I love listening to other business owners and entrepreneurs talk about their companies, their successes, and their challenges. A few days ago I read a post by an entrepreneur in a Facebook group. She’s scaling her business and considering purchasing software that would help her manage her customer relationships more efficiently.
New technology gleams like sequins in the sunshine for an entrepreneur. The idea of what we could do if we could just automate this one section of our business. I’m an early adopter of technology and can easily get sucked into a demonstration of the latest SaaS program on the market.
Blog articles from early 2018 claim the MarTech industry boasts 5,000 programs and software which claim to enhance or manage a marketing department’s work, data and communication. Articles just a year later peg that number at 7,000 programs. Seven. Thousand. How in the world are we supposed to narrow that down to a list that is both manageable for our staff and our budget while still getting the best ROI?
Like anything else in the marketing department, it starts with strategy.
What do you want or need to accomplish that you can’t with the tools you already have? We run a lot of Facebook and Google Ad campaigns. I’m always learning from our own ads and from others how to create better ads. Better ads mean happier clients and happier clients tell others who they are using.
That said, one of our goals is to find the best way to measure the success of our ads and to see where we might be losing money. I’ve tested a few sites out there. We work with rural businesses many of those programs simply don’t understand the nuances of digital marketing in our specific space.
If we were to add a tool to our stack right now, I’d look for something focused on allowing us better data surrounding those ads.
Your challenge may be something different. Don’t let a hyped up sales person convince you how much easier a new program will make your life when that isn’t your primary challenge right now.
Everything comes down to money. Once you’ve found a few programs that could provide solutions for your specific problem, now we look at the budget side of things. I’m not a proponent for buying the cheapest product out there. Most of the time you get what you pay for. Taking out a loan to afford the payments on a MarTech program probably isn’t in your company’s best interest either.
While you’re considering how each program solves your problem also ask yourself these questions:
- Does this service offer other solutions we need?
- Can we discontinue another program and use this one program to meet two needs?
- Does this program integrate with other major programs we use?
- What’s the penalty for canceling the service early?
- Can we get a longer free trial?
- Is it overkill?
Splurging on a program that can allow your staff to spend their time on more important issues can be worth it, especially if it allows you to let go of some other programs. Don’t get tunnel vision. Know where this program fits in the scheme of everything else.
When I first starting writing this article, I really thought we had a very streamlined, short MarTech stack. A report in 2017 said 43% of marketers use 6-10 technologies to manage their marketing. When I listed our stack, I realized we’re right in line there. One last statistic before we move on, 80% said they introduced between one and five new technologies to their team in 2017.
For those companies on the upper end, five new technologies is a lot to learn. Before you jump on the bandwagon of another program that promised to provide the data you need in an easy to use format, check with your team and ask some key questions:
- What does the onboarding process look like?
- Are you willing to allow your team the time it takes to implement the new tool?
- Does your team have the knowledge and skills they need to implement this new tool?
- What will you have to sacrifice in the short-term to make this work?
Last year we spoke with a prospect in the middle of a six to twelve month long on-boarding process with a new technology. They needed the upgrade and knew it would launch them into a solid place with big data and digital marketing. They had to be honest about the short-term challenges. They might miss a few benchmarks in the on-boarding process but expected to far exceed those benchmarks in coming years with help from the new technology.
If you aren’t willing to make short-term sacrifices for the long-term gain a software could give you, it’s probably a bad time to implement it. If your staff refuses to use the new program or adds an extra step to a process that already works, maybe it’s not the right program.
If you’re not sure how deep your MarTech stack really goes, make a quick list. Do you use:
- An email marketing tool like MailChimp or Constant Contact?
- A social media scheduling and monitoring tool like Hootsuite, Buffer or SproutSocial?
- Google Ads?
- Facebook business platform?
- Google analytics?
- A website CMS like WordPress or Joomla?
- A project management tool like Asana or Basecamp?
- A CRM like Salesforce or Hubspot?
- A social media ad manager like WordStream?
All of these programs plus thousands more can help you manage your work, follow up with customers, prospect for new business and market your business.
If you’re not sure if your MarTech stack is doing its job or you know you need some help getting the most from the programs you use, schedule a consultation with us. Let’s talk goals and how what you’re already doing can work more efficiently.