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How long is too long to see value in marketing tech?

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.

Final Thoughts

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.

Global marketing technology market valued at $100 billion

The global marketing technology market is worth $99.9 billion, according to a study by accountancy Moore Stephens and research outfit WARC.

The study, carried out amongst more than 800 UK, North American, Asia-Pacific and European brands and agencies, was initiated to better understand the scale of investment into the sector, and reveals not only a huge existing market, but one that continues to grow exponentially.

When asked about the outlook for the market, brands expect to increase their investment in martech for the year ahead. This is particularly true in the case of Europe (excluding UK), where nearly two thirds (63%) said they expect their budgets to increase.

In the UK and North America, brands have increased their martech budgets by 44%, it’s now worth up to $52 billion. These brands are spending nearly a quarter (23%) of their budgets on martech, up from 16% 12 months ago.

Interestingly, brands in UK and North America are also keen to spend on in-house technology.

63% of technology budgets were spent in-house – compared to 44% last year – a figure driven by a desire from brands to excel in their customer experience, coupled with an element of mistrust in agencies.

Damian Ryan, Partner at Moore Stephens, said: “Investment in martech has reached a tipping point over the last twelve months. Established marketers in disrupted industries, such as insurance and financial services, realise they need to invest if they are to future-proof themselves, and view martech as a key area of investment. Just look at Nationwide Building Society’s recent announcement of £1 billion investment in tech. Staying relevant is key but taking on the new breed of competitors – such as Revolut – is creating a big rethink.

“All the while, agencies are struggling to stay relevant. Clearly marketers are seeking to build in-house strength and are set to spend more on martech to remain competitive. Our research finds that this budget is coming from media spend and will have a resounding impact on the value of media-centric agencies.”

Looking at the global market, those who said their budget will increase expect to see an average increase of 13%. Even more indicative of a fast-growing market is the fact that around one-in-five (18% in North America, 17% UK) expect increases of more than 25% in their martech budgets over the next year.

The research also looked at the specific technologies behind the market. On a global scale, perhaps unsurprisingly, email remains the most likely avenue for martech, used by 79% of marketers. This is closely followed by social media, with 77% currently using the technology with a further 18% expecting to use in the next 12 months.

The most planned for tactic in the year ahead, interestingly, is SEO – an established marketing discipline, but one which continues to change as algorithms develop. The biggest rise, year-on-year for the UK & North American market, was the use of martech for analytics, measurement and insights, selected by 75% – a 19% rise on a year ago.

The study showed that the most established tech currently in use is that of ‘internet of things’ (IoT) and connected devices. Second is voice which has seen rapid development over the past year, influencing the way searches are made online and driving progress in areas such as voice optimisation. A new wave of martech tools will likely emerge, and when the results are broken down by region, the UK is likely to be the most progressive in terms of voice search, with 36% stating they currently use a tool in this area, and a further 11% planning to do so in the next few months.

Amy Rodgers, Research Editor at WARC, said: “There has been no discernible sign that the rate of growth within the martech space is slackening. With data volumes continuously increasing, this research shows that data, analytics and automation are key focuses for martech investment globally as marketers look for help with metrics and measurement.

“Understanding of the technology available continues to be an issue for brands, however, and with many planning to move tech in-house over the next year, agencies will have to adapt to a changing, advisory role in the martech strategies of their clients.”

Click here to download a copy of the Martech: 2019 And Beyond report.

UK’s love for cars tops social media posts

A report by social media analytics platform, Netbase, has revealed the UK’s love of luxury car brands.

The Brand Love List report looks at the brands consumers express the most love for in social media posts, with Jaguar, Land Rover, BMW 3 Series and Porsche 911 just some of the models that consumers are crazy about, with BMW, Audi and Porsche all featuring in the report’s top 10.

This is the second year that the report has been run. In the UK, Apple held onto the top spot, but showed that Google, in second place, was narrowing the gap which last year was 400,000, now down to 130,000 along with a lot of positive sentiment for Google Classroom. The remainder of the top five was unchanged with Lego in third with an abundance of shared excitement for themed Lego such as Lego Batman, Tesco in fourth with popular campaign hashtags including #triedforless and #bagsofhelp while BMW was ranked fifth.

