The coronavirus pandemic has caused upheaval in every sector, and marketing is feeling the pain. Nearly half of all chief marketing officers are facing budget cuts as a direct result of COVID-19 and they’re shifting about one-third of all marketing work – including social and creative production/content marketing – from agencies to in-house, according to Gartner's annual CMO Spend Survey.
Even while facing this dour outlook, there’s one area where CMOs are not going to cut back: marketing technology. MarTech solutions remain a priority, Gartner noted, with 68% of CMOs saying they play to increase their technology budget, which totals more than one-quarter of their total spend.
This focus on the MarTech stack makes perfect sense, since the right solution or platform can deliver a significant return – whether it's increased revenue, stronger customer loyalty, more sales or greater efficiency and scalability of their marketing efforts. But where do you start to look for new solutions that can deliver such results? Here’s a quick “MarTech tools” 101 to get you started on the right path.
MarTech tools are what organizations use to automate or streamline marketing processes throughout the customer lifecycle. These foundational components play a variety of roles within an organization, from planning, executing and tracking campaigns, and collecting and analyzing data to enabling the company to connect with customers and prospects.
Several MarTech tools can be combined to form a MarTech stack. Comprising of MarTech software or even cloud-based solutions and platforms, the MarTech stack plays a vital role in helping organizations improve and optimize marketing processes, and break down silos that may exist between internal departments, like IT, data science, sales, marketing and customer service.
Types of MarTech Tools
There are a variety of MarTech tools that organizations can leverage, depending on their goals and the results they seek. These MarTech solutions fall within six main categories:
Given MarTech solutions can fall into one (or more) of these categories, it may seem like an overwhelming prospect to choose the right ones for your needs. As you’re evaluating possible solutions, here are three questions you should consider:
Develop goals so you can ensure whatever technology you choose not only meets your needs now, but also in the future. With more than 8,000 technologies available, you can quickly get overwhelmed and lose sight of your needs. Determine what you're trying to solve, what functions a solution will need to address, how much you want to pay and what results you expect from achieve from a MarTech implementation.
Enterprises are probably already using a wide variety of MarTech products, so when considering something new, you'll need to ensure that it will work well - and more importantly, enhance the capabilities - of existing solutions. Also consider the experience of your employees using the new product. Will it take extensive training or is it intuitive and can be quickly implemented and leveraged by staff?
Do thorough research as you vet potential solutions. It's important that it works as advertised and addresses your company's marketing pain points. But don't rely simply on the sales team; ask to speak with existing customers to get a better understanding of their practical experience using it and how the vendor works with its customers.
Of those 8,000 solutions on the market, one in five of them weren't there last year, according to Scott Brinker's Marketing Technology Landscape, which offers a great visual of the thousands of brands and the categories in which they fit. Yet, despite the already crowded, and still growing, space, there are tools that have been adopted widely and are becoming de facto standards for the six categories of MarTech solutions.
For advertising and promotion, Google ads is among the top for search engine marketing, while programmatic advertising is dominated by solutions like Simple.fi and SmartyAds. And Formation can help strengthen relationships between brands and customers, with customer loyalty and offer automation.
WordPress, Google Search Console, automation platforms like HubSpot and Marketo, and email marketing tools like Constant Contact and MailChimp support content marketing. Social media management solutions like Hootsuite or Sprout Social help coordinate messaging and branding across various social channels, while Brandwatch Analytics and TweetReach assist with tracking what customers say and other industry trends.
For sales, popular CRM and customer support tools like Prospect.io, HubSpot, Salesforce and virtual assistants help manage business relations, lead nurturing and improve engagement. CDPs like Evergage, Tableau and Klipfolio help consolidate customer data and analyze it to derive actionable insights, and complement use of Google Analytics and FreshMarketer to optimize websites and campaign performance.
And with work going virtual, there's no doubt everyone is familiar with collaboration tools, like Zoom and Slack for communications, and project management solutions, such as Asana and Basecamp, to keep all stakeholders on task and on deadline.
With so many solutions, the choices can be overwhelming. But by clearly articulating your goals, thinking through your desired results and doing your homework on MarTech platforms before making a purchase, you will have a great opportunity to improve your operations, get a strong return on investment and make your marketing efforts more effective than ever.
Want to learn more about MarTech?
Read these additional blogs and download our latest white paper, How to Optimize Your Customer Loyalty With New MarTech.