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Let’s say you’ve got a loose stair that’s been driving you crazy because it springs up every time you step on it. You’ve decided to take care of it but don’t have a hammer. When you get to the store to pick one up, you see that your options are a standard hammer or one that promises to be industrial grade that’s made of the finest materials known to man. Everything about the second hammer screams superiority. It’s in a shinier package. It’s, in short, a better hammer. It also costs ten times more than the first hammer.
At that point, you may try to justify the “investment” by thinking you could use it to take on all those home improvement projects you’ve been putting off for a very long time. But once you take out the weekends you are going to be away, and the ones you have already blocked off for previous engagements, do you really have the time they would require to tackle them?
If all you’re going to use the hammer for is to repair your loose stair, is it really worth the investment?
Companies large and small make the mistake of being lured in by the promises of advanced technology platforms. To be sure, these platforms are truly innovative, and many can deliver on the promises they’ve made. However, when it comes to marketing technology, the value is determined by the features you actually use rather than the features that are available. You have to remember that your technology is a tool. Like any other tool, the way you use it is going to determine its worth.
Companies large and small make the mistake of being lured in by the promises of advanced technology platforms. However, when it comes to marketing technology, the value is determined by the features you actually use rather than the features that are available
Choosing your Marketing Tech
Take Google Analytics and Omniture, for example. Digital analytic gurus will turn their noses up at Google Analytics, claiming that it is a less sophisticated platform. They’re probably right. However, it doesn’t matter how many advanced tracking measures Omniture puts into place. The fact remains that most of the organizations using it are only going to tap into a few of the most basic features—the same ones found in Google Analytics.
Email marketing is another excellent example of getting distracted by the promises you’ll never use. Sure, there are platforms that allow you to create 300 different clusters based on a sophisticated lifecycle model. That means, though, that you need to create 300 separate versions of your content in order to fully capitalize on that platform. If you’re only going to push the same basic content to most of these groups, identifying them makes no practical difference.
What’s worse, these tech promises can end up pushing us to make bad marketing decisions we wouldn’t have made otherwise. People who have purchased all of these automation tools and sophisticated algorithms may feel compelled to use them whether they’ve prepared for them or not. This is how we end up with so much spam in our inboxes.
Customer attention is the most valuable asset in the marketing world. Successful emails need content, tone, and purpose. The world’s best personalization algorithm can’t replace smart humans dedicated to creating these pieces with the time and attention necessary to tailor them to the audience’s needs. If you don’t have meaningful content, it doesn’t matter how well your algorithms work.
If you don’t have meaningful content, it doesn’t matter how well your algorithms work.
Many of these platforms and products are presented as cost-saving measures. With that in mind, companies and organizations will purchase technology based on a very narrowly defined task. This can lead to multiple purchases to handle several different tasks, and most people don’t take the time to understand the ROI formula. The cost savings must be weighed against the cost of the product plus the cost of implementation, which can include training employees to use it and reformulating existing processes.
Avinash Kaushik has some sound, practical advice for figuring out whether your technology budget is working or not. He says that you should spend 10% of your budget on the tech and 90% on the talent that makes it work. In addition, he says that your analysts should spend 65% of their time doing data analysis. One of the important takeaways from Kaushik’s advice is that the more you spend on tech, the more you need to spend on talent to make that tech worthwhile.
The cost savings must be weighed against the cost of the product plus the cost of implementation, which can include training employees to use it and reformulating existing processes
A wise choice for every business leader looking to make a technology purchase is to examine what percentage of features the current solution actually uses. Ask your current vendor what percentage of the features you are using for their product. This easy assessment should help you decide if what you need is a new tool or simply to use your existing tools differently.
This is not to say that there are never good reasons to upgrade to a more advanced technology. Not only could new technology actually give you a greater ROI, but it could also force your team to grow and evolve, ultimately making your business run better. The important thing is to make that decision to upgrade consciously and intentionally. Pay for the features you need and will use, and invest the savings from avoiding unnecessary features back into the talent who will make your technology purchases worthwhile.
The bottom line is this: we’re living in a world with an insane amount of MarTech solutions, and each one is filled with promises and new features. If you want to run an efficient organization that consistently outperforms its peers, you must closely monitor how much your team is using the features available in the technology at their disposal. Check your current usage percentages. Perhaps you have already outgrown the technology you are using and need to upgrade. Perhaps you should push your team to do more with what you have. Perhaps it’s time to hire more people.
Whatever the case is for your current situation, make your choices with intention and knowledge rather than promises and flashy features in mind.