Good MarTech investments start with strategy

by Kevin Mok
December 7, 2020

It’s a story that’s all too common. A marketer knows they need to invest in tech (like a CRM or CMS). They choose vendors they’re familiar with, attend the sales pitches and bite the bullet on a new tool.

But then the tool is difficult to use, or it doesn’t solve their marketing problems, and they end up with a serious case of buyer’s remorse.

This financial year, 68% of CMOs plan to increase their marketing technology investment. But navigating the world of MarTech can be a nightmare. There are literally thousands of options to choose from—how can you choose one without regretting your choice?

In our work with hundreds of not-for-profit and for-purpose organisations, we’ve developed an approach to tech selection that gets used, solves problems and avoids remorse.

We’ve also seen some common misconceptions and mistakes to avoid. The biggest one: purchasing tech before you’ve built a strategy.

If you plan on making MarTech investments in the next few months, you’ll want to join our webinar on December 10. Sign up here to join or to get the recording!

Strategy first, then tech

Good tech supports strategy (not the other way around). To be effective, it has to align to your organisational goals and meet the requirements of both your customers and your team.

Before you start meeting with tech vendors, you should have a good understanding of your strategy, including your digital vision and your customer journey maps. These will help guide your investment and ensure the customer is put first.

For example, if your digital vision involves reaching and engaging your audiences at different stages of their journey, your first priority should be to invest in a customer relationship manager (CRM), so you understand how users are engaging or interacting with your brand and make more informed decisions to better reach your customers and supporters and build your relationship online.

Other high-priority investments that can support your digital strategy:

  • A web content management system (CMS) to build and manage your website and digital content

  • A CRM to store your donors’ information and identify the right moment for an ask

  • Marketing automation platforms, such as Marketo, Marketing Cloud, Hubspot Marketing or Zoho Marketing

  • Business intelligence (BI) platforms to assist with reporting

Strategy keeps you grounded

Strategy isn’t just useful at the first stage of tech selection: a good strategy will keep you focused throughout the tech selection process.

The biggest contributor to MarTech buyers remorse is the sales process. Brand representatives will sell you the “art of the possible”, all the advanced features a platform could have, with enough time and investment. It can be easy to invest in a tool that promises more, but doesn’t deliver on what you need right now.

So when gathering requirements and meeting with vendors, keep your digital vision in mind. How will this tech help us get from where we are to where we want to be?

Your four-step process to better tech selection

So, where do you start?

1. Build your strategy

You can watch our recent webinar on strategy development here to get a good understanding on how to build your strategy from scratch.

2. Gather your requirements

Understand the problems your tech needs to solve with internal research, user interviews, or by building user stories (that is, ask stakeholders to fill out their response to this template: “As a [type of user], I want to [some goal], so that I can [do something].”).

Then prioritise your requirements by classifying them on a spectrum from ‘must have’, ‘should have’, ‘could have’ to ‘won’t have’.

3. Navigate the sales pitch

Once you have your requirements, use them to build your request for quotations, and to give vendors specific use cases. Make sure your vendor provides a demonstration and closely meets  brief you provided them. Otherwise, you run the risk of purchasing a solution that does everything… except what you need.

At this point, it can be helpful to have a platform-agnostic advisor to objectively analyse vendors (like us!) to make sure the tools you’re evaluating will support your strategy.

4. Train and institutionalise

Make sure you set aside budget to train your staff to be able to use the tool. Appoint organisational champions to advocate for the tool, such as leaders who incorporate the new technology into their team’s workflows, and frontline employees who maintain and show others the value of the technology.

Join us at our free webinar as we walk through these four steps in detail.