Strategies, not tools, should be the foundation of your MarTech stack

As a marketing technologist, how many times have you had someone at your company send you an email like this:

“Have you ever heard of MarTech Vendor X? I just saw a quick demo and am really impressed. They’re going to do a larger demo for us next week!”

If you’re like most marketing technologists, these emails set off tiny alarms in your head. You’ve been through this drill dozens of times before. Nobody in the marketing department had ever mentioned that they need to send personalized video email greetings at scale, or perform advanced sentiment analysis on social media campaigns, or build an AI-driven customer service chatbot. But now a skilled salesman at one of the nearly 7,000 MarTech vendors has gotten someone in your marketing department on the hook. And now those video email greetings, or social sentiment analysis, or chatbot is exactly what marketing needs right now.

The best way to avoid these situations is to ensure that your MarTech stack is built around your company’s marketing strategies.  If you start by defining your strategies first, it is much easier to drill down and figure out what marketing technologies you need to enable those strategies.

Another bonus to building your stack by defining your strategies first is that it provides a clear-cut framework from which to assess new technologies. In other words, it gives you a good way to respond to that email.

For example, let’s say your company had already defined this as one of your marketing strategies:

“Differentiate ourselves by adding a ‘personal touch’ to interactions with our clients and prospects”

You now have the first stage gate by which to evaluate the potential technologies people try to get through the door. If we continue with the three examples listed above….

  • The AI driven chatbot is the antithesis of this personal touch strategy. It is not moving forward in the evaluation process.
  • The social media sentiment analysis tool could potentially align with this strategy if it also included a way to send individual messages to your social media followers, but it’s a stretch. 
  • The personalized video email greetings does seem to align with the personal touch strategy.

Your response to the sentiment analysis and chatbot emails are easy: “Marketing Vendor X looks like a great tool, but it doesn’t support our strategy of ‘Differentiating ourselves by adding a personal touch to interactions with clients and prospects’. Since that strategy is our focus, we’ll have to put this tool on the backburner and re-evaluate it when our strategies are updated.”

The response to the personalized email greetings tool is a bit more complicated. Sure, it appears to align with your marketing strategy. But that doesn’t mean you should buy it. That just means it has cleared the first hurdle in the evaluation process.

We’ll be writing more posts on what happens next in the evaluation process. Like how to look at look at what capabilities the vendor offers, how those compare to other tools you may already have or are already evaluating, what skill sets and internal resources the tool requires, and much more.

Thanks for reading!

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