The European Top Five brands differed only slightly from the UK with BMW taking fourth spot and consumer goods brand Adidas coming in at fifth place. The automotive sector once again proved popular with customers expressing much love, particularly in relation to the Porsche 911. While consumer goods brands including Gucci, Adidas, Lego and Christian Dior S.A. accounted for nearly 45% of the top loved brands, they only represented 21% of the mentions. Conversely, technology which was dominated by Apple and Google but also included SAP, Siemens and Dyson, represented 10% of the conversation they also represented over 55% of mentions.

While there’s much love for consumer goods brands, they still don’t even come close to the volume of technology conversation across Europe.

The data was gathered using NetBase’s social media analytics platform to surface the strongest, most positive consumer emotions towards brands from 2.4 million English language posts of earned mentions. Earned mentions mean those posts that were not posted by the brand itself, inclusive of Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr and millions of other sources during the one-year period April 2016 to April 2017. It then identified the 25 UK brands that get the most love.

The European report used the same sources across the same period from 6.5 million English language posts of earned mentions in 50+ European countries and identified a list of the 50 most loved brands.

Commenting on the UK report Paige Leidig, Chief Marketing Officer, NetBase said: “What’s interesting about automotive is that brands represent 25% of the list but account for only 13% of the conversation suggesting that there is an opportunity for them to spread the love and engage more influencers in conversation.

“The dominance of technology in social conversation is no surprise but the fact that Apple and Google are so far out in front indicates that they have now become an everyday part of the English language.”

www.netbase.com

Marketing teams concerned CEOs are out of touch with tech

Employees are worried about not having support from management as senior staff members believe there is a disconnect in the boardroom when it comes to new technologies.

A study by digital specialist Squiz revealed that just 27 per cent of marketing teams work closely with their CEO, as it’s admitted they believe that over half of executives outside of their department make use of marketing without understanding its effect on revenue.

97 per cent of global marketers believe that technology has allowed their department to become more strategic, allowing for greater planning and increased revenue.

Even with how the department believes marketing technology, or martech, is important to their business, over a quarter feel that they aren’t confident in setting goals the whole business can understand and support.

“In a world where marketing, technology and digital are fundamental  to the business strategy in order for organisations to gain and maintain a leading edge over competitors, it’s quite alarming that such a high proportion of senior marketers feel the C-suite don’t understand the value of marketing,” said founder and director of We Are Adam, Leon Milns. “The CEO needs convincing on the value that marketing technology can bring.”

In the past year, just three per cent of businesses have invested in marketing technology, and experts are shocked to find that even with these numbers, only a third of marketers believe their department’s value is understood by executives.

“As martech is being used by the rest of the business, marketers need to be more confident that its value is being communicated,” said Neil Davis, managing director for the UK and Europe at Squiz. “They must ensure that they are using technology beyond its basic capabilities so that they can make maximum impact at a business level.”

Guest Blog, Tariq Khan: Ensure your marketing technology investment doesn’t go down the drain…

Take a look at the marketing technology landscape at the end of 2012, and compare it to now. What you’re seeing is a tenfold increase in marketing tech vendors in around three-and-a-half years, and the rate is growing aggressively.

How does this make you feel? Is it scary because of the potential expense and business case preparation; not to mention the complex challenges associated with managing the implementation of these systems? Or is it an exciting opportunity to use technology to compete and create more engaging experiences than any of your competitors?

In many cases there will be an equal measure of trepidation and excitement for the future. The chances are, to some degree, you are already on the journey. It’s no secret the marketing landscape is changing rapidly and with it a requirement to think in a new way. According to recent research from executive search firm Russell Reynolds, the first half of 2016 saw the highest turnover of CMOs since 2012, thanks to the rapidly evolving skill-set necessary to be successful in this new data-led era.

