Marketers these days are often being asked to simplify things into numbers, so here’s one for you: 6,829.
Before you think I’ve just decided to broadcast my credit card pin, this number comes from Scott Brinker’s MarTech 5,000 graphic. For those unfamiliar with it, the image visualises the current marketing technology landscape, illustrating the different technology platforms in every discipline.
This year, rather than 5,000 platforms, there are actually 6,829. Despite – or perhaps due to – the continuing explosion in marketing technology, decision-makers are reluctant to sign-off on the up-front investment costs associated with these new tools, even though they’ll improve their marketing activity in the long run.
Let me be blunt about this paralysis: Failure to invest in the best marketing technology available is costing your business money, rather than saving it money. If you’re not researching and investing in martech, your competitors will be. And they will be reaping the benefits from it.
Technology helps marketing evolve
As an example of the pace of change, I look to monitoring in the PR and earned media sphere. Some 15 years ago, media monitoring providers were still using knives and glue to manually cut out, paste and courier clips to clients. Now, marketers receive real-time digital notifications from a diverse range of titles; from niche websites and blogs, to local broadcasts and traditional broadsheet print publications.
In 15 years, knives and glue have been transformed into AI (artificial intelligence) and machine learning. While this is an extreme example from the PR and earned media world, there are similar examples which span the marketing spectrum, illustrating how technology has evolved to keep pace with the changing marketing landscape.
That 6,829 martech point solutions exist, demonstrates the ever-widening role of paid, owned and earned media activity. However, even the most diligent CMO is not going to wade through all of these services.
That is why companies like Cision, Oracle and Adobe are all investing in cloud software suites to help provide clarity and ease to marketers. Rather than having to research, negotiate and purchase contracts with individual point solutions, integrated suites allow decision-makers to pool their energy and resources into one platform, in the same way that smart phones combine everything you think you need to navigate life (including being able to make a call) onto one piece of technology.
What technology can do for you
So what benefits do you actually gain from investing in marketing technology? I don’t need 6,829 different reasons or explanations for this as there is one big overarching reason: ROI.
As a marketing team you are going to have to demonstrate return on investment in all of the work that you do, so you might as well invest in the solutions which will have a tangible effect on both improving ROI and in helping you to measure it.
We’ve seen this in our own work. Rather than relying on old vanity metrics, clients are now aligning their marketing activity to organisational objectives which demonstrates their worth, not only internally but also to the wider world – and in some cases, marketing technology has been used to change lives.
Slimming World took advantage of Cision’s services to integrate a variety of measurement and research techniques to evaluate the efficacy of their Dream Weight campaign.
By measuring changes in brand recognition and reputation, tracking website visits and sign-ups, and linking this to media analysis that outlined reach, tone and quality, Slimming World could understand how campaign messaging was resonating, who they were influencing and the direct impact of their communications.
There is also the more traditional effect on brand value; Gumtree was able to benchmark public sentiment towards its brand and identify the areas it needed to target. It then used a combination of influencer database, media monitoring and analytics tools to take action on these steps, increasing brand awareness, consumer trust and web traffic.
So not only has technology helped both Slimming World and Gumtree achieve organisational objectives, they are also able to demonstratehow it helped, which is almost as important in the new data-driven marketing reality.
Taking the technological leap
It’s a fact that when sales targets aren’t met and budgets have to be reduced, historically, it’s the marketing activity, and often the PR aspect of this that are first in line to be cut. But, investing in new technology will change this.
The incredible depth and speed of new marketing technology means that you can highlight the demonstrable impact of your work even while a campaign is underway. The best martech also allows you to optimise your strategy on-the-fly to maximise what is going well.
Such is the importance of proving ROI in today’s marketing world – with budgets set accordingly – being able to leverage technology to power and demonstrate the fruits of your labour across paid, owned and earned is critical to a marketer’s role.
Finally, perhaps the biggest game-changer brought about by martech is that it allows the people in your marketing team – your biggest investment – to focus on work which is most valuable to you and your organisation.
Remember, for every moment your team is wasting working on a task which could have been handled by technology, your competitor’s team is producing innovative work to further their company’s objectives.
New marketing technology really does help you to work smarter, not harder.