Last month on our Revenue Marketing journey, we discussed how to formulate your 2018 content marketing strategy. This month we make a right turn on the journey and finally discuss marketing operations and technology. This is the 15th blog in the Revenue Marketing journey series, and we finally get to a discussion on technology. Hopefully that tells you something about how important people, process, data and content are, in that they all preceded this post.

Gartner recently released their CMO Spend Survey 2017 to 2018. In 2018 the survey suggests that marketing spending on technology will drop to 22 percent of the total budget. In addition, the technology landscape as plotted by Scott Brinker and team at exceeded 5000 logos in 2017. So great, marketing operations has all this budget to spend on technology and more choices than we can possibly evaluate. What are we to do? Let’s start with the end in mind.

What Outcomes Do You Expect From the Technology?

We deploy technology largely because it fulfills one or more of the following criteria:

  1. To gather, analyze and disseminate information to make better business decisions
  2. To automate some previously labor-intensive processes to gain efficiencies and increase profits
  3. To enable innovation in the products and services we provide to win market share

So, the question becomes, where in 2018 will you get the highest ROI from technology investments? If you are early in your Revenue Marketing journey, you may opt to invest in a customer relationship management (CRM), a content management system (CMS) and a marketing automation platform (MAP) as these tend to be technology hubs at the center of a typical martech stack as shown below:

Revenue Marketing Architecture for Marketing Operations

Revenue Marketing Architecture

As an example, a MAP enables you to gather and analyze behavior data about your prospects and customers so you can make better decisions about how to engage with them to optimize the customer experience. A MAP can also automate responses to prospects when they perform certain actions, thereby reducing the need for human intervention. And a MAP can be configured to move individuals from one campaign to another depending on where they are in their customer journey, adapting the nature of the outreach to match the circumstances of the prospect. An example might be opting new customers into welcome campaigns automatically. So the MAP could meet all three of the criteria listed above for justifying a new technology acquisition.

If you are further along in your journey and comfortable with the technology hubs you have in place, then perhaps you are considering analytics, ABM technology or some inbound technologies. The first step is to apply the three criteria listed above. What decisions will be better informed? Will it be a time saver or will it enable you to accomplish something new? What will the impact be on revenue? How immediate will the impact be? How much customization will be required and training? Once you answer these questions, you will have a good idea what types of technologies you want to add to your stack, but you won’t necessarily know which vendor to choose.

Develop Use Cases to Tease Out Specific Technology Requirements

The most reliable way to arrive at the optimum choice of technology for your organization is to map out the top five to 10 uses cases. This is best done as a one- or two-day exercise, coordinated by marketing operations, with all the stakeholders in the room — which may include marketing, sales and IT. The process is as follows:

  1. Agree on a list of the top five to 10 use cases.
  2. Take each use case in turn, document the process before any new technology is applied.
  3. Document the expected use case process after some undefined technology is applied. That’s right, assume the best case and all vendors can solve the problem. What does the result look like?
  4. Document the time and resource savings, and the benefit achieved.
  5. Repeat steps two to four until all use cases are covered.

Next apply these use cases to your top two or three technologies that you have short-listed — perhaps because of price or reputation — and compare how well they can execute on your use cases. Usually this leads to a clear winner. This process is very good for demonstrating to management the logic behind choosing a particular vendor, without bias. It also sets you up for implementation because you can share the use cases with the vendor or implementation partners.


In modest sized firms, martech will be 22 percent of your marketing budget this year. If you get to add some new capabilities, don’t go after the new shiny object (AI, ABM, CDM) just because it is hip.

  1. Apply the three benefit criteria to all classes of technology and see which ones produce the greatest return.
  2. Develop use cases that document the before and after with the technology.
  3. Don’t underestimate training and implementation costs.

Next month, we will continue the Revenue Marketing journey conversation and focus on choosing the right metrics for the journey.