How organizations approach their MarTech differs among various organizations. The 16th annual 16th annual Marketing Performance Management (MPM) benchmark study found that the group known as the Value Creators (those that earn 90 or greater grade by the C-Suite) are far more likely to have a strategic Marketing Ops function. A number of characteristics distinguish this Best-in-Class (BIC) from their colleagues named the Sales Enablers and Campaign Producers (the group earning 80-89 and the group earning 79 or less named the Campaign Producers respectively). The Marketing Ops role is present in 82% of the Value Creators organizations compared to only 54% of Campaign Producers who have this role.

One of the primary responsibilities among Marketing Ops among Value Creators is Technology and Automation. In fact, it is the second primary responsibility after Marketing Performance Management of the Marketing Ops function for Value Creators.

Source: Cooking Up the Best Marketing Performance, The 2017 Marketing Performance Benchmark Study

In 2018, Scott Brinker of shared his Marketing Technology Landscape, which identified 6,829 solutions offered by 6,242 unique companies. Econsultancy found that that 51% of organizations use 21 or more MarTech solutions. MarTech still accounts for as much as 20% or more of the Marketing budget. As the MarTech landscape continues to expand, it will become increasingly important for Marketing organizations to be able to successfully implement and deploy the technology. And yet, a good portion of MarTech remains shelf ware.

In our work, we have found four major causes contributing to both low MPM scores and unsuccessful MarTech implementations:

  1. Automating outdated/flawed processes
  2. Clinging to metrics that don’t matter to the business
  3. Not aligned with the top line business goals
  4. Not adapting to changes rapidly enough

Our findings reflect the findings of other experts. Buyers often fall into the trap of thinking that software will solve their problems, when software is just one tool. Ignoring the necessary upfront work on processes, metrics, and change management will lead to MarTech failure and, ultimately, to low ROI.

The Proven Best Practices Behind the MarTech of the Best in Class

What can we learn from the BIC groups who are successfully implementing MarTech and earning the high marks from the C-Suite? Our conversations with these organizations reveals that in some way they all leverage three proven best practices.

Proven Practice 1: Define Your Processes

Marketing runs on processes: planning processes, reporting processes, customer journey mapping, content creation processes, opportunity management processes, etc. However, if your current processes are not effective or efficient, then automating them with a workflow application won’t improve anything. You’ll just get faster at following a bad process.

Make sure all of your processes are defined and documented before you implement, configure or deploy any technology. Before you implement a workflow application, map and process-engineer issues.

The same applies to Marketing planning and Marketing dashboard applications. It’s hard to create the right dashboard if you’re not reporting on the right metrics and measures. A Marketing plan that is accurately aligned with the business will achieve high marks from the C-Suite.

Proven Practice 2: Know the Problem You Are Trying to Solve

Often, it’s a lack of change management that robs you of ROI. People cling to the old methods when implementing a new system, and then when those methods continue to fail, they blame the new system.

Be clear about the problem you are trying to solve, solve it, and then automate it. The old adage applies: “What you put in is what you get out.” Your Marketing plan should be outcome-based and customer-centric before you try to upload it into the application. The same applies to alignment, accountability, and analytics initiatives.

Proven Practice 3: Support the Change

It is imperative to allocate sufficient resources for the change management issues related to new processes, metrics, alignment and accountability. Otherwise, you’ll remain as ineffective and inefficient as before.

Most companies we talk with don’t have the bandwidth or the expertise to commit internal resources to the implementation of new technology. Expertise reduces the time any task takes, and time is a component of ROI, so they engage external resources to help. Regardless of the provider type you choose (a MarTech vendor’s consulting/customer success group, a MarTech vendor partner or an independent Marketing firm), they should have plenty of years of experience re-engineering the relevant Marketing processes, creating metrics that matter, assembling actionable dashboards, guiding change management, etc. They should also have proven methodologies, tools and templates to speed the accomplishment of your goals, and of course, they should have solid, world-class customer references.