Making The Most of Modern Marketing Technology

By Scott Levine

“Marketing is purchasing significant marketing-related technology and services from their own capital and expense budgets – both outside the control of the internal IT organization and in conjunction with them” reports Gartner.

Technology plays a big part in modern day demand generation, as best in class organizations have the necessary “technology stack” in place to optimize programs and yield maximum return on investment through proper selection, and strategic use of technology.

Gartner also notes:

“Marketing is increasingly becoming technology-enabled

  • Marketing is a significant technology buying center, with various buyer roles
  • Shift underway from internally operated marketing technology to externally (SaaS & marketing business services)
  • Ratio of external to internal spending increasing as marketing sources more externally
  • Decision to be made about CIO/CMO synergies
  • Supplier situation will remain fluid”

How prepared is your organization to collect, analyze and provide insight to the enormous amount of data that current and future technologies can provide?

Is the culture of your marketing organization data driven?  Are your important strategic and tactical decisions informed by research data and analysis of the data?   How sophisticated is your organization in mining data?   Does KDD (Knowledge Discovery in Database,) predictive modeling, predictive lead scoring, and data driven creative all play a part in your strategic and tactical marketing decisions?  How well do you really know your customers or prospects?  Technology opens a window to important and critical data, however, only analysis can provide the insights needed to optimize marketing.

“Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.” ― Sun Tzu, The Art of War, Zhou Dynasty (Approximately 500BC)

The single most important thing an organization can do to compete in the age of big data, is to have a data strategy.

The marketing technology stack allows organizations to execute their data strategy, and although it is the other way around in many organizations, best practice dictates that a data strategy must be thought out and implemented prior to investing in technology.

What do you want to learn from the data?   What gold is obfuscated by tons of irrelevant big data, and how can we dig deep to find the gold?  What are we looking for?  Where do we find it?   These are some of the questions that data strategists consider while forming the data strategy.   It is important to keep in mind that a data strategy is perpetual, and will always be in a constant state of change based on both the needs of the organization, and the advent of new emerging technologies.

The recent development of technologies designed to enable marketers to better target, engage and convert prospects in the digital space are increasingly being offered through SaaS and Cloud computing vendors.   This “instant availability” of technology without having to engage or depend on IT departments, is extremely appealing to marketers, who have come to the conclusion that technology can dramatically increase the effectiveness of marketing departments, especially those that have limited financial resources.

Marketers who are wondering “Where do we start with our technology stack?” needn’t ask the question.  The only place to start, is to have a data strategy in place, and that usually begins with an assessment of the technology that is currently in place, and chances are good that some technology exists, even if that technology is simply a CRM or Sales CRM system such as Salesforce.com or more sophisticated CRM systems from SAP, Oracle or Microsoft.

The current best practice technology stack always starts with a data strategy in place and assessment of the current technology in place.  And the most common, or needed piece of technology is the CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system, which generally provides some type of sales automation, to which other pieces of technology integrate or bolt on.

Next month, I’ll review the categories of marketing technology, and discuss how they work together.

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