Marketing tech is a clear winner when it comes down to advertising budgets in 2016. According to a recent Conductor Spotlight study, 65% of marketers will spend more money on marketing technology this year. But why? Is it really worth the research into finding the right vendor, the financial investment, the learning curve, and the integration into your overall business strategy? These are the crucial questions that bring many a client through a marketing consultant’s door.
Why We Love Marketing Tech
Wil Reynolds from SEER Interactive explained it this way: marketing technology offers “insight into core processes like content creation, execution, optimization and competitive analysis.” Furthermore, having the right technology helps businesses scale up their data collection, organization, leads and sales. With returns like that, it’s no surprise that 28% of marketers plan to spend “significantly” more money (> 25%) in this arena.
Salesforce stats further demonstrate the value of adding marketing tech to a business strategy:
- Businesses that use marketing automation software for lead nurturing see a 451% increase in qualified leads.
- 63% of marketing executives say the ability to set measurable objectives is the biggest value driver.
Shannen Laur at PR 20/20 adds that marketing tech also “shortens the sales cycle, enhances efficiencies, and improves lead scoring.” When you boil it all down, the choice to invest in technology makes sense. Who wouldn’t want business to be easier — more automated and guided by research?
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Factors In Choosing The Right Marketing Tech Vendor
As you well know, one major obstacle is the number of tech providers out there. We’re not talking hundreds — but THOUSANDS. It’s like browsing your iPhone’s app store — ENDLESS. Some of the options are all-in-one software, whereas others are focused on a particular niche like SEO or social media management.
Ultimately, what we tell people, is that there is no “one right answer”. Your choice of technology stack is a very personal matter. For nearly all businesses, a robust all-in-one marketing platform is a good place to start. From there, you may choose to round out your marketing tech based on need. In choosing “the big guy,” you’ll need to consider factors like:
- How big do you need to go? Smaller businesses can find all they need with affordable, easy-to-use marketing automation software like Hatchbuck, Infusionsoft or Act-On, whereas bigger enterprises may want the advanced functionality of platforms HubSpot, Marketo, Eloqua, or Pardot.
- How much does it cost? You can pay as little as nothing or upwards of $10,000/month for a single program. (You don’t even want to know what we pay all our vendors to power our clients’ campaigns and deliver strong ROI for them!) Different companies price their packages based on different variables. For instance, the number of contacts in your database governs how much you pay for Pardot, Salesfusion, Marketo and Eloqua, whereas Act-On prices based on the number of active contacts you manage per month and companies like Hubspot or Infusionsoft price based on number of contacts and number of emails sent per month.
- Can you scale? You may not need much now, but realities can change in a hurry. Most marketing tech offers low-cost, entry-level packages to win clients. As seductive as that may be, you want to make sure you can size up to another level or additional features in the future. VBOUT recommends assessing tech providers by: the number of contacts, outbound emails, users, domains and pages tracked, and marketing impressions allowed each month. Can you add more users or contacts to your database later? This matters A LOT — unless you don’t mind returning to square one as your company evolves.
- What features do you need? If you just need to track ad performance, maybe all you’d want is to tap the power of Google Analytics. Likewise, if it’s just email marketing you’re after, you may want Constant Contact, MailChimp, or aWeber. Or try Leadpages if you just need to slap up a quick, high-converting landing page. For local SEO, we like BrightLocal and SproutSocial for SMM. If you are looking to get your customer relationship under control, you’d want to look into Salesforce, Nimble, or HubSpot Sidekick. For campaign management, you’ll find excellent features with Pardot or Adobe Campaign. The list goes on and on!
- Does it integrate? “The challenge for marketers is to figure out the right solutions for their businesses, and integrate technologies by all means necessary,” reports Marketingland contributor Paul Roetzer, who adds: “Industry giants such as Adobe, IBM, Oracle and Salesforce.com are spending billions to buy complementary marketing technology companies, create app networks, and build competing all-in-one marketing cloud solutions.” Modern, well-known platforms typically feature excellent integration options. For instance, “Zapier lets SaaS users create integrations in minutes that push data between hundreds of web applications without having to write any code or struggle with APIs,” says Roetzer.
- How much support is included? Companies like Hubspot and Infusionsoft are highly regarded for the types of customer support offered and the quality of available training materials. On the other hand, you may find the support options of the smaller companies like Insightly to be a bit lacking… unless digging through community forums and webinars are your thing.
Yearning For More?
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