilities such as technical expertise, available staff time and appropriate data.
The fourth core attribute of a marketing software application is probably the most obvious one – functionality. When evaluating marketing software, it’s important to consider two aspects of functionality:
- Technical – functionality includes the scope of tasks the software can perform, the underlying architecture of the software, and security and administrative features.
- Ease of use – a vital characteristic of marketing software for two primary reasons;
- First, when a software application is easy to use, members of your marketing team can become proficient with it quickly and without extensive training.
- Second, software that is easy to use is more likely to be adopted quicker across the user base, reducing onboarding noise and cost.
If you want to find out more about Sourceit’s marketing procurement technology, then use the link here to arrange a free demo today.
A big shout out and thank you to Sarah Scudder from RSN Network for allowing us to publish this article.