Buying Marketing Technology & Services

There are numerous possible categories with regard to analyzing and evaluating marketing services and technologies as it pertains to your business. While only a subset of these may be a priority for any specific need within your marketing team, the coverage is important. It allows solutions to be identified that meet your objectives and requirements.

As a result there are two primary considerations. First, is understanding the core needs for you, including your unique set of business requirements and combining this with a thorough understanding of what’s possible from available solutions in the marketplace. Second, is evaluating technologies against your unique needs and accelerating your time from the identification of a marketing need to implementation, while improving the probability of success.

When embarking on a project, it is always important to review possibilities with respect to building and buying the set of solutions that enable you to get from point A to point B. This may entail complementing your internal resources with any of a number of potential resources or simply getting a better understanding of your options.

What are the benefits of hiring a company for their marketing services or marketing technology? There are many potential benefits, but here are a few:

  • You are hiring passion and people who excel at what they do
  • They may make your employees better by exposing them to new perspectives
  • Depending upon the maturity of the solution, you may get more capability than performing the same work or building the same technology yourself

In addition to general and detailed capabilities and the standard considerations associated with buying this type of service or technology, a few of the categories a buyer could consider are:

  • Total Cost of Ownership
  • Specific Integrations
  • Migration Considerations
  • Privacy Implications
  • Supportability
  • Sustainability

These and many other categories enable you to easily evaluate the technologies and services most suitable to your company’s needs while taking into account those potential marketing and technology capabilities best aligned to your strategic objectives.

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Roadblocks to Successful Marketing Campaigns

What are marketing campaigns without roadblocks? We just do what we can to go around them, remove them, satiate their needs or mitigate their corresponding risks. When considering new marketing opportunities, these hurdles may consist of examples such as lack of budget, inaccurate data or misaligned objectives with the selected marketing tactics (see Demand Gen Report).

If a budget issue, it could be a lack of the necessary budget for any of the required MPTT resources of money, people, time or technology. If the issue is the amount of allocated funds for a project, then understanding what people or committees are responsible for approval of budget items plays a role, but building a well constructed business case is the real need, depending upon the level of rigor required for a given decision. If the limited resource is people to either complete the work or manage it going forward, then finding qualified personnel is the priority whether it is in the form of reallocation of existing people, the addition of new staff or external resources from agencies or consultants.

When dealing with data, it may be incomplete, out of date or even insufficient for the task at hand. Thankfully, there are many data sources and technologies to improve these situations. It’s possible to implement these data sources to supplement a marketing campaign, ensure compliance or even use it as a primary source to build an initiative for a new market segment or new product launch.

Time is yet another story. How does a company manufacture time that doesn’t exist? Short of turning back the clock, this seems to be a fruitless effort on the surface. However, with standard changes such as adding or sharing resources and an ounce of creativity, you will be on your way to finding alternatives that get more done in less time.

If technology appears to be the hurdle, you may find that multiple MPTT issues exist and may be solved by the ingenuity of solutions. As a general rule of thumb, technology today is easier to install, implement, integrate and manage in many respects. This is the result of cloud based solutions, vendor ecosystems, APIs as well as data interchange standards. Of course, that statement is not without exception. Lastly, technology has to do what you need it to do, even if it comes in a slightly different form than you originally had in mind.

And finally, because an extraordinary number of solutions exist in the marketplace today, companies have the luxury of finding marketing services and technologies that align well with their specific corporate objectives. As an example, if an organization places emphasis on sustainability for its own products, finding solution providers that do the same could be a great fit with their goals as corporate citizens within their industry or the world as a whole.

Regardless of the people responsible, either someone or a group has a fiduciary responsibility to make investments that will align with the criteria important to the company and marketing effort. While you may not understand all aspects of this reality due to your position or role, it makes sense to minimize the risk and maximize the reward for the marketing effort, doesn’t it? Whether you are a marketer, consultant or agency, you have to determine what part you play in these decisions. Furthermore, you need to understand the level of due diligence that is necessary to create the best chance that the investment being pursued will generate the intended results. If your company has decided that a purchase of technology must meet certain criteria, align with one or more corporate strategies or even meet certain compliance restrictions, then these become guidelines for getting to a solution whether you build, buy or lease it. The list of possibilities is long and distinguished, but determine what is imperative to you, the team, the organization, customers and shareholders as appropriate. Additionally, seeking the assistance of a trusted, competent resource for guidance is always a beneficial approach.

Money, People, Time & Technology

Each time we decide to achieve a new project in business, it requires resources. Here at Capsolve, we define resources as Money, People, Time and Technology (MPTT). Whether it is a marketing, technology or another type of initiative, a given effort may require one or more of these resources to make it proceed from concept to solution.

More specifically, marketing initiatives rely upon these same resources in addition to Creativity and the 4P’s of marketing. This formula has shown results many times during the course of its existence. While many other considerations are necessary for a marketing program to experience success, these represent the blocking and tackling of marketing.

Each of these resources may take multiple forms, but ultimately, they create a currency for marketing programs to be executed. While money sounds simple, it may be gathered in its traditional form, or another currency that is of value to a particular team. Examples include raising funds for a non-profit program to occur, paying in an alternative currency such as bitcoin or loyalty points to get value from a program partner.

When discussing People or Human Resources (this label sounds even more appropriate as we take a new step in the era of robotics), there are many forms as well. This may include teams of people within your company or from the many companies with whom you have structured strategic alliances. I have seen many instances of the clever usage of people and their time from many a marketer.

This brings us to Time. How could we create time for an initiative aside from traveling to another time zone? Most of us rely upon adding people to accomplish more in the same amount of time. Others will hire people in other time zones to increase the number of productive hours in a day. These are tried and true tactics to making more happen in less time, but each has its limits.

Finally, what about technology? It doesn’t tend to play a major role in creating money, other than with governments, the lottery and gambling. By the way, I don’t recommend the latter two as reliable funding techniques for your marketing programs. However, marketing technology may play a significant role in creating the equivalent of more People and Time.

Let’s talk about Social Marketing as our example in this case. Every social media marketer realizes quickly that social marketing tools will drastically reduce the time required to disseminate their social marketing content across multiple sites. Even the free versions have this much functionality. Sending content to 5 sites took 5 minutes per site per post. If done with a social marketing tool, it may be done in 10 minutes, a reduction of 60% from 25 minutes. Alternatively, it allows a marketer to distribute content to many more sites than without the technology, creating better reach. Imagine a social marketing program that generates 3 posts per day for 250 days per year. Most businesses within this volume of social marketing require this technology. However, it provides many other benefits that accomplish similar decreases in the use of limited resources within most organizations. As a marketing team climbs the maturity curve for social marketing, the efficiencies increase at least linearly, but are counterbalanced by larger audiences, additional content needs and more sophisticated segmentation.

As you begin to plan and regularly adjust the social marketing component of your annual marketing plan, be sure to consider what technologies could create this type of efficiency with your marketing programs. Optimizing your resources is crucial for any size budget and will usually have a material, if not game changing effect on your use of limited resources.