How to (finally) simplify your B2B marketing tech stack

The vice president of marketing for a B2B technology company sits in her office. The space is cleanly decorated, sparse, and tasteful. On his desk, there is only a neat pile of paper, his telephone and his computer. And yet, she couldn’t feel more congested.

On his computer screen, logins, dashboards, and control panels for a hundred different marketing technologies flood the screen. The advertising team is struggling to come up with a number, while at the same time the board is curious to see a breakdown of the previous quarter’s web traffic and lead information. The data team wants to verify a statistic they aren’t sure is correct, while the web team is also concerned about a number they just discovered. absolutely incorrect reports – and this will affect web reports as a whole.

B2B marketing today presents thousands of challenges, each of which seems to have between one and fifteen technological “solutions”. It’s easy to pile everything on your team, and before you know it, your marketing mix is ​​a tangle of inconsistent reporting, tedious manual entry, and mysterious paths that only one person on your team fully understands. But for all the cost, labor, and headache, is all this technology actually helping your brand tell its story more effectively?

The stadium

It’s not hard to see how we got here.

Between an ever faster pace of competition in the digital space and technology development providing new solutions seemingly every day, the marketing technology space has rapidly become crowded in the past 5 years alone. Between 2011 and 2016, the space for technology providers grew from 150 technology options to over 3,500 (with recent measures even leaving out more “general” technologies like database software). For one thing, the resulting competition has meant a load of more effective patches for more marketing issues. The other, conductor search found that this means that 31% of marketers now report using more than 10 different marketing technologies (with an additional 7% of marketers reporting having exceeded the 20 technology cap).

But those values ​​might not be a concern if all that technology is helping marketers do their jobs better. Right?

The same Conductor study found that’s probably not the case. About 53% of marketers said they felt “overwhelmed” by the amount of data their platforms provided, while a further 67% said they had to wade through too many dashboards to find the information they wanted. Just five years ago, the main challenge for marketers was being able to gather accurate and useful information. Today, our access to information has shifted to the other end of the spectrum, and marketers are drowning in it.

The good news? There is absolutely a way to reduce your B2B marketing technology stack. But this will likely require a thorough assessment of what your team is doing, and then a lengthy disentanglement of the data you already have.

Crew

Refine your criteria

There are two processes you should follow to simplify your technical marketing situation: assess your data questions and assess your current technology platforms.

Data questions are simply the questions your team answers by referring to the data. In the past, when good data was scarce, it was difficult to know exactly what it was. The result was often a scrooge-like hoarding of all possible data, “just in case”. Today, however, data science is becoming an increasingly intertwined part of how enterprise marketers work across the world, and likewise the practices surrounding our approaches to data have become more refined. . This allows marketers to focus on what they really need, rather than what they might need.

Evaluate these questions to understand what your brand’s data needs really are:

What should I justify?

Before any research or analysis, data is used to prove what you know about your brand. Take the time to list exactly what your team needs to report precisely, before any experimentation enters the mix. Things like conversion tracking and spend attribution come in here.

What would I like to learn?

Marketers tend to be curious by nature, so your answers to these questions are likely to be exhaustive. However, once the list is complete, take the time to group your answers according to the type of data that would help you test these hypotheses, and you’ll likely find a few large groups with some interesting outliers. Whenever possible, try to remove or adjust your outliers to fit your larger groups and it will be easier to choose technical solutions that will help you test most (if not all) of your questions.

Who will end up seeing this?

Do you report your data to a senior manager or does your entire team have access to it? Are marketers the only ones looking at your data, or is it possible that non-commercial professionals are trying to interpret your marketing data? Thinking about how your information is presented — or how you might want to avoid it being presented — can help you make decisions between two equally powerful platforms.

Once you understand what your data needs are, the process of choosing your most effective marketing technology stack becomes a simple matter of sorting through the market while keeping a few priorities in mind:

  • RCI. How can a platform help you better understand how you spend and make money? And does the cost of the platform justify it? This, before anything else, should be your main criteria of choice.
  • Personalization and integration. Marketing is changing fast, and the result is that sometimes platforms can’t always meet your specific needs with every update. To avoid having to constantly switch platforms or resort to a daisy-chain of intermediary tools, opt for marketing technology that allows you to customize to your personal needs and easily integrate with your other essential tools.
  • Ease of use. If you (or your team) don’t enjoy using the platform, it probably won’t be as effective as you hope. Considering ease of use and presentation after understanding the gist of how a tool actually works should always be in your mind when choosing.
  • Look for a single consolidator. Last but not least, several technologies have entered the game specifically to help marketers avoid the “too many dashboards” syndrome. If there’s room in your stack and budget, consider adopting one of these reporting platforms to bring all your material together in one easily accessible place. Keep in mind, however, that these platforms will likely require a lot of upfront time investment to set up properly. If your stack is sufficiently balanced (less than five tools), this type of consolidation is probably superfluous. Looking for an all-in-one enterprise content publishing solution?Discover the Skyword platform.

Marketing technology will only become more complex. The digital world is full of needs that businesses hope to address, and the result is that your brand is already caught in the middle of too many options that do too much or too little to matter. The only way to stay ahead is to remember your human element: keep your curiosity and needs in mind, and focus on technology that effectively covers those needs.

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