Consumers are spending more time online than ever before. Recent data found that 2020 saw an 18% increase in ecommerce sales, which means that brands will have to put even more emphasis on their digital sales and marketing capabilities. It is critical to engage buyers in the right moment with a relevant offer or message. To do so, organizations look to marketing technology (martech) to increase their capabilities and win out during this competitive time in business.
However, simply adding more tools from a current vendor or adopting the latest tech on the market — like tools that leverage AI — won’t cut it. The only way to reap all the benefits of a comprehensive martech stack is to clearly identify your business objectives upfront and figure out the right set of technology tools to help accomplish those goals.
Building a technology roadmap creates a framework for business owners from each organization to outline and understand the tools they have in place, ensures those tools support their business goals, and forms a plan to implement and learn.
A roadmap also ensures key groups within the company agree on owners, timelines, and outcomes. Documenting also prevents martech ‘creep’. So what are the pieces that make up an in-depth martech roadmap and how can an organization effectively manage and build one?
One of the biggest benefits an efficient, results-driven martech stack offers organizations is the opportunity to better understand its customers through data. If you fully integrate your martech stack, you can also truly provide an exceptional customer experience.
This is where the martech roadmap comes in. One of the first things marketers should do when developing their roadmap is determine a data strategy. Doing this is crucial to not only being data-ready, but to being data powerful.
By identifying where your data is currently coming from, what data touchpoints are missing, how that data will be used, and so on, you will have a better sense of how you can use that data to enhance customer engagement.
A martech roadmap can help brands unify a martech stack so that each tool works together. One tool that helps marketers achieve this stack integration is a customer data platform (CDP).
CDPs collect and unify data from multiple channels and sources, such as your mobile app, ecommerce website and call center, allowing you to create a single view of the customer. By integrating a CDP within a martech stack, you can get a better idea of what the customer expects from your brand.
However, in order for a CDP to work effectively, it must have access to data collected by other technologies within your stack such as CRMs, social media monitoring and email marketing tools. This can be extremely difficult if there is no roadmap in place for integration and data management.
Once an organization has identified its data strategy, it must determine if it has the correct tools in place to fuel it.
Recently, Gartner revealed more organizations have adopted a best-of-breed approach when building out their martech stack instead of using an all-in-one solution. This is a big shift from the single integrated suite – a long-established standard within the marketing space.
A best-of-breed approach allows marketers to tailor their martech stack to their specific needs. With this approach in mind, a martech roadmap is pivotal to identify pain points within you marketing strategy and assess which tools are needed to best solve shortcomings.
For example, when evaluating the results of your marketing strategy, you may find that your existing email marketing software, which was sourced through the same vendor as another tool in your stack, isn’t as capable as you hoped.
Your roadmap can determine the purpose of that tool, why it’s not meeting that purpose and what the next tool your team explores must deliver to fulfill that purpose. And the best-of-breed approach provides your team with the flexibility to explore the best tools to meet that need without limitation.
Putting together a martech roadmap means reassessing each tool within your entire martech stack to identify your return on investment and provide a real-time view into how your martech stack is operating.
Recent data shows that there are over 8,000 martech tools currently available. This can make it hard for marketers to get a handle on what marketing tools they need and which ones are unnecessary.
With this influx of new technology, it’s no wonder many organizations are constantly adding and removing applications within their martech stack. This is not only a tedious process, but can also cost organizations hundreds of thousands of dollars.
A martech roadmap can return that money and time as it looks past the newest innovations, and instead focuses on the specific business goals set by an organization.
Since a roadmap helps you understand the value each marketing tool brings, you are less likely to jump to the next new technology that hits the market. Constantly switching products not only disrupts internal processes, but it may also lead to some frustration amongst those using the tools on a daily basis.
A marketing stack needs to serve the requirements of both your customers and employees. It’s no secret that a martech stack is an essential component of any successful organization – it can make or break whether organizations succeed in this ever-evolving digital world.
However, no martech stack will reach its full potential unless there is a specific roadmap in place that helps organizations navigate and maximize the resources they are investing in.
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