As noted by Scott Brinker in his blog in June 2016, there are approximately 5,700 marketing technology solutions on the market; just five years prior, there were only about 100. While having all these options are great, it can also be overwhelming. More and more, marketers are slowed down by indecision and paralysis.

Marketing is increasingly expected to contribute to revenue. Marketing quotas are set at the various stages of the marketing/sales pipeline and include marketing qualified leads, sales accepted leads and sales qualified leads. In addition to reporting on these metrics, marketing must be able to measure their tactical efforts such as campaign performance and lead sourcing. Marketing may also be expected to execute campaigns rapidly to support business operations. These responsibilities place even more pressure on ensuring that the right technologies are selected and properly implemented, and that the right people and processes have been deployed to optimize these investments.

What are your marketing objectives and existing infrastructure?

Before determining in which new technologies to invest for your Revenue Marketing Stack, you need to ensure your marketing objectives are defined and aligned with your organizational goals. It’s not uncommon for marketing to establish some or all technology requirements based on resolving pain points in executing marketing campaigns. These may or may not necessarily align with marketing’s business goals, and this bottoms-up approach can lead to poor or irrelevant technology selections that result in a sub-optimal stack.

You also need to understand your current infrastructure; after all, you can’t manage what you don’t know. This isn’t limited to just making a list of your existing technologies. It is critically important to also identify the people and their skills in using these technologies, as well as the business and data processes that govern their use. Who runs the technologies and do they have proper training? Are the right processes in place to leverage the technologies? Are the technologies effectively integrated to optimize data quality and management?

How well is your existing infrastructure helping you meet your marketing objectives?

Your infrastructure (people, process and technology) needs to be evaluated holistically in terms of how well these elements, working together, support your marketing objectives. From this assessment, you can identify and prioritize the gaps that must be addressed to align your investments with reaching your goals. Are you having data quality/data management issues that are impacting the success of your marketing campaigns? Are your marketing and sales processes cumbersome and inefficient? Are your prospects having poor user experience as you engage them?

It could very well be that your choices in technologies have been sound, but their implementations have missed their mark or they are encumbered by existing business requirements or lack thereof. In many cases, companies are sitting on a pile of software that is not properly integrated or close to being optimized. From a process perspective, perhaps your lead management workflow needs to be streamlined or re-engineered to fully utilize existing technologies. Maybe your staff needs additional training or you need more headcount. Such shortcomings won’t be solved by new technologies. To be effective, you need to identity all the key factors and prepare for changes in these areas rather than expecting technology to solve your existing problems.

What are the constraints to achieving your desired Revenue Marketing Stack?

In planning your Revenue Marketing Stack, note that reaching its ideal state is constrained by budget, time, skill and knowledge. In many cases, the desired infrastructure will likely not be attained within the current, or even the follow-on, fiscal period. Therefore, careful consideration in priorities is required as you define the roadmap toward your final configuration. In addition, this roadmap and final state must be reviewed regularly to account for disruptive technologies and/or methodologies that could not only affect your marketing objectives and priorities, but also how you achieve them. Internal shifts such as executive changes, company reorganizations, IT restructuring and product line changes can also impact your plans.

Other significant constraints for getting optimal performance from your Revenue Marketing Stack are company culture and legacy systems. What are the propensity and readiness for changes to people, processes and technologies at your organization? Inertia can be difficult to overcome, especially where agility is secondary to stability. Your plans and priorities may need to accommodate these factors, which may result in how changes to people, processes and technologies are designed and implemented.

Look to the experts to help you accelerate

Many marketers are not comfortable assessing and defining business processes, technology capabilities or other areas in planning their Revenue Marketing Stack. There may also be a need to overcome internal bias where a neutral perspective is difficult to achieve. If you are challenged, it may be beneficial to engage a partner to assist and guide you in this process.

The Pedowitz Group (TPG) has worked with various clients across industries to help them understand and assess their marketing infrastructure in its alignment with their objectives. We have also provided guidance on how integrations between disparate technologies may be undertaken. In addition, we have assisted in the development of an architectural design and technology implementation for the marketing organization and even conducted the implementation itself.

Stay tuned for more

Planning your Revenue Marketing Stack is not just about selecting the right technologies. It is also about understanding your marketing objectives in meeting business goals and knowing what you have and what you need (in terms of people, processes and technologies) to meet those objectives. With this knowledge and consideration to the various constraints that may not be within your control, you will be able to effectively design your infrastructure.