By Grant Coleman, SVP of EMEA at Emarsys
Choosing the best marketing platform for your business is difficult for any marketer. There are countless different factors involved in the decision, but finding one that delivers results, quickly can be particularly challenging. The timeline for acquiring, implementing and integrating new marketing tech lasts more than twelve months in many cases. It’s likely there will then be a latency period before it delivers results too. You might even be looking at a couple of years before your new piece of tech starts generating value. It is no surprise therefore that this ‘time to value’ challenge often puts marketers off choosing new tech solutions.
There’s a compelling case for addressing this challenge head on, however. Taking too long to get innovative solutions up and running comes at a business cost: a recent McKinsey survey shows that 71% of major tech projects go over budget before time to value (TTV) is reached.
How then, can marketers reduce TTV to make their new tools as profitable as possible in a short timeframe? Those seeking to save time and deliver sustained success from their martech must first set aside plenty of time to adapt their marketing strategy to ensure it’s proactive, not simply reactive. Even if this process is challenging and requires the investment of time and money, it is a worthwhile exercise for improving long-term productivity and profit in more ways than one.
With this in mind, here are my top tips for marketers seeking to get bang for their buck from their martech investments:
1. Make sure your marketing talent has the tools to succeed when they need them
Delayed and slow launches are bad for business. As everyone knows, the quicker you can get your platform working at an optimal level, the greater impact it will have on your business objectives. Skilled marketers need tools to match their ability to rapidly respond to and manipulate the market. If not, they will be frustrated.
2. Think strategy, not just speed
There’s no need to become fixated on speed alone, however. Outsmarting your competitors is also key, so it’s crucial to invest in platforms that are both strategic and streamlined to ensure your product delivers value. By collectively agreeing your desired outcomes and a methodical, transparent timeline to get your new platform up and running with the wider business, you’ll be able to build a far more effective marketing strategy than if you aimlessly construct an IT architecture that renders your technology more of a hindrance than a practical tool.
3. Establish goals at the outset and evaluate your progress
A critical part of any plan is its timeline, which needs to be collectively agreed and transparent from the outset. It is important to designate milestone markers: what does the whole process resemble after a month of implementation? What remains to be done? If your business is five months down the line and still unclear on the end objective, or how far away it may be, then something needs to change. There are many technological advancements at our fingertips that we can use to ease the process.
4. Make your platform work for your team
When deploying a new platform, it’s critical to get your team clued up on your new tools and turn them into experts as soon as possible. That doesn’t just mean training them on its functionality though. It’s vital you impress on your team how beneficial the new tech will be, once the teething stage is over. Otherwise, staff may become disillusioned, clients may question contract renewals and you might fall further behind the competition.
5. Be open to addressing new challenges
Your objectives will naturally influence your choice of tech, but you should also be open to the potential of new technology to address hidden problems you didn’t know you had previously. For example, wouldn’t you want to address the fact that 86% of customers will “channel hop” and evade traditional marketing methods? This is an instance when new information can inform our choices.
6. Choose an ally, not just a vendor
Above all, make sure you choose a provider you can trust. You need them to be on hand for assistance during the process. Proper implementation requires a provider closely aligned with your objectives. Find out what their training materials are, the courses they have available, what consultancy they provide, and the support services they have available, and whether these are calibrated to the needs of your marketing team. Adopting a new platform is not an overnight process and will require due diligence before installation.
Time to value has been an important concept for years for countless products and across hundreds of industries. In marketing TTV is less transparent, which is a confusing problem. Taking a more strategic view of acquiring tech that matches the objectives you want to achieve with the most suitable tech available will ensure you deliver the best possible time to value for your business.