How to choose the best martech solution for your business: A guide

Jason Lark is co-founder and managing director at Celerity. Jason focuses on Celerity’s strategic and operational performance, and supports clients in achieving their goals.

The martech buying process is often a long and complex one, especially for enterprises with large deployment needs. It’s not a decision taken lightly – and key decision makers will go through huge amounts of research, sit through numerous demos, and run various test drives before making the best possible choice.

This article talks about the factors that business need to consider when choosing between different martech solutions and their proposed benefits. To help you make the best choice for your business, here are four areas to consider carefully.

Best-in-breed or single vendor approach

Best-in-breed solutions are known as the ‘plug and play’ option that can be implemented as and when needed. They can help marketers focus on certain aspects of their campaigns, such as improving email personalisation. By employing the best-in-breed vendor for this specialist requirement, marketers will likely find they can achieve better results. However, getting the most out of a best-in-breed solution will involve numerous people and processes – and all will need overseeing to ensure results. Furthermore, if you choose individual vendors for individual needs, you might find that they don’t integrate seamlessly, which could cause unforeseen complications.

With a single vendor there is, as the name suggests, only one vendor relationship to manage. A single vendor approach means that they’ll develop an in-depth understanding of your business and marketing needs. If any problems arise with the platform, all you have to do is call one vendor for support – rather than try to work out which of your many vendors you need to call if something goes wrong. Of course, marketers need to bear in mind that implementing a single vendor puts all your eggs in one basket and can be more expensive. If you work with a single vendor for all your marketing needs, that vendor has no competitors and therefore is not incentivised to lower prices. 

The cost of licensing and implementation

Regardless of whether you choose a single vendor or best-in-breed approach, martech solutions come at a price. Working with a defined budget will help guide your shortlist and focus your options, helping you make a decision fast.

You need to consider licensing costs as well as all the costs associated with implementation, including training. It’s no good signing up to an expensive solution if your team is unable to use it. What’s more, some vendors offer a myriad of features without explicitly stating which are included and which are value-adds. You don’t want to find yourself mid-implementation only to realise that the solution you have signed up to will cost more than your approved budget. 

Availability of support services and training

Martech solutions don’t run themselves. They may promise to revolutionise a business’ marketing efforts, but achieving that is not as simple as hitting a button. Not all businesses have the specialist skills they need in-house, which makes their choice of vendor even more important. Without the right support, marketers simply won’t get the return on investment they’re aiming for.

The implementation of any new technology involves training to bring marketing teams up-to-speed on how it works. When evaluating various solutions, pay close attention to each vendor’s assurance of support and your assigned team’s level of technical expertise. Ultimately, the promised user experience needs to meet your expectations and objectives as seamlessly and efficiently as possible.

During this transition period, you will also need the vendor’s support and services daily to assist with data migration. You want the process to be as seamless as possible; any disruption to business operations is costly and time-consuming. This can be avoided with the right skills and support on hand. Working with a product partner agency on implementation, configuration and ongoing support is usually a reliable option, since the agency can work more closely to address your brand’s specific needs than a vendor can.

Size, scale and specialist requirements

If feeling rushed to decide, a marketing team could choose a solution that meets its general needs – but fails to deliver on its specialist requirements. This is a costly oversight as the entire procurement process will need to be redone a few months down the line. Therefore, it’s important to define essential and non-negotiable criteria before assessing your martech vendors.

To do that, ask the following questions:

  • What are the gaps in the current system that need closing?
  • What features must the new solution have in order to fill those gaps?
  • What features will be necessary in the future?

The last question around future growth is key. As your business scales, you need a martech vendor that has the capacity to scale with you. Can a solution that suits your needs today have what you need in five years’ time? If the answer is yes, put that vendor on the shortlist.

In a world overrun by choice, making even the simplest business decisions can be a complex process. When it comes to choosing new marketing technologies, it pays to dig deeper than glib promises and fancy features. Run your potential martech vendors through a rigorous pitch process and find the one that is best suited to your business needs.

Interested in hearing leading global brands discuss subjects like this in person?

Find out more about Digital Marketing World Forum (#DMWF) Europe, London, North America, and Singapore.  

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