Happy New Year! I hope you had a wonderful holiday season. Ready to get to work?
Nonetheless, even if you have “good duplicates” in your stack, you’re almost certain to find that some tools are just not being used or could be superseded by something better elsewhere in your toolset. Take this opportunity to clean those up.
(By the way, this same philosophy applies to old set-it-and-forget-it campaigns — which, by definition, you’ve probably forgotten about. I’ll bet you a carb-free lunch that some of those are no longer performing well, and indeed, some may be actually harming your brand with an outdated customer experience.)
Creating a single slide that illustrates your martech stack also serves as a clear way to communicate the capabilities of your stack inside your organization, to help educate everyone in marketing — and related stakeholders, such as IT and sales operations — on the technologies and processes you have in place.
(Want to give back some learning to the martech community? Consider sharing your marketing stack slide with us, as those contributors above did. Reach out to let me know.)
2. Grow and rejuvenate your martech stack.
I know, this sound contradictory to your first resolution to rationalize your stack. But it’s not. One of the advantages of rationalizing your stack is that it actually makes it easier for you to phase in new technologies as you need them.
So your resolution for 2018 should be to (continue to) experiment with new marketing technologies. Don’t let your martech stack — or the marketing tactics you apply with it — stagnate.
Here are 5 keys to making smart additions to your marketing stack:
- Allocate a reasonable portion of your resources (time and budget) to trying new marketing technologies. A recent Gartner study found that on average CMOs allocate 10% of their budget to “innovation.” That sounds like the right ballpark. Don’t overspend here, but don’t underspend either.
- Initially adopt new martech software in a trial or pilot program. Most martech vendors should make it easy for you to do this. (If they don’t, ask why.) This should be a fast-tracked process on your end, as you want these trials to be relatively low-overhead experiments. Have a fixed time frame for evaluating the results of the pilot, say 3-6 months.
- Establish metrics for success with any given martech tool — decide how you will measure its impact on your business. It might be customer-oriented metrics, from conversion rates to NPS scores, or it might be efficiency
- Enforce a more stringent evaluation process for adopting marketing technologies into the core of your marketing stack. A successful pilot is just the first step. Make sure you address: integration with the rest of your stack, training and support to ensure adoption, availability and performance SLAs, privacy and security compliance, and options for migrating away from the tool in the future, just in case you ever need to.
- Appoint someone as the head of your marketing stack (if you haven’t already) — half architect, half evangelist. This person takes responsibility for governing your overall marketing stack, to make sure that all the pieces fit together coherently. They take the lead in educating the rest of the marketing team with what’s possible with your stack, so you get the most value out of it.
One area of marketing technology that you should definitely be experimenting with is chatbots. 2018 is going to be a year of explosive chatbot innovation. You can already see it with messaging platforms overtaking social media sites and voice-interface services such as Amazon Alexa andAssistant experiencing exponential growth in adoption.
Of course, you know this.
But it’s an excellent New Year’s resolution to reaffirm the purpose of your marketing stack and critically evaluate how every product in it effects the experience that your prospects and customers have.
It’s not just about using the right tools. It’s about using your tools right.
Here are a few concrete suggestions for making sure that your martech stack is working with you and not against you in delivering good customer experiences:
- Audit the customer-facing touchpoints of all marketing software in your stack — emails it may send, landing pages it could serve, social media messages it might post, etc. You might be surprised how many “shadow touchpoints” there are lurking in different tools.
- Review all reports and dashboards associated with your martech stack to make sure that the metrics you’re using to guide your efforts are aligned with good customer experience outcomes.
- Test your “alert” systems — if a customer-facing touchpoint goes down, or experiences performance degradation, or throws errors as a result of bad data, etc., will you be notified of the problem quickly? Will systems automatically fail gracefully to some sort of acceptable fallback?
- Champion a data cleaning initiative to purge your core CRM or customer data platform of outdated information about prospects and customers. Nothing is worse that using dirty data to “personalize” customer experiences in the wrong way.
- Use security and privacy mandates — such as
If you can achieve these three resolutions over the next 12 months, 2018 is bound to be a good year for your martech stack (and therefor your business and your career). I’m rooting for you!
BONUS RESOLUTION: Attend MarTech” in san jose april>, you really should try to make it. I promise it will be worth your while.
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Best wishes for an amazing 2018 in everything you do.