Marketing technology can be defined as the tools and platforms used by sales and marketing organizations to effectively complete their duties.
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One of the most popular and well-known marketing technologies is Salesforce, but there are thousands of products and organizations that offer marketing technology tools. Some offer large enterprise solutions, while others are smaller, software-as-a-service-based tools. These tools come in a range of different forms, including software solutions, downloads, or as a cloud-based subscription service. When trying to find the right fit for your business, there are pros and cons to consider for each platform.
This marketing technology landscape supergraphic shows that there are close to 2,000 different vendors across 43 different categories, which is nearly double prior years. As marketing needs and demands change, the world of marketing technology adapts to meet these changes.
Either the marketing or IT department (or both working jointly) are responsible for procuring, implementing, and maintaining these tools. How these various responsibilities are assigned typically depends on an organization’s size and structure.
There are a range of different marketing technologies, including those that manage and track digital marketing efforts (like Google Analytics), tools that track and manage customer relationships (like Pipedrive), and browser-based software that can help track and manage social media efforts (like Hootsuite).
In the content marketing sphere alone, there are content marketing technology tools for content curation, content distribution, content optimization, content measurement, and more. The same is true for social media marketing technology tools. The sheer volume of tools in the marketing technology space, coupled with the hundreds – sometimes thousands – of vendors in a single category can make marketing technology seem quite intimidating to those not familiar with the space.
Marketing technology solutions generally fit into one of a dozen or more categories. However, it’s not uncommon for modern, sophisticated marketing technology tools to offer capabilities spanning several focus areas. Travis Wright, Chief Marketing Technologist at CCP Global, names 13 primary types of marketing technology tools in an article for Inc.com:
Of course, even this list is not all-inclusive. Other sources identify other marketing technology categories, such as social media marketing tools, webinars and web conferencing tools, design tools and project management tools, collaboration tools, content management systems (CMS), and more. The bottom line is that if there’s a marketing process, you can bet there’s a marketing technology tool that aims to streamline that process. How these thousands of tools are categorized and defined is as varied as the tools themselves.
The most common sense method to finding the right marketing technology is to first determine the marketing department’s needs and then purchasing a software platform to meet those needs. Team size, project tracking needs, future business growth, and budget are all important factors to consider when shopping for the right marketing technology tool.
Of course, effectively using marketing technology requires an understanding of how the consumer is evolving and which channels are experiencing growth and why. What strategies is your marketing team currently employing to reach prospects? What are your KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) and how are they being measured? What marketing processes are consuming the most time? If those marketing processes are producing ROI, consider marketing technology tools that automate or streamline those processes.
If your marketing department manages myriad tasks and campaigns simultaneously yet lacks a reliable method for determining which marketing strategies are most effective, your first marketing technology investment should be in a tool that analyzes campaign performance, enabling you to determine how to allocate your marketing spend and which marketing technology tools can best support your most profitable efforts. Once these insights are captured, they can help guide an organization’s decision-making process in choosing the right marketing technologies.
Many marketing technology solutions offer a range of capabilities within a single platform, so it’s important for enterprises to evaluate their marketing strategies and determine how a marketing technology solution would streamline marketing efforts and support overall marketing and business objectives.
Some marketing technologies enable marketers to conduct research and map campaigns according to buyer personas and the various touch points throughout the buyer’s journey, automating processes such as email marketing with triggered messages based on prospect behavior. Others offer built-in CRM (Customer Relationship Management) capabilities or integrate with existing third-party platforms an enterprise may already be using to manage prospects and customers, allowing for a more cohesive marketing technology infrastructure for modern enterprises that rely on a multitude of tools to get the job done.
Rolling out new technology across a marketing team can be a logistical challenge for organizations, so when selecting marketing technology solutions, enterprises must consider how new solutions will integrate with existing tools and workflows. Learning new systems and processes is time-consuming. When weighed against onboarding requirements, the best marketing technology solutions offer both time and cost savings by streamlining existing marketing processes and reducing the time marketers spend on various marketing tasks.
It’s important that a company have the appropriate structures and capabilities to support their marketing technologies. This involves making sure team members have adequate training on how to best use the technology available to them, having the necessary budget for technology procurement, and even hiring a dedicated marketing technology officer to manage software tools and help bridge the gap between the marketing and IT departments.
Some tools offer multiple or a suite of all-in-one solutions to help meet a marketing department’s many needs. So it’s worth considering investing in a single solution with multiple capabilities that’s also compatible with your business, rather than a selection of varied platforms that may or may not integrate with one another seamlessly, if at all. Taking this approach is prudent and can help your business avoid time-consuming headaches resulting from software incompatibility and ultimately save money in the long run.
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