Today, modern technology stacks include core platforms essential to the marketers’ day-to-day, such as CRM and marketing automations systems, as well as additional tools for email marketing, online and offline advertising, and more.
But true innovation tends to happen on the edges of these underlying systems. It’s not about simply “tweaking” the core anymore; it’s also about adding new technologies that enhance collaboration and facilitate interactions with customers and prospects at every stage of their journey.
MKTGinsight asked several industry experts: As marketers plan their next technology purchases, what’s the most important question they should ask the vendors of solutions they’re considering?
Chief Editor Ginger Conlon interviewed eleven industry experts: C-level executives, analysts, and senior marketing managers at companies as diverse as Nielsen, Digital, Madison Advisors, Ricoh, and Experian Marketing Services.
You can read a summary of their answers on MKTGinsight article, “Don’t Skip These Questions When Talking to Martech Vendors.”
Nielsen Marketing Effectiveness CMO Wayne St. Amand provided this important question:
1. Is it possible to conduct short-term tests prior to installation? (If not, why not?)
Pilot programs can give the CMO more confidence that a technology will ultimately deliver on its promised returns. By being able to test a solution, marketers can identify potential implementation challenges early, so that the larger-scale adoption runs more smoothly, saving the organization time and money.
Here are the other questions experts recommend you ask a vendor before making a technology purchase, and why.
2. How will implementing this solution affect my teams’ work processes?
Don’t underestimate the impact on your team. When investing in new or upgraded marketing tools, it’s important to not solely focus on the benefits of the tool itself, but to also consider how the change will affect your teams’ work processes.
3. Does your technology support my goals and use cases, complement my existing tech stack, ensure data integration, and generate ROI?
Set your team up for success by outlining your business needs and goals, identifying functionality you don’t have, assessing data integration needs, and defining how you will measure and achieve ROI.
4. How well does your organization’s culture and strategy align with ours?
Try to prequalify vendors before the demo stage with a series of questions about company viability and growth. This will let you find potential technology partners that have the capability to help you reach your strategic business goals.
5. How can you help us beat ad fraud?
As consumers and as marketing and advertising practitioners, we have a vested interest in seeing instances of fraud abated. Start by asking your data vendors about the steps they’re taking to address fraud.
6. Can you not only serve my immediate needs, but also scale to meet my longer-term goals?
To build a partnership that will help you evolve from your current state to your future desired state, you need to establish that the technology is flexible enough to keep up with your evolving business.
7. What is the ongoing cost for support, maintenance, and evolution/growth of this technology?
Don’t overlook the need for ongoing support and maintenance. Make sure you include future management and enhancement after deployment.
8. What is your immediate product roadmap and vision for future releases?
Armed with this knowledge, your marketing team with the expertise of the technology department can evaluate the software’s roadmap against their combined marketing and IT roadmap.
9. How does the technology integrate with my existing solutions?
Siloed solutions get in the way of meaningful interactions with customers. Solutions that integrate seamlessly make it easier to break down silos, coordinate across channels, and measure success.
10. How will this solution help drive revenue?
While there is value in saving time, reducing effort, and improving productivity, it is more important to find out if a solution can actually make you money, rather than just costing you.
11. How will this help me understand my customers holistically?
When technologies operate in silos and don’t connect, the insights they yield don’t connect either. Disjointed insights can keep companies from truly understanding customers holistically and from providing a consistent on-brand experience across all channels.
To read the complete MKTGinsight article, see “Don’t Skip These Questions When Talking to Martech Vendors.”
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