How can one determine which marketing technology tools will yield the greatest return on investment?

Today, technological advancements are forcing organisations to rethink their business models, organisation structure, processes, and the marketing function itself. Undoubtedly, marketers must rewire themselves for a new way of thinking.

Headwinds over the last year have ensured that the next battleground is about customer-first, data-driven brand and experience management. One of the key enablers of this approach will be Marketing Technology.

Global technology companies have been at the forefront of driving innovation and upping the game in the context of enabling omni-channel, hyper personalized, hyper localised, real-time customer connect. All this to drive sales and customer experience. The challenge is vast. Today’s Marketer is under tremendous pressure to demonstrate a great understanding of the customer and deliver Marketing ROI. Getting the MarTech stack right is strategic to business success. With a plethora of tools available, how does one embark on this journey or course correct or stay ahead of the curve? There are no easy answers. Some of the key organizational MarTech impediments that we discovered are below –

MarTech projects are difficult to execute, they require absolute clarity in what is being attempted to accomplish, need CXO commitment and a collaborative mindset to succeed. It is also about building an organisational culture of experimentation and agile processes.

There can be a method and process that can be followed to ensure ROI-driven MarTech planning. I have tried to articulate it below in phases with definite action points. It can be used as a MarTech Evaluation Framework to help organisations make informed MarTech choices:

    • Understand the current organisational maturity level
    • Connect with multiple business processes
    • Identify needs and gaps in the Customer journey
    • Discuss with current users of the tools and platforms
    • Understand all data sources
    • Define and align your MarTech objectives
    • Revisit existing stack
    • Design a model that is unique to your business needs
    • Ensure that all solutions can be integrated
    • Automate as many processes as you can
    • Leave room for plug and play
    • Let technology be the enabler not a constraint
    • Simplify and Demystify
    • Get a buy-in from all leaders and CEO
      • Talk to Integrated and multiple stack providers
      • Discuss with service providers
      • Take opinion of users of existing stacks outside of your organisation
      • Evaluate possible platforms and solutions
      • Compare your ideal model to the existing one
        • Develop the solutions and the alternative solutions
        • Explore all tech stacks- Integrated or Point based solutions
        • Iterate and conduct multiple experiments. Do POCs
        • Test the robustness of system
        • Ensure the system’s ability to integrate new development, tools, and APLs.
        • Have an alternate back-up plan
        • Develop skills within the organisation -Technology Data, Analytical & Experiential
          • Deploy the platform in a phased manner
          • Develop a strong governance and data privacy processes
          • Have KPIs for each process
          • Monitor and measure everything
          • Create a project and rollout plan
          • Prepare a 3-year roadmap
          • Plan how would you increase tool adoption
          • Train employees and partners
  5. DRIVE
            • Nominate a MarTech leader
            • Re-evaluate regularly
            • Keep innovating and drive agile processes

No one size fits all. The means and tools will be different, but the end objective is the same – Driving business value through customer centricity. There is a need to balance customer-centric ideas and technology-centric solutions. Self-service, personalisation, contextual content, real-time communication, geo-targeting are all customer-centric ideas. Integrated platforms, centralised systems, automation, economies of scale, ease of operations and reporting are all technology-centric ideas. The truth lies in imaginatively integrating customer-centric approaches and technology-centric platforms to help arrive at an ideal mix of tools that will deliver the greatest return on investment.


Authored by:

Neeraj Pratap Sangani, CEO, Hansa Cequity

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Economic Times – ET Edge Insights, its management, or its members

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