By now you’ve probably seen the supergraphic charting the ever-expanding landscape of marketing technology. It’s due for a 2017 update anytime now, but the 2016 version featured literally thousands of pieces of software created to solve the problems that marketers face each day.
Grab your magnifying glass. Here it is:
That’s an overwhelming amount of information to read, much less evaluate.
How can marketing teams choose which areas of this landscape to focus on?
After all, we don’t just need more software.
We need tools that actually make an impact on our daily work, improve our contributions to business goals, and free us from repetitive tasks so we can focus on doing truly outstanding work.
If you’re looking for a place to start, try these ten martech solutions for the quickest, most visible results in your marketing department.
This is a rapidly growing segment of martech, primarily because of increasing adoption and the massive gains that these tools can offer. From email nurture campaigns to accurately tracking lead sources, few martech solutions will give you as much bang for your buck as marketing automation:
- 91% of users believe that marketing automation is “very important” to the overall success of their marketing across channels. –Marketo
- Businesses that use marketing automation to nurture prospects experience as much as a 451% increase in qualified leads. –The Annuitas Group
- Marketing automation drives a 14.5% increase in sales productivity and a 12.2% reduction in marketing overhead. –Nucleus Research
- 77% of CMOs at top performing companies indicate their most compelling reason for implementing marketing automation is to drive up revenue. –Gleanster
About half of all marketing departments have some form of automation in place, but if you’re in the half that hasn’t made the jump, it can be a game changer.
Some automation options to consider: Marketo, HubSpot, Pardot.
In a world of increasingly jaded consumers, collaborating with trusted personalities to spread the word about your brand is becoming a non-negotiable part of marketing. Known as influencers, these high-profile individuals can give you an instant boost of credibility and a brand new audience.
Not convinced that influencer marketing could be impactful for you?
- 49% of people say they rely on recommendations from influencers when making purchase decisions. - Twitter and Annalect
- Influencer marketing content delivers 11x higher ROI than traditional forms of digital marketing. - TapInfluence and Nielsen
- Businesses are making $6.50 for every $1 spent on influencer marketing. - Tomoson
This is clearly an important marketing tactic, but it’s also among the most time consuming if done manually. The right martech can save your sanity by providing contact information, audience size, and collaboration history for key influencers in your space.
Like all good software solutions, influencer marketing technology automates the time-consuming stuff so you can spend your time and mental energy on cultivating authentic relationships.
Some options to consider: TapInfluence, BuzzSumo, Klout.
Project Management & Workflow Optimization
Regardless of the kind of work you’re doing in your marketing department, having a single point of truth for how marketing work is proceeding is crucial.
Who’s working on what? What’s the status? Will we make our deadlines? These and other questions plague status meetings across all kinds of marketing teams.
Marketing work is varied and complex, which means we need flexible tools that we can adapt to meet our specific requirements. Without this technology to back us up, the risks are serious:
- For every $1 billion invested in the United States, $122 million was wasted due to lacking project performance. - PMI.org
- Fewer than a third of all projects were successfully completed on time and on budget over the past year. - Standish Group
- High-performing organizations successfully complete 89% of their projects, while low performers complete only 36%. - PMI.org
Don’t be a cautionary statistic. Improve your process, map your workflow, and watch your team’s effectiveness rise.
Project management options for marketing: We may be a little biased here on the Workfront Talking Work blog, but we think you should consider Workfront for all your project management needs.
Personalize the Customer Journey
Gone are the days when personalization involved nothing more than throwing your contact’s first name into an email. Modern consumers want personalized experiences across devices and channels, and software is the only way to make it happen.
