Align martech solutions with your marketing and engagement goals

Martech tools now number in the thousands. How do you pick which one to use? On average, nearly one-third of overall marketing spend goes to martech. I can dig that, but I also understand being overwhelmed by all the choices. You have this budget for technology: where do you invest it and make it earn back the expense? 

A lot of the tools have overlapping features. It’s not a matter of this one being better than the other. They’re all so good, and the continuing advances on AI will just make them even better. 

So how do you pick? 

The question is: what do you want to achieve? 

In our progress in creating a personalization software, we’ve learned (the hard way) that the technology itself is secondary — maybe even tertiary. 

What matters is that you establish a set of goals or outcomes — but not too many! — and then work backwards to ensure you are considering the right tool(s) to get there. 

Customer experience comes first 

The goals: 

  • Attract and delight your customers with truly personalized and service-oriented messaging
  • Make it as simple as possible for your customers to get from point A to point B
  • Make it easy for your customers to get in touch and get answers they need 

Content and customer experience (martech) tools essential features: 

  • Interactive, dynamic content capabilities
  • Marketing automations: SEO email, video, content marketing; and marketing resource and digital asset management 
  • Personalization and performance testing
  • CMS and UX 

All your tools — but especially content and experience tools — should be nimble and flexible enough to move with how fast customer needs and expectations evolve. This will accelerate in 2020 and beyond as more and more retailers and websites roll out and implement new ways to attract and delight customers. 

Chatbots will continue to get better and will become the standard across e-commerce. You’re already lagging way behind the pack if your point of contact is still email or phone calls. 

Dynamic content helps you delight and convert customers across all channels. How do you serve your clients as soon as they land on your website and beyond their purchase? 

Arguably, the content and customer experience category is the most important. All the service categories of the tools are important, but companies are under increasing pressure to truly deliver on personalization, and offers and engagements all start from and consist of content. 

Customer experience also entwines with the rest of the martech tool categories. For example, you need to optimize customer experience for sales and for affiliate marketing. 

Businesses are no longer glorified vending machines. Technology has evened out the playing field so it’s relevant messaging and customer experience that customers pay attention to now, not established household names or big brands big.  

Customers now look for granular excellence. You can deliver that through personalized and streamlined customer experiences, and in how well you collect (transparency and permissions) and use customer data. 

You build relationships, not transactions. 

No one likes to be sold to; but they like being seen and heard  

The goals: 

  • Seamless, omnichannel, round-the-clock responses to customer questions and concerns
  • Followup sequences that solve customer pain points (and lead them to conversion)
  • Recognizing and utilizing opportunities for brand-building, nurturing in real-time and at scale, from the first interactions with customers

Social and relationship tools essential features: 

  • Social media marketing and customer relationship platforms 
  • Account-based marketing
  • Loyalty marketing 
  • Call analytics and management
  • Events, webinars, online meets
  • Customer communications and experience

You can see an overlap with content tools above in those features. Social and relationship tools build relationships, not transactions, although they can and do lead to conversions. 

Today’s consumers have ad blockers and are not impressed by product features. The focus is not on your products and services and how awesome they are, but on the customers and what they need, what they’re asking about, and the pain points they need to solve. 

To stand out in the saturated market, you need to educate, entertain, engage, and guide your target customers. And you need to do this every step of the way in the buyer’s journey. 

That’s well beyond the abilities (and time) of any human team. With powerful AI tools, brands now have an opportunity to nurture these relationships and create advocates and ensure no opportunity for timely messaging will fall through the cracks.

Marketing and advertising 

The goals: 

  • Discover where you’re losing customers in the buying process — and fix that problem. 
  • Maximize the value of every interaction and every customer over their lifetime with the brand. 
  • Improve cross-selling and upselling online and in-store.
  • Helpful (and never intrusive and mismatched) suggestive selling and recommendations
  • Landing pages that match every ad and don’t disappoint 
  • Targeting decisions backed by real-time, customer insights, and data
  • A focus on interactions and experiences throughout the funnel, not just driving traffic to conversion

Advertising and promotional martech tools essential features:

  • Native ads and dynamic content 
  • Mobile marketing, display and programmatic, social PPC
  • Video advertising 
  • PR, print advertising, submissions, etc. 

Advertising and promotional tools get your content out there so your content can get to work delighting and attracting your customers. The best content is useless if your target audiences don’t know it’s there. 

Today’s promotional content is more subtle, still focused on customers and their interests, rather than touting your offers. Most martech tools in this category organize customer insights and company goals so you can build, automate, and track campaigns. 

These tools also take the sting out of the cost of A/B testing (even if you can’t ever truly get away from it), and pinpoint resonant messaging/content faster than ever — this again adds to a company’s arsenal of personalization tactics that can make a bottom line difference. 

The quality and management of your data 

Your commerce, sales, and employee workflows can also hinge on the quality of your data. It matters a lot. You need someone, or a whole team, focusing on handling data integrity alongside the martech data tools that handle analytics and business, customer intelligence. 

Using data also means these data martech tools should take care of keeping you in compliance with regulations on data collection, use, storage and security in customer data platforms. 

Your goals when it comes to data? Using it. Your teams should benefit from data and have the training on how to use it and implement data solutions to gain ROI in every aspect, internally and externally. 

The goals: 

  • Seamless communication and collaboration between teams and individuals
  • Repetitive tasks completely automated and streamlined
  • Faster (and even instant) data delivery for faster decision-making for everything from budgeting to sales and loyalty campaigns

Commerce and sales

Customer churn can now happen in an instant. Unless you give every customer a fast and seamless buying process, they’ll just take their purchase elsewhere. 

A fine example of martech commerce tools are e-commerce platforms like Shopify, Amazon, and various others worldwide that already have all the essentials in place to get your products sold as smoothly as possible. 

They also blend e-commerce with analytics and engagement. 

Get connected. Commerce tools also overlap with content and social tools through affiliate marketing and channel marketing. Where do your target audiences hang out? If they’re on Facebook, YouTube or Instagram, are you there, too? 

Get insight. This is where you need to use your analytics tools so you have accurate insights to make the right decision, because starting right is critical. It can be hard to switch once you’re established somewhere. It takes investment of time and resources. 

You need martech solutions to help your human teams

That’s another goal: to help your human teams excel at what they do. Smooth, speedy workflows. 

It’s going to be a long while before AI truly takes over from humans, if it ever will. The companies that use AI most effectively will be those that work with it, and allow it to take over processes that can and should be automated, freeing up employees to be more creative than ever, to connect dots they wouldn’t otherwise, and to be great translators of data. 

It’s no longer just automation. That was the 60s. It’s now smart automation. Martech tools help you with that. 

Dan Baird

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