Marketing is nowadays completely dependent on software – but comparing martech tools and selecting the right one is still surprisingly challenging.
Knowledge is power when selecting martech tools
In SMBs, marketing usually makes martech tool decisions pretty independently. That’s a fast way forward – sometimes even too fast. I’ve seen a lot of SMBs where big investment decisions have been made based on brand, hearsay or an extremely fast research process in the middle of hectic everyday priorities.
In enterprises, IT and procurement departments enter the picture. The procurement process is longer and more thorough – but the result might still not end up pleasing the end-users. Marketing definitely needs solid arguments to defend solutions that fit their needs and are easy-to-use for the entire team.
In every case, marketing needs information, whether it’s about choosing the right advertising, marketing automation or content management platform. Otherwise a big decision will be made based on gut feeling or driven by other departments.
Who to believe when choosing martech tools?
What information should you trust? There’s no easy answer.
Technology providers typically focus on their strengths. It might be very difficult to distinguish the real limitations of a tool, and to know when it’s not the best solution. Sometimes technology providers don’t even know their competition that well and can’t articulate their own competitive advantage clearly. (It would be so refreshing to read: “We don’t recommend our product for these purposes.”)
Consultants that offer technology implementations have their own biases. Make sure you understand which tools they offer, and then weigh if they are the right partner for you. Especially when a consultant company is offering only a single solution, you need to be wary of it. Then you’re probably in charge of making the technology comparisons yourself – and need to compare both technology and partner candidates at the same time.
Users typically have a limited amount of experience. You can interview someone you know from another company or read online reviews but most users do not have in-depth knowledge on several similar tools. If you find such a person, and they work in the same business model, technology environment & have same needs as you, you are exceptionally lucky.
In summary, be mindful of the so-called facts and opinions you receive.
3 tips for successfully choosing martech tools
Take these three points into account when you’re choosing a new platform for marketing use.
1. Clear vision. You understand what you want from the new system and how it fits your company strategy. In addition to urgent needs, you have at least some kind of idea what you’re expecting to do within a few years. For that you of course need to understand how your business will change.
2. Pay attention to architecture. Especially in SMBs it may be that no one actually owns IT architecture. Even though you could take any platform into use as a so-called stand-alone installation, many use cases ultimately require integrations. Pay attention to this already when choosing the tool. How will you combine it into your analytics & reporting setup? Are any of your other key platforms going to be replaced in the foreseeable future?
3. Remember the people. The tool alone will do nothing. The real impact is almost always accomplished by the people using the tool. Communicate to the team(s) early: why are changes being made and what are you trying to achieve with them? When the go-live day is approaching, offer them an excellent hands-on training and walkthrough of any new processes. Name an owner responsible for continuous development and adopting new ways of working. Otherwise we people tend to continue doing things exactly like before.
This article is a translation of the writer’s article which was originally published in the blog of MarkkinointiKollektiivi, a Finnish network for marketers.