If you work in marketing, you probably get a martech-related sales email or digital ad daily. Choosing a martech solution can be challenging. Every solution promises to change the way you do your job in a big way — making your work easier, faster, more accurate, and better than the competition’s. Which makes sense. After all, the marketing for a marketing tool better be good.
But with so many solutions on the market, it’s important that you don’t just get caught up in good looks, but actually take the time to go about the right way choosing a martech solution. Also, many martech sites are actually sponsored by the vendors themselves. This can make it hard to find an objective party.
“As much as marketing solutions can save you time and money, choosing the wrong solution can end up being waste of those resources instead,” said Russell Nanney, technology advisor at TechnologyAdvice. “It’s critical to think with both your IT and marketing caps on in order to choose a solution that will solve your challenges, integrate well with your current systems, and scale or adapt as your work does.”
10 essential questions to ask yourself before choosing a martech solution.
First, evaluate where you are today. You may have tools right under your nose that you don’t realize can meet your needs. They may not be as shiny as a new piece of software or the app that everyone’s talking about, but they’re already in place. Make sure you look at the software other teams in your organzation (especially your CMS) may be using that could have an underutilized marketing automation component.
- What are the existing technologies our team has access to?
- Do we understand the functions of those technologies and how they could impact our marketing initiatives?
- If so, are we using those functions to their maximum capacity? If not, could we be?
Next, evaluate your performance needs.
There are a lot of great solutions out there. It’s easy to get distracted when you’re choosing a martech solution. You could fall into the trap of choosing a solution that loosely meets your main needs, but looks attractive thanks to extra bells and whistles. An impulse buy will only lead to remorse. Ask the following questions to define your essential criteria, and be sure to land on your budget as well.
- In our existing tech stack, where are the gaps that aren’t meeting our team’s needs and are there any redundancies?
- What are the non-negotiable functionalities that a new solution must have in order to fill those gaps? What are the nice-to-haves and/or the functions that we don’t need today, but likely will in the future?
Now, consider daily usage.
Martech solutions don’t come off the shelf ready to revolutionize your work. As with any technology implementation, there is a learning curve in which team members get up to speed and data is moved over. Ensure the solutions you’re evaluating will make that transition period, and the daily usage afterwards, as easy as possible.
- Who is going to own the martech solution and what capacity and restrictions does that person/people have for implementation, onboarding, and maintenance?
- What are the current levels of technical experience on our team and does the solution’s user experience meet us where we are?
Finally, confirm the provider’s track record.
Thanks to the cloud, it’s easier than ever to launch a software company. New startups come into the space every day, many created by marketers themselves. So while a new offering may be literally speaking your language, you need ensure it also walks the walk. Your martech solution will be put to the test when your team gets their hands on it — it needs to hold up.
- Does this solution integrate well with the other tools your team uses on a daily basis or will workarounds need to be created?
- Does the vendor have history of staying ahead of industry needs and trends and do they have a strong product roadmap for for the future?
- What security parameters does the solution have in place and do they match or exceed your security requirements?
We’d be remiss if we didn’t touch on the importance of data. Planning marketing strategies without data is like throwing spaghetti at a wall to see what sticks. So don’t make a martech purchase without evaluating its analytical capacity.
- What reporting capabilities does the solution offer and how easily and quickly is that data accessible?
With these essential questions in mind, you’ll stay focused and land on a good solution that meets your needs.