So what’s the best way to approach this hypermarket of marketing technology where new aisles and products are constantly being introduced and evolved? More importantly, once you have committed, how do you ensure you get the maximum value out of the technology decisions you’ve made?

The biggest pitfall we see time and again is that the technology hasn’t quite managed to unlock that beautiful strategic vision, and as such real-world ROI hasn’t quite lived up to the promise. According to a report conducted last year by Oracle Marketing Cloud, a staggering 92 per cent of respondents believe their marketing technology investments have not been well-implemented.

Buying the tech will only get you so far. Marketing technology vendors will promise “out of the box” solutions that will transform your business overnight. But simply building a tool will not solve the problems: only people can solve problems. The better people understand the tools, the better equipped you are for success.

That’s why an effective change management strategy is just as important as your choice of technology. Whilst partners can certainly help, the leadership needed to bring this change management strategy about can only come from within the organisation. 

Change, at its core, is a people process, and people are hardwired to resist adopting new mind-sets, practices, and behaviours. To achieve and sustain the transformational change that marketing technology brings about, companies must commit significant resources to ensuring they embed new processes and behaviours at every level.

Here are five practical tips to think about before, during and after a marketing technology implementation:

  1. Don’t underestimate the degree of organisational and operational change needed: Are your individuals and teams knowledgeable and empowered enough to be truly agile? Ensure everyone involved has KPIs that are oriented around serving customers and getting ROI from the investment.
  1. Ensure there is an emotional case for change: Many leaders are great at building the rational case for change, but they are less adept at appealing to people’s emotional core. Yet the employees’ emotions are where the momentum for real transformation ultimately lies. Communication is key here; try creating an on-going email campaign, videos and e-learning modules that help highlight the benefits to all levels.
  1. Carefully budget: If you’ve got a million to invest in marketing technology, spend half of this on training your team properly and on partnerships that put experienced experts in both technology and process alongside your team after go-live. Set sensible targets around when ROI will kick in; it won’t happen instantly.
  1. Aim to implement a significantly less sophisticated product at the start and build up: You learned to drive in the family run-around, not an F1 sports car. Phased releases of software that limits the complexity your team needs to manage will lead to a deeper adoption more quickly. Make sure you’re working with a technology partner who is comfortable with an agile methodology that facilitates this.
  1. Incentivise your marketers to “own” and accelerate the change: Provide a safe environment to push the new technology to its limits. It takes innovation, curiosity and a lot of trial and error to maximise the value of any new marketing technology.

As the marketing technology landscape continues to grow, it is tempting to think the new product on the market will prove paramount to unlocking your competitive advantage. Whilst this can be the case, it’s worth remembering that the machinery will never live up to its potential without the right people operating it. As such, marketers need take advantage of this period of change as an opportunity to break down traditional structures within their business and attain the organisational agility needed to stay ahead of their competitors. 

 

Tariq has 16 years’ of digital management experience working at the Financial Times, LBi & TMW before joining Navigate Unlimited as a consultant. A keen advocate of agile ways of working, Tariq’s delivery experience has seen him successfully lead and consult on hundreds of projects and programmes for high profile clients including BBC, Deutsche Bank, HM Treasury, Nissan, Guardian and Unilever.

Wrike for Marketers ‘simplifies and frees’ creatives from technology overload…

The project management application service provider, Wrike, has launched a brand new solution which aims to provide marketers with a ‘core management platform’, as well as added capabilities specifically designed to help define, execute and plan standout campaigns in a multichannel digital world.

Wrike for Marketers claims to support all phases of the marketing lifecycle; as jobs are requested with customisable briefs and ideas and content created with a document editor and the Adobe Creative Cloud Extension that notifies, assigns and brings focus to creative work.

Founder and CEO of Wrike, Andrew Filev, said: “I believe we’ve built the easiest way for marketers and creatives to manage their work from inspiration to delivery. A big pain point for these teams has always been the time and frustration required to transfer information between the various phases of projects. Wrike for Marketers integrates those phases into one continuous stream.”

Find out more about Wrike for Marketers here