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How To Become The Marketing Technology Expert, Core Competencies Of The Marketing Operations Leader [pt. 2 of 4]

By Andrew Nguyen
May 16, 2016
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Welcome back to our series on marketing operations leadership.

In this lesson we'll show you how to become the marketing technology consultant at your organization. Marketing technology is the source of customer information and the lever that controls the sales/marketing funnel. So it's increasingly important for marketers to be their organization's expert of the marketing technology stack.

But how do you do this?

How do you become the point person for such questions as:

  • How do we determine our technology gaps?

  • What's the process for piloting new technology?

  • Who's driving and keeping track of implementation?

  • Which technologies have been impactful? Which haven't been?

Whether this is your current job role or you aim to be the person who answers these questions, you'll find this post helpful.

You'll learn a systematic approach to evaluating the impact of marketing tools and the ability to provide thoughtful recommendations on changes to the marketing stack.

The Next Step After Establishing The Core MarTech Stack

In the previous lesson we covered the core marketing technologies you need to enable marketing teams to produce the best results. These are the minimum requirements for creating a great customer experience and developing the analytics to sustain marketing’s growth and impact.

After establishing the core it’s time to start thinking about the other technologies needed by your team. Every organizations has different competitive forces and needs to address when it comes to running demand generation or account-based marketing.

So it’s essential that you as a marketing operations leader understand how to identify gaps and evaluate whether your current marketing technology meets your organization's needs.

By going through these step you get a clear understanding of how the martech stack works, what's valuable, and what key stakeholders may be missing.

Introducing The Marketing Technology Evaluation Method

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When your role requires you to architect the right system for managing the sales and marketing funnel, you need to know whether every gear and cog is serving the right purpose and functions smoothly.

So let’s discuss how to evaluate martech in your effort to build the perfect marketing machine. We'll start with step 1 which is deciding on the martech you want to evaluate. 

Step 1: Decide On The Type Of Martech You Are Evaluating

Step 1 is choosing whether to evaluate marketing execution technology or marketing operations technology.

What do you care most about? Is it managing the funnel, understanding the customer, creating better content, optimizing paid media campaigns, or making sure team members have access to the right metrics?

Chances are that any martech falls into either the execution side or the operation side. 

Thus we’ve broken down marketing technology into two broad categories: Marketing Execution and Marketing Operations.

Some call this front office and back office.

We'll zoom in on areas of the framework for each step.

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After identifying the marketing tool or solution you need to evaluate, it is time to narrow down the purpose of your evaluation.

Step 2: Decide Whether Lesson Learning Or Accountability Is Most Important To You

The next step is deciding the overall objective of your evaluation.

In research it’s often good to first understand the lay of the land.This is lesson learning. How are people using the technology? What’s the current process for production? How do we know a need exists that requires investment in technology?

Your goal is to understand and observe. This is great when you’re at a new organization or becoming familiar with how a team operates.

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On the other end of the spectrum is the goal of holding a team or technology accountable. With this goal you want to be able to measure performance in a quantitative fashion. You want to compare teams or technologies using a method that gives comparable results. In other words, you are comparing apples to apples and finding the best one.

Once you have chosen whether you care about lesson learning or accountability it’s time to choose the evaluation method that best fits your needs. 

Step 3: Choose the Best Evaluation Method 

Time to become a teacher. Evaluating martech is like grading a homework assignment. There should be a threshold for passing and a clear way to tell the difference between an A grade and C grade.

This part is up to you. You can choose more quantitative or qualitative evaluation methods, but either way you should be clear in your thinking on what you consider passing or failing.

With this in mind, choose the best evaluation method to fit your needs. 

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Choosing the best method is more of an art. But the foundation of any skill is common sense. In this case, common sense goes a long way in choosing a good evaluation method.

For example, if you care that a certain tool is saving your team time and money, then you’d choose a more quantitative evaluation method like a cost/benefit analysis. You’d attach a dollar amount to the time saved (the benefit) and compare whether it’s more than the cost of the tool. If it’s ROI positive then you know that the tool does as it is suppose to: save you time and money.

Other marketing technology of interest may not lend itself perfectly to a quantitative method. A great example of this is marketing analytics tools where process and advances in knowledge is more important.

Analytics tools help you understand the customer or understand how different campaigns perform, so you can replicate what’s working and address what’s not working.

These tools lend themselves well to looking at the impact of the tool. What does it enable you to do? What would happen if the tool were to suddenly disappear, would it have a major or minor impact? Choosing to do an impact analysis is ideal in this situation.

By thinking critically about the purpose and impact of the marketing technology, you are sure to gain a better understanding of the value of the tool. You’ll become an expert technology consultant.

Step 4:  Make A Decision On Whether To Save Or Kill Your MarTech

After completing your evaluation you should have a score or have clear indication of whether the martech gets a passing or failing grade. 

If it passed your test then it clearly has value and you should keep using it. In fact, check in with your success manager or browse the vendor's blog for new feature updates.

If it fails then it’s time to reconsider whether it has a place in your technology stack. At this point you should consider re-evaluating, asking questions that you didn’t ask before, or simply stop using the tool.

By talking to end-users and members of your team you can understand whether the current marketing tools are sufficient. 

Through experience in evaluating marketing technology you'll become the tech expert in your organization. You'll be able to provide important information related to needs and innefficiencies in your marketing stack. 

Conclusion 

Any marketer can benefit from a clear approach to measuring the value and impact of their marketing technology. Whether you focus on time saving processes, access to insightful data, or a shift in how you analyze data, you need a way to decide whether it's worth the price. 

Through research on impact, process, cost/benefit and needs you can emerge as the marketing operations leader who spearheads technology implementation. 

In the next lesson we'll focus on the other side of marketing operations: the people side. We'll describe how you can use the scientific method to empower your team to be data-driven. 

Can't wait till the next lesson? Download the ebook which includes every lesson. And consider joining us for a webinar where we give real examples of evaluations and reports based off marketing attribution technology. 

Core Competencies of the Marketing Operations Leader  The frameworks every marketing operations leader needs  Download Now 

Topics: marketing operations, marketing technology

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