This blog was adapted from BrandMaker’s: “Marketing Ops Now” podcast. Each installment discusses valuable ideas for both management and marketing executives. You can listen to this 20-minute podcast here.
Marc Andreessen, August 20, 2011
Martech has been eating marketing for the past decade. Looking at the explosion of martech from 150 solutions in 2011 to well over 8.000 solutions in 2020, marketers need a plan to deal with this expanding landscape. It certainly has become harder to answer the question: ‘What marketing capabilities does the company need to succeed?”
When looking at technological opportunities for marketing, there are two views:
- Outside-in. how do you know what new tools or capabilities you want?
- Inside-out. once you’ve made that decision, how do you make sure that you’re actually successful in its adoption?
The “outside-in” journey is first
Before evaluating tools and technologies take a step back and take a look at the customer journey. It is surprising how few people actually take that exercise to the level of actually mapping the journey.
Plot out the different touchpoints that customers have with the company along the journey – such as exploring, discovering, evaluating your product, purchasing, or sales negotiation. Don’t forget about dealing with after-sales challenges – like adoption, support, lifetime engagement, renewals, etc..
It could be a multi-week process, but it’s so important. At each touchpoint the customer has evolving needs. For each touchpoint, you should provide the answers to these questions: “What are the customer’s expectations r? What would make the customer happy? What would delight them? To what extent are we actually fulfilling those expectations today?”. It is essential to marketers to know the answers or to (continuously) find them.
As a next step, have a look at the technologies that deliver or live up to critical touchpoints or expectations. This mapping exercise makes it really clear as to what tools are already in place, which ones need an upgrade, and what is missing?
Activate the outside-in personas
Individual data points do not bring your customer alive, but personas do. You might overlook pivotal triggers in the lives or behavior of customers. Data points without context, will not enable you to surprise and delight the customer.
In many companies personas are long documents with generic information about the customers’ daily life. No wonder those are left unused. It is important to combine those with real life data and experience.. We are talking about the same customer. And there is tremendous power in combining both views.
Inside-out – AIDARI
With the external view in place, it is time to take a look at the solutions that are available and that satisfy the customer journey. What kind of capabilities do we need? We should start with a high-level overview of the martech market,the marketing technology supergraphic. Just 6 letters will take you there: AIDARI.
- Ads & Promotions tools help to draw Attention
- Content & Experience tools raise Interest
- Social & Relationships tools build Desire
- Commerce & Sales tools support the purchasing Action
- Data tracks insights (Returns) across the previous four columns
- Management reflects the resource Investment.
The first four columns are following the AIDA model of attention, interest, desire, and action. The last two columns are representing Return on Investment. The data layer answers questions such as what are the returns on all the data we collected? How well are we performing? The Management layer shows all the investments required. The last two ones are typically marketing ops territory, but not exclusively.
Create realistic expectations
There was a report looking into the important question: “why do IT projects fail?”. Many IT purchases end up twice as expensive with half of the functionality in double the time. The report showed some shocking results. It turns out that one out of 20 times when an IT project fails, it’s the technology. That means the other 19 times it’s in the scoping or even sales phase – before we even touched a button.
Realistic expectations of what the new software brings is crucial. Often software is purchased to solve a problem. But often the problem is not clearly defined. And that creates huge adoption problems, because software is like a magnifying glass.
There are two laws of software.
- Software makes an efficient process more efficient
- Software makes an inefficient process more inefficient
ver the years, companies have spent a lot of money on sophisticated marketing technology solutions and don’t see a significant change in performance.
This brings us back to the outside-In approach. How is it aligned to our strategy? How does it support the customer journey? How does this actually create value for customers? Here is a checklist that might be of help.
- Make sure that the technology supports the way the company makes money, the current business model.
- If that is in place, make sure the technology supports the strategic plan for the next two years: the future business model.
- Take a look at the amazing opportunities of innovation out there.
When we purchase software, we instinctively aim for the third option and shoot for the moon. Instead we should first adopt the new solution and from there iteratively improve the existing processes. That is when we start to realize that some of these changes can alter the entire way we work. Just like cars. They started out as horseless carriages first, not as the cars known today.
“If you want to make enemies, try to change something”
Woodrow Wilson, former president of the USA
A final word of caution. When you start changing processes and how people have been used to working, that is a big change management effort.
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BrandMaker’s “Marketing Ops Now” podcast series has officially started. In each podcast industry luminaries and deep thinkers share valuable marketing ops ideas for both management and marketing executives (some worth stealing).
For every podcast in the series we’ll do a blog post to share the highlights with you. You can listen to this 20-minute podcast here.