By Chuck Leddy
Martech is the top budget allocation item for marketing teams today, according to Gartner’s latest CMO Spend Survey. There are over 7,000 vendor companies offering marketing technology, and the growth of martech will only continue to accelerate. This represents good news and bad news. The good news is that B2B marketers have an increasingly-large menu of options to choose from in order to tackle some of their most pressing marketing problems. The bad news is that the sheer number of options can lead B2B marketers to feel overwhelmed by the massive number of choices and/or foolishly believe that technology alone will save them. Many marketers contract shiny object syndrome, an irrational over-confidence in technology that causes them to forget that marketing is about blending people, processes, and technology to serve customer needs.
Managing your marketing technology effectively can be as impactful as the technology itself.
This sixth and final post in our MOPs Maturity series will focus on martech management: why it’s important for B2B companies and MOPs teams to have strong processes in place for: (1) identifying their martech gaps; (2) selecting the right martech for their strategic needs; (3) getting the “right” people to support that tech; and (4) knowing how to work effectively with martech vendors.
Too often, martech management is non-existent
Only 11% of mainstream companies we surveyed even have a technology management process in place that enables them to identify the technology they may need. That’s among the most troubling numbers in our entire 2019 MOPs Maturity Benchmarking Report. Even worse, of those mainstream companies that have a process to identify emerging martech, only 14% of them fully agree that they have sufficient staffing to support new software/technology implementations. These statistics are absolutely abysmal given the heavy investment in martech, and when it’s more essential than ever to create the engaging/personalized customer experiences all buyers (B2B or B2C) now expect.
Marketing operations serves a vital role in technology management, defining an efficient process whereby technology gaps get recognized, potential martech solutions are evaluated, and where good planning and implementation practices support technology adoption. “Marketing ops has the job of planning, budgeting, execution, analysis, and accountability. That planning and budgeting piece is an area where there’s lots of room for improvement,” says Dan Vawter, managing partner at Sojourn Solutions.
Vawter says that he can usually tell which client companies are going to be successful with tech implementations. Some companies commit to sufficient resourcing and training ahead of the implementation to ensure they get as much value as possible out of the technology. On the other side, some companies don’t plan ahead, and the people involved in the implementation have all these other responsibilities, and they’re just involved as an afterthought. “You just know which of those two companies is going to do a better job getting the most value from the tech, and it’s the one with the dedicated staffing.”
The costs of ad hoc martech management
Put simply, when companies implement a new marketing technology without proper staffing, meaning having the right people involved and having them fully upskilled, then they’re not going to achieve the anticipated ROI. “You’re just wasting your investments on technology. Everybody in marketing operations should know that implementing a technology doesn’t necessarily get you any additional value. Even with the right technologies and the right people in place, getting that full value still isn’t easy.”
Not only does insufficient planning and staffing lead to the underutilization of technology, but there’s also the “opportunity cost” of having your people fully busy on a failed project so they can’t use that effort on something that may deliver value. “Let’s say your marketers get ‘shiny object syndrome’ and you go out and invest in some new technology, then fail to properly staff that technology,” explains Vawter. “Well, now you’re not going to be able to use that spent budget to do something else really well.”
Getting martech management right
Vawter suggests MOPs teams begin by having a process in place to identify gaps between their goals and capabilities. Once these gaps are identified, you can consider technology solutions as an option for closing gaps. “First figure out what’s working and what’s not,” suggests Vawter. “That means having some sort of attribution reporting in place that looks at every touch point in the buyer’s journey. Some companies might say to themselves that they don’t have the budget to implement multi-touch attribution. This really doesn’t make sense. If your budget is $1M and you spend $100K on multi-touch attribution, you’re likely to discover that you are wasting more than $100K across all your marketing channels. You can use the attribution data to re-allocate your budget and have thereby paid for your multi-touch attribution spend.”
Many companies will benefit from accessing outside help in identifying gaps and tech solutions. “Most leaders and employees are super-busy executing day in and day out,” says Vawter, “and don’t have the time or capacity to take a holistic view of their multiple processes. Getting all of your departments to collaborate is another challenge: touch points with the customer may involve people silos and technology silos across multiple departments globally.”
What an outside expert can do is bring a more holistic, cross-departmental vision to tech management. Outside experts expect to build bridges and integrate systems and communication structures to unlock value. “It’s just that people in different departments don’t typically collaborate, they’re structured into silos,” says Vawter. “As consultants, we can interview people independently, we can interview them in groups. As an outsider, we can often dig in much quicker and much more efficiently than in-house people can.”
Martech implementation matters
As our MOPs Maturity Benchmarking report explains it, even among top performing companies, “fewer than one in three respondents report that their organization is adept at supporting new technological capabilities with the headcount and expertise to take full advantage.” Among mainstream companies, only 1 in 10 have a vendor management process that enables them to control costs, increase performance, and mitigate risks.
“We do this work of implementing tech all the time,” says Vawter, “and we know where the challenges are. We work proactively to manage those challenges so value gets unlocked. No matter how amazing the tech itself is, if people don’t know how to use it, you won’t create value.” Inadequate technology management wastes precious resources, and may be the biggest challenge to reaching MOPs maturity.
If you’re interested in managing your martech more effectively by: (1) identifying your martech gaps; (2) selecting the right martech for your strategic needs; (3) getting the “right” people to support that tech; and (4) knowing how to work effectively with martech vendors, then feel free to contact us.
To learn more about how to take your MOPs maturity to the next level, download our 2019 Marketing Operations Maturity Benchmarking Report.