We’ve all been there. The moment you think you’ve mastered marketing technology and you’ve got your stack all figured out, there’s a strategic shift, or a new platform or product disrupting the industry.

The proliferation of different marketing technologies can be maddening. The number of niche use cases that are evolving within the MarTech community seem to be endless.

But as your Strategy evolves to focus on the customer you have to ask if you have the Systems in place to meet the customers’ needs and expectations. I talk to a lot of CMOs who:

  • Can’t find the right combination of technologies to put their strategy into action
  • Are unsure if they have the skill sets needed to execute—especially when it comes to new technology
  • Jump to implement new strategies that quickly get clogged up in outdated operations
  • Don’t feel they have a strong grasp of how to meet their customers’ expectations

Any of those sound familiar? You’re not alone.

A 2017 report from Gartner confirms that CMOs are putting customers at the core of their marketing strategies—glad to know my writing efforts aren’t in vain. Unfortunately, these customer-focused strategies are coming at a cost to operational excellence and the bottom line.

If CMOs fail to recognize the impact their strategy has on operations, unsurprisingly, the customer experience will end up suffering. You can’t just come up with a master plan. You have to have the people, processes, and platforms in place to execute.

According to the survey, only 51% of CMOs believe they are somewhat or very effective at acquiring and using MarTech. At a time when 30% of CMOs are looking to take strategy and implementation in-house, you can’t help but be concerned that almost half of CMOs don’t feel confident in a major portion of their Systems.

Enter MaaS.

Marketing as a Service—or MaaS—has emerged as a concept that can fill these gaps for businesses looking for assistance in developing and executing marketing strategies and campaigns. Think of MaaS as an extension of your in-house marketing teams where they need it most.

MaaS vendors can help plan and manage asset creation activities (landing pages, campaigns, lead nurturing, etc.) while offering dedicated expertise and informed strategies for the latest, most innovative marketing programs and platforms.

Where does this leave CMOs and their marketing teams?

While CMOs may be experts in their brand story—why they do what they do—they often need MaaS firms to help pull the right Strategies and Systems into place. As the changing market rapidly evolves, and customer demands change along with it, marketing teams must embrace a lean, agile and scalable approach to marketing operations.

Not all MaaS firms are created equal. MaaS is not the same as hiring an agency. Choosing the right MaaS solution for your business is key to stretching your marketing dollar and the success of your marketing operations. MaaS solutions have the potential to be a game-changer for your organization, but the right fit makes all the difference. Here are some key questions to consider as a CMO when selecting a MaaS firm.

7 Critical Questions When Engaging a Marketing-as-a-Service Firm

  1. What talent and skill sets do you already have in place?
  2. What current processes will the MaaS firm need to work with? What processes will the MaaS Firm be expected to introduce?
  3. What is the firm’s history with implementing new initiatives?
  4. Does the MaaS firm have expertise in the required technologies?
  5. What data will the firm need to access within your organization?
  6. What is the firm’s track record of success using different Martech platforms? How do they measure success?
  7. Does the firm have a plan to transfer knowledge and expertise to your team or are you signing up for a permanently outsourced relationship?

Your MaaS provider should understand your company holistically. To be truly effective as a MaaS provider, they need to know your brand Story, your overall Strategy, and have a full view of your Systems. This is what makes for a true MaaS provider and not just another agency. In order for a MaaS provider to be successful, they have to think transformationally.

A MaaS provider should be part of your team, and when deployed in the right ways, your combined efforts can lead to success and growth for your organization.

Transformational marketing requires marketers to shift their thinking and transform the way marketing performs and generates results for an organization. Many marketing leaders are confident they have strengths in certain areas. However, transformational leaders recognize the requirement for new, holistic, and objective perspectives to complement their strengths.