Our global economy is in the midst of a dramatic transformation where digital marketing and ecommerce are overtaking traditional forms of marketing and selling. To keep pace with how buyers learn about and purchase products in this digital revolution, all businesses must be investing in and embracing marketing technology (the marketing cloud as it has now been branded) to leverage tools that automate engagement and streamline sales and marketing operations. The benefits of doing so increase collaboration across these two critical functions to accelerate growth.
Embracing marketing technology, however, is not an overnight business initiative. As of 2015, there were almost 2,000 tools and systems across 47 categories according to my colleague Scott Brinker @cheifmartec! And there is no slowing down as billions of investment dollars for acquisitions and venture capital funding are pouring into the space. These investments mean we will continue to see even more innovation as entrepreneurs continue to focus on helping marketers engage with prospects and buyers.
Already, I’m seeing our client base of modern marketers deploying dozens of tools to address their expanding role in demand generation. Depending on where you are in your journey, you’re probably wondering what essential tools you’ll need to achieve your marketing plans. How do you evaluate them? What resources will be needed? How much should you budget for them? What adoption pitfalls should be avoided?
These questions and others are the ones that my team and I are answering more and more for our clients. With so many “shiny new toys” for marketing, the first step needs to be laying out a technology roadmap based on what I call the four disciplines of modern marketing: Acquisition, Conversion, Measurement, and Expansion (ACME). Knowing how you measure up in each area helps marketing teams decide where marketing technology can increase output in your Demand Factory™.
The almost 2,000 technologies have been grouped in the past into as many as 47 categories and five macro categories. Along with Scott’s approach, I find it helpful to establish a “food group” type of categorization which will help you find the right tools for your own needs around the four disciplines I mentioned above. Using the analogy, if you need more vitamin C, you increase your diet of fruit. More protein needed, than you consume fish and meat. You get the idea.
So if you need to acquire more leads, than you’re likely needing content creation and management tools. Need to automate more engagement, then marketing automation, etc. This approach, along with the broader categories, will help you identify the various solutions available. I’ll offer up the following seven primary areas to help you identify solutions that align to your needs:
- Content creation tools for building highly interactive and engaging content
- Content management tools for managing the website and content: the central hub of engagement
- Marketing automation systems for managing and automating engagement with prospects, customers, and partners
- Account-based marketing systems to target groups, rather than individuals, that have impact on purchases, and that offer the highest potential revenue opportunities
- Lead management tools for increasing lead conversion through lead scoring, nurturing, the demand funnel, and other key programs to effectively, rate, route, nurture, and convert leads to customers. Some of this can be addressed with marketing automation of course
- Data management tools for handling segmentation, targeting, appending, hygiene, transformation
- Reporting tools for providing the insights marketing needs to measure demand generation programs and their impact on the business
Of course the hard part isn’t finding a bunch of shiny new toys. The challenge is knowing when to go looking, which one is right for your needs, and of course, ensuring you turn that investment into impact. To help here, I’ll be sharing with you a select set of marketing technologies in some of these critical areas that I think offer unique and powerful benefits in marketing effectiveness and efficiencies — and ultimately in generating more revenue. My approach to sharing this information is not on “what’s good” or “what’s bad” review basis: I’ll only focus on technologies used by our clients. (Of course, not every technology I mention is right for everyone.) I’ll share my knowledge and experience through product overviews, demos, and content you can download — and I’ll do interviews with our marketing technology partners to help you learn about emerging concepts or new takes on traditional ideas. A modern marketer is an informed marketer! Of course my team at DemandGen is here to help you as well, especially on turning those investments into impact.
To kick things off and look at some of the leading marketing technologies and how your peers are using them, join me at the MarTech Conference March 21-22 in San Francisco. I’m excited to be joining Scott Brinker and his team at MarTech, which is a vendor-agnostic forum for understanding the many marketing technologies and for learning how organizations can effectively integrate them into their marketing strategies. I’ll be moderating portions of the conference, and look forward to seeing you there. My team at DemandGen will also be onsite during the conference, giving you a chance to catch up with them in person. Don’t miss it — you’ll learn a lot!
For more than 20 years, David Lewis has been a pioneering innovator in digital marketing, and has overseen marketing for some of Silicon Valley’s leading technology firms. Taking his expertise for “Making Marketing Matter”, he founded DemandGen in 2007 to build the worlds’ first marketing technology agency.
For the past decade, David and his team at DemandGen have been at the forefront of the transformation taking place in marketing by helping 100’s of the top sales and marketing teams around the world incorporate marketing automation to drive growth. David is an accomplished industry speaker, thought leader, and author. His ground-breaking work on the transformation of marketing and sales is at the heart of his book, Manufacturing Demand: The Principles of Successful Lead Management.