New research by MarTech Today reveals that over 80% of marketers changed at least one martech application in the last 12 months. There’s no reason to believe this percentage is any lower in the B2B world than it is in the B2C world, and as such, members of the CMA B2B Council weigh in with their insights on the challenges and considerations associated with making a switch:
Switching up a martech application won’t work well if the marketing strategy it is intended to execute isn’t sound. Marketers don’t always control the overall marketing strategy, depending on the organization and their level in it, but they should make sure that strategy is part of the discussion when planning for an application change.
Marketers also need to address their legacy applications because there is usually a transition period – sometimes a long one. There’s a natural tendency to think that the organization will be switching the old application off as it switches the new one on, but it hardly ever works this way. Planned transition strategies are best for the marketing function and the teams that operate within it.
Robert Wyatt, CM
Business Services Director, Optima Communications
Technology selection, partner reviews, process mapping, integration with existing technology and implementation require considerable time and effort from many teams, and it’s important to have a well-executed “passing of the baton.” If teams who will be managing and enhancing the systems after the launch are included, at some level, in the project team from the start, the chances of a successful implementation are higher.
Senior Manager, Marketing Solutions and Client Offers, CIBC
The introduction of a new martech solution will succeed if there’s thorough integration across the organization. The output is only as good as the input, which means that there needs to be a larger adoption of software platforms beyond the marketing team. Once you’re beyond the business case, funding and integration with internal systems, the next step needs to be thoughtful change management and training plans. That may sound like an obvious statement – of course I’ll train my team – but when it comes to process automation or workflow applications, it’s often the teams outside of yours that need the most support. Think of legal, compliance, or senior management teams as an example. You’ll need to find, first, the time with these groups, then second, a compelling value proposition suited to each audience. Assuming adoption, you’ll then need ongoing support, monitoring and measurement for their continued adoption.
VP, Marketing, Communications and Field, Canada Life
Often, a new commercial martech platform will create dependencies whereby the next custom digital feature you want to add or roll out can’t be done without significant investment in development time, if it can be done at all. It’s important to be mindful of what’s involved with setting up martech. It’s never as easy as it seems. One example was an email marketing platform that claimed to integrate with Google Analytics by auto-generating a unique alpha-numeric UTM string for each email, overwriting any manually generated UTM that we programmed in the emails to track performance. Not only could we not create our own UTMs with this integration, but learning that this was how their platform “integrated” opened my eyes as to what the word integration can actually mean when it comes to martech.
Director, Engagement and Analytics, Motum B2B
In a world where technology and "homegrown" builds are becoming more accessible, the definition of martech itself is changing to include a range of custom developed deployments. Strategies from the tech and startup world can help increase success rates. Lean methodologies, agile development, minimal viable products and ecosystem thinking can also be applied strategically to service design, investment planning and success strategies.
Identify the core differentiator to your business and customers in your tech strategy. Taking a de-coupled approach helps to narrow down the core function. There's no reason or value in custom building certain “back-office” components when API integration means access to market leader software and support. A big first step is identifying core functionality and supporting functionality. Start with micro deployments that can validate success and adoption. Scale incrementally from there.
Co-Founder, Tennis Inc
I think the industry is feeling generally behind (and mostly frustrated). Every day, we’re learning about a new application or “connector” that makes our tech stack work as we envisioned it would. “Oh, you wanted your CRM and your marketing automation platform to work together? You need a connector for that… it’s only another $50K / year.” In many cases, we don’t understand what we are buying.
Swapping tools is a band-aid solution. At the surface, we are “making change” but we aren’t changing the outcome. The most successful implementations happen within organizations that get the basics right: What outcome are we expecting from this tool? How will we measure success? Is there internal buy-in at the senior level? How are we supporting end-users? If we can’t answer these questions in a meaningful way, a new martech application is just another shiny tool in the toolbox that will never be effectively used, if it’s used at all.
Andrew Au, CM