How to maximize returns on your martech investments

“Recovering a modicum of equilibrium across consumer behaviors and technology innovation will require organizational alacrity, a laser focus on customer needs and a balanced embrace of automation.”—Charles Golvin, Senior Director Analyst, Gartner for Marketers

Achieving the vision that Golvin summarized largely comes down to your ability to generate returns on martech investments. With martech investments accounting for 29% of total marketing expenses, it’s clear that CMOs are constantly in search of ways to leverage technology to improve business results.

The real challenge is demonstrating that value to business stakeholders and continually increasing the impact of your investments in digital technologies.

You feel ongoing pressure to justify and quantify the impact of your many martech investments. But when you’re dealing with disruptions and fire drills as you support new tools and processes, alleviating that pressure can be easier said than done—especially when you feel a lack of control on projects controlled by IT, integrators and software vendors.

If you’re like 52% of marketers in the Ascend2 Marketing Technology Trends November 2018 survey, effectively integrating martech investments is your biggest obstacle to success. But with the right framework, it doesn’t have to be.

Why is it so hard to leverage martech investments?

The value proposition for martech investments is simple—you implement these solutions to enable a technology-powered organization that can operate across a wide variety of marketing channels.

However, as with any software, there are challenges related to implementation, including:

  • Deciding how much of the technology to implement and customize at a given point in time
  • Defining the new workflows effectively
  • Making sure people have a strong understanding of how to use the new tools
  • Determining whether or not you have the right people in place to generate returns

But when you’re talking specifically about marketing clouds, there are additional challenges that can keep you from achieving necessary returns.

Some of the most common challenges include:

  • Making use of the right features and approaches: In an effort to align IT, marketing and creative, most organizations end up drowning in tech features and tools without knowing how to leverage them. The goal should be to implement only those features and functions that are necessary to accomplish your marketing objectives, freeing the organization to optimize martech investments and implementations.
  • Lacking the appropriate integrations: You can’t expect software to make your marketing more agile and accurate without a bit of customization. Vendors are selling solutions that are often incomplete, leaving you with insufficient integrations when trying to build workflows that align data, analytics and the pieces of software that drive marketing campaigns.
  • Failing to focus on new processes and requirements: Companies are realizing that their marketing teams are constantly scrambling to make technology align to market requirements. The root of the problem is a need to go back to basics. Defining the highest priority processes and requirements is an essential first step in maximizing martech investments. Instead of starting with “what do we need to do to win?” marketing teams should start with “what can the software do?”

With 24% of marketers believing martech strategy is a top weakness in their ability to drive business success, it’s clear that a new framework is necessary.

Overcoming challenges of martech integration

Reflecting on all of the challenges of demonstrating marketing impact and ROI, becoming more agile and achieving the promises of martech investments is easy.

Coming up with a plan for transforming your marketing organization and overcoming these challenges is much harder. It requires a blueprint for success that guides you through the process of generating returns for martech investments.

Our own Value Realization Framework (VRF) establishes a blueprint that defines concrete steps for success by providing needed actions, measures and expected outcomes at each stage of your marketing transformation.

The blueprint shows an objective baseline across technology, people and process that identifies gaps and maps needed changes against the unique business and market challenges that you face.

Instead of blindly implementing martech investments and expecting results, VRF outlines quick wins and near-term actions to build internal momentum, increase commitment and deliver interim reports on progress and impact.

You can apply the VRF approach to any marketing challenge—from specific areas like marketing orchestration to transformation at the departmental level. The methodology is specifically designed to optimize process workflows, speed to market and governance across creative, marketing and IT departments.

Wondering if the VRF approach is right for you? You’ll benefit from the blueprint if you’re experiencing issues like:

  • Inability to execute or adopt personalization
  • Poor customer experiences
  • Low returns on software investments
  • Poor relationships between marketing, IT and external partners

Learn more about our Value Realization Framework and decide if your team can benefit from a guide to transformation.