Marketing technology has become a standard part of managing a business. Nearly two-thirds of marketers surveyed have invested heavily in marketing technology over the past year.
The growth in martech investments can be attributed to a few things, namely the growing importance of measurable marketing impact that technology can provide as well as the growing number of marketing solutions available.
When you look at content marketing vendors alone, the growth has been exponential. The number of marketing technology solutions has grown 468% in just the past 3 years. 62% of marketers expect to manage more martech in-house over the next 12 months, and 56% of marketers think the martech industry is evolving faster than their companies can integrate marketing technology.
We spoke with several leaders at the ProcureCon Marketing conference last month, and many of our conversations centered around the challenges they face when it comes to:
- Navigating the martech landscape and evaluating technology partners
- Evaluating solutions that can deliver measurable value to the marketing team, a procurement leader’s internal client
- Managing pressures and expectations to identify efficiencies and cost savings in the process
To help out, we identified three things procurement teams should consider when evaluating solutions for their marketing teams.
1. The marketing team’s value proposition and KPIs
As you’re examining solutions, ensure you know what value the marketing team is looking to bring to the business and what metrics they will be evaluating to show ROI and business value. It will be critical to be able to confidently identify which KPIs the martech vendor is able to produce and how those align to business objectives and marketing’s goals.
Additionally, procurement needs to understand what the marketing team is looking to accomplish. Having an understanding of the functionality they’re looking for and being able to translate those needs to potential vendors will be critical. For example, personalization is a capability that means different things depending on which vendor you talk to. Make sure you know your marketing team’s definitions so you can translate their needs and fully understand the vendor’s offering.
2. The impact on internal operations and the implementation process
Another key factor to consider when evaluating martech partners is their ease of implementation. You should be intimately familiar with the current marketing processes and which parts are essential to a smooth operation. Any potential vendor will want to understand the current process so they can identify up-front where there might be pain points in change management for the marketing organization. You’ll want to ensure any new vendor is able to provide internal training sessions or ongoing support and resources to help the team get up and running quickly.
But prior to training, you’ll need to ensure you fully understand what’s involved with implementation. Ask the vendor for an implementation roadmap and expected timeframe for completion. Ensure all marketing stakeholders are aware, and any internal partners on the IT team are bought in and can provide support if needed.
3. Cost and efficiency trade-offs
Procurement professionals today are focusing more on providing value to the business rather than simply cost savings. While it’s valuable to consider savings when evaluating any technology solution, you should have open and transparent conversations with your marketing counterparts on the impact of cost savings versus efficiency gains when you are comparing vendors. Determine how much weight these factors should carry when you’re comparing solutions. For many organizations, the operational efficiencies far outweigh cost, and for some it’s vice versa. Just make sure you and the marketing team are aligned on priorities and the trade-offs.
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AJ is the Director, Strategic Accounts at OneSpot.