Like so many people, I am greeted each day by hundreds of emails. Many are from well intentioned companies that would like to help me solve problems, innovate processes and make more money. In other words, to help me be more successful.
As a generally optimistic person who is always hopeful that the newest, greatest thing that will take us to the next level is just a click away, I open and read. From time to time, something sounds so good that I will click through to a website to get more information. After all, M/C/C is in the marketing communications business, and we want to use the best tools available to help our clients be successful.
The market for high-tech marketing tools is exploding, going from about 150 players in 2011 to more than 3,500 in 2017. Marketing technology seemed like a single category in the early days, but that is no longer the case. It has become a broad category with six vertical applications areas – advertising, social, content, commerce, data and management.
The great news is that the tools available to build, execute and measure marketing programs are in great supply. There are so many options that do so many things.
The bad news is that there are so many options that do so many things, and it is easy to get lured into solution after solution, platform after platform, system after system that fall short of delivering just what you want and need.
There is no doubt that we live in a performance-centered marketing age as Shannon Sullivan described in this post, and all of these marketing technology tools make that possible. Also, there is no doubt that it is fun and rewarding to deliver marketing performance. But there are two sides to the coin, and the pursuit of the newest, latest, greatest marketing technology and tool oftentimes gets in the way of producing and executing great strategy.
Sometimes, the tools become the center of attention, expectation and investment. When they do, you need to know four things:
- Make sure you know exactly how marketing technology tools will contribute to your business.
- Set priorities. Know how much you can take on and go no further, or you will be drowning in technology tools that don’t quite deliver or just don’t work at all.
- Be patient. Getting value and return on investment will take at least twice as long as you think it will.
- Remember that no matter how great the marketing technology, it is worthless in the absence of good strategy, positioning, messaging and a product or service that fills a void in the market.
Finally, because the number of options will probably continue to grow before the best marketing technology tools float to the top, tap into a partner that can help you evaluate and choose the best solutions.