If you’re still stuck in the Hi, [First name] stage of marketing personalization, picking the right martech tool could help you out a lot:
- Personalized emails deliver 6x higher transaction rates, but 70% of brands fail to use them. - Marketing Land
- Nearly three-fourths (74%) of online consumers get frustrated with websites when content (e.g., offers, ads, promotions) appears that has nothing to do with their interests. - HubSpot
- In-house marketers who are personalizing their web experiences and who are able to quantify the improvement see, on average, a 19% uplift in sales. - HubSpot
Nobody likes untargeted ads, content, or emails. Personalization software lets you show only useful ads, emails, and content to customers and prospects.
Well-known personalization options include: Evergage, Demandbase, and Emma.
Understand Your Buyers
Of course, before you can provide personalized, relevant experiences you need to know more about your potential (and existing) customers. The challenge here is to gather information without being creepy.
Consumers expect personalization, but they also value their privacy.
Careful execution of data collection with sophisticated software is pretty much the only way to walk this fine line.
Some options to consider: Dun & Bradstreet, Experian.
Scale and Reuse Content Efficiently
The amount of content that marketers are producing continues to rise, while audience engagement with each individual piece simultaneously falls. It’s a tough spot to be in, and one that demands more strategic reuse and scaling of our content marketing efforts.
One of the most effective first steps for content teams is to adopt an intelligent content approach, including using a tagging system so you can find your content and reuse it later. No more recreating existing content because it’s lost in someone’s folder system.
If you’re producing content at any kind of volume, tools make this process much easier, including CMS/DAM/CRM integrations and content audit helpers.
Some options for a more intelligent approach to content: Kapost, Content Insight, Uberflip.
Consistency and Conversations on Social Media
It’s never been more important to maintain a consistent tone and message across social media channels, and to communicate on a regular schedule. Social media plays a huge part in the daily lives of your audience, and you need to be part of that conversation.
Yet marketers continue to struggle with effectively proving the ROI of their time on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, etc.
This one-two punch makes effective social media management one of the most challenging aspects of modern digital marketing, which means it’s a prime candidate for a martech upgrade.
Some tried-and true-social media options: Buffer, Social Bro, Sprout Social, Smarp.
Sales and Marketing Alignment
Organizations with best-in-class alignment between marketing and sales experience 20% growth in annual revenue, while laggard organizations report a 4% decline.
Clearly, improving the relationship between these historically conflicting teams can make a major impact.
Bury the hatchet and get these two opposing sides on the same page with some good tech they can both enjoy.
Some options for better alignment: MarketBridge, Oracle, Silverpop.
Data Big and Small
It probably goes without saying in our data-driven world, but all of your efforts need to be based on data. Objective conclusions founded on reliable information require standardized points of data collection to maintain sanity, and tools to visualize what it all means.
- 64% of marketing executives “strongly agree” that data-driven marketing is crucial to success in a hypercompetitive global economy. - Forbes
- Only 19% of marketers track all of their marketing efforts in order to drive improvement via reporting. Best-in-class marketers are 56% more likely to use data and analytics platforms. - Aberdeen
- Marketing data and analytics users are 57% more effective at increasing their productivity with integrated marketing technologies. - Aberdeen
Some options to put data in the driver’s seat of your marketing: Domo, SAP, Tableau.
Keep Executing on the “Basics”
None of these are as basic as they used to be, but don’t neglect tried and true digital marketing tactics while expanding your martech stack. Make sure that your software choices include increasing your sophistication with:
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
- Email Marketing
- Public Relations
Some options for keeping the marketing lights on: Google Adwords, Meltwater, Moz, Litmus.
What’s Your Most Impactful Piece of Marketing Technology?
Have you chosen a different piece of software that’s had a huge impact on your team? We’d love to hear your story in the comments!
About the Author
Andrea is the president and lead trainer at AgileSherpas (http://www.agilesherpas.com/), a training, education, and consulting company designed to help marketing teams transform their work from frantic to fantastic. Her most recent book, *Death of a Marketer*, chronicles marketing’s troubled path and the steps it must take to claim a more Agile future. She geeks out on all things agile and content @andreafryrear.Follow on Twitter More Content by Andrea Fryrear