Budget planning in the digital marketing space is tough. Things move so fast. How are you going to know what’s needed 12 months from now? In some spaces, you’re not sure what’s needed within the next quarter.
In this fast moving environment, how do you plan out what marketing technologies you’ll need to purchase over the next year? Business needs are evolving almost as fast as new marketing technologies are released to market. You can’t pull a number out of the sky to share with your executives or board, and think they’re going to write a blank check. What you can do is complete a gap analysis and identify the difference between overall business requirements and current capabilities.
Start by getting clear on the company’s vision for the next 1 year, 3 years, 5 years. What are the key goals to achieve? What are the key performance indicators (KPIs) that will be used to evaluate success?
Does using technology to automate, scale or optimize make sense?
Collaborate with marketing leadership to determine what your current organizations capabilities are, and what they feel is necessary to achieve the organizations goals, this will help identify whatever pain points are currently found in your tech stack.
Review the business KPIs and ensure that everyone has the necessary data points to show success and make informed decisions.
Are the current measurement data points leading or lagging metrics?
If data is being captured, is it clean? Is it being used to inform future decisions?
Collaborate with those marketing leaders to create use cases so you can have a clear picture of what they need and how it will impact both the business and the people using it.
Onboarding technology can be challenging. Onboarding technology without other marketing leaders/users buying into the vision and change of process, can cause even the best technology solutions to stall during integration.
MarTech Mission Statement
Setting the vision for your team is a great way to create focus and alignment. Creating a written declaration of the core purpose and focus of your team’s Marketing Technology efforts will align the team, and prioritize how decisions are made. Details you want to capture are to define your target audience, say how you’re going to deliver value, and how it’s adding value to the business.
Use this mission statement to help guide decisions of which technologies to purchase, where to set the vision, and prioritizing your integration roadmap.
For example, your next priority is to solve a business goal around visibility of data so that executives can review and make decisions:
- If a core function of your mission is to maximize profits by keeping ongoing costs to a minimum:
You may rule out software as a service (SaaS) based products that have a monthly recurring revenue (MRR) model and identify a solution that meets the bare minimum current business needs. You would prioritize hosted solutions and rely on your internal team to support and improve things if necessary.
- If you’re mission aligns to solving for the long term scaling of a growing business:
You may rule out a full featured solution that has no open API, and therefore leaves you constrained by wherever that business chooses to take it’s technology. A SaaS product could fill the current gaps identified and allow for migration to a new system if the software doesn’t keep up with the level of innovation required to solve the business goals.
Two very different requirements based on the business needs and the mission of how you’re going to deliver value to the business. Don’t start researching new marketing tech investments without knowing what your use cases and requirements are that you’re setting out to solve.
Before purchasing another technology to solve a problem, you need to have a good handle on what currently is in your stack and if it can be solved by better leveraging what’s already in your hands.
There are a few different ways you can tackle creating your MarTech stack. After taking inventory of all the technologies you’re invested in:
- You could map them to the area of business it affects and see where there are holes
A good starting point for this mapping would be to list all marketing channels and what technology is used in each
- You could rate how well each technology is contributing to business goals by maturity level (crawl, walk, or run)
Great identification for time/resource investment since you’re already paying (paid) for the technology
- You could survey Marketing and IT leaders and rate the biggest pain points in the business
Great for collaboration and getting early buy-in cross-departmentally
If you’re wanting more in depth help to map out the customer experience and see how data/lead flows through your system, I recommend downloading the Marketing Tech Blueprint Workbook from Integrate. It’s a great step-by-step process that helps identify each stage you need to work through.
Once you’ve completed all these items, you’ll have a lot of great info in your hands:
- Clear business goals
- Identified what problem you’re solving or capability you’re looking to add
- Confirmed that utilizing software for this is the right decision
- KPIs have been identified so you can measure success
- Focus of how you’re going to solve it through a solid mission statement
- Technology stack has been mapped with identification of where things can be improved
- Ability to prioritize
Now you have all the puzzle pieces identified to prioritize what investments are needed to solve business goals. Armed with the knowledge of the biggest items for you to work on, how you’re going to measure them, and whether what you need is more technology or more resource investment, you’re prepared to align and pitch your budget.
If you’re in the Phoenix/Chandler area, I’ll be discussing this topic and diving in deeper at our next meet-up this Thursday.