Megan Michuda, Author at MarTech Marketing Strategy, Marketing Technology, Marketing Transformation Thu, 16 Jun 2022 15:11:32 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Three ways to organize your martech stack Fri, 17 Jun 2022 13:10:00 +0000 Some common ways to organize your martech stack and the unique benefits of each approach.

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Earlier this month, Scott Brinker revealed the 2022 Stackie Award Winners. The Stackies are a contest for organizations to submit a visual illustration of their martech stack. This year, five different winners were selected.

My favorite part of the Stackies is observing all the different ways organizations choose to organize and catalog their martech stacks. After reviewing this year’s entries, below are three of the most common ways to consider organizing your martech stack and some of the unique benefits of each approach.

1. The customer journey

One of the most popular ways to organize your martech stack is to align your technologies with the stage they support in the customer journey. Different companies have different terminology for the different phases, but it typically goes something like “Awareness,” “Consideration,” “Purchase” and “Onboard.”

In this example, SEO tools would typically be categorized under the “Awareness” phase, whereas e-commerce platforms would easily fit under the “Purchase” phase. When categorizing your tools this way, there are two challenges you want to be sure to account for:

  • Make sure you have a way to tag some technologies under multiple customer journey stages. For example, your marketing automation platform would likely be used across multiple stages, including “Awareness,” “Consideration” and “Onboard.”
  • You will also want to have an entirely separate category or two for tools used for internal purposes that customers don’t necessarily directly interact with along their journey. Data and analytics tools, as well as internal workflow and collaboration tools, would fall into these categories.

And there’s an added benefit. Categorizing your tools this way gives you a great visual to see what tools are affecting multiple stages of the customer journey and, therefore, may require more investment or resources. For example, if your marketing operations team has been pushing for increased headcount, showcasing how the platform impacts nearly every stage of the customer journey may help you garner internal support from leaders even outside of marketing, such as sales or customer support.

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2. Technology category or subcategory

One of the most common and popular ways to categorize your martech stack is simply by the technology category they belong to. This is how the famous Martech Landscape supergraphic, along with the new interactive MartechMap, organizes tools. When organizing your martech stack, you could choose to keep your categorization at the highest level, such as “Advertising and Promotion,” “Content and Experience,” “Social and Relationships,” “Commerce and Sales,” “Data” and “Management” or you could choose to get a step more granular and assign your tools according to their appropriate subcategories.

For example, the subcategories under “Content and Experience” may include “Email,” “Social,” and “Web” among others.

Another added benefit: One of the biggest challenges that marketing organizations face is the proliferation of technologies available. Marketing organizations struggle to take full advantage of their martech stack’s potential. According to the Gartner Marketing Technology Survey 2019, marketing leaders report utilizing only 58% of their martech stack’s potential, down from 61% in 2018.

Organizing your tools by the category they belong to can help you easily identify where there may be opportunities for consolidation within your martech stack. For example, you may discover that you are using multiple survey tools across the organization because individual teams needing a quick survey have set up free or low-cost accounts on platforms like SurveyMonkey or Google Forms. You may have a customer experience group using a more robust platform such as Qualtrics, which handles customer surveys. That could be an opportunity to consolidate onto one survey platform.

Consolidating your martech stack can help you take better advantage of your martech stack’s potential by cutting costs, reducing data silos, and ultimately enabling users to spend more time diving deep into all of the available features of one tool and sharing that knowledge with others.

3. Internal organizational structure

 Another way to organize your martech stack is by the internal teams responsible for operating those technologies. For example, an organization may typically include a data and analytics team, a marketing operations team, a content management team and an advertising team. In this situation, one team may own some tools, such as display advertising tools for the advertising team or the website CMS, which only the content management team can access. However, there are likely quite a few tools that multiple teams have access to, such as some data and analytics tools, like Google Analytics.

When categorizing Google Analytics within your martech stack, you may realize that it needs to be associated with more teams than you initially thought. Of course, the data and analytics team has access to Google Analytics, but so does the advertising team, who is using it to focus on conversion rates of their campaigns. The content management team may have access to look at page load times. The marketing Operations team may also use it to determine the highest converting pages they should incorporate into their lead scoring models.

Added benefit? Cataloging your martech stack along organizational lines helps highlight where there is shared access and ownership within certain tools. This gives you the visibility to ensure you have the right policies, procedures, and rights management in place to ensure that different teams are not stepping on each other’s toes or operating in different ways that could ultimately hurt overall efficiency.

For example, in Google Analytics, you would want to ensure that multiple teams do not share editor rights, which would allow someone in the marketing operations team to edit the default channel groupings, which could potentially break some of the ways that the advertising team is optimizing spend across channels.

Read next: How startups and small companies should build their marketing stacks

If you categorize your martech stack by your organizational structure, set up regular reviews of tools with shared access to ensure that you have the right governance policies in place and that they are being followed.

There is no right or wrong way to categorize your martech stack, as each approach has its purpose and benefits. You also do not have to limit yourself to just one approach. As you can see above, taking the time to categorize your martech stack in different ways may help you achieve particular goals or better suit you when sharing that visualization with a particular leader. No matter how you categorize it, the most important thing is to ensure you regularly audit and update your martech stack. 

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5 tips to boost user adoption of new martech tools Tue, 05 Apr 2022 13:26:39 +0000 Get your end-users on board and ready to embrace new solutions.

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One of the most common challenges organizations face concerning their martech stack is user adoption. Gartner’s 2020 Marketing Technology Survey showed that only 58% of marketing organizations utilize the full breadth of their martech stack’s capabilities.

If your end-users are not embracing a tool, it will be impossible to take full advantage of its capabilities. Under-utilization of tools can hurt your martech team’s reputation and the ability to get budget for future technology implementations. Therefore, it is critical to get your end-users engaged and using new technologies early and often.

Here are five tips to help drive user adoption of new martech tools.

Tip #1: Build a super user group and make them your advocates

It is natural for end users to resist the inevitable changes when asked to adopt new technology. Even if you upgrade or replace a tool users have complained about for years, you should expect some resistance. A new technology, even a better one, requires additional work for your users to learn the tool and adjust their day-to-day routines. This is where building a super user group can be a huge asset.

  • Invite a small subset of your end users to be your super users. Try and pick people that have a lot of influence over their peers.
  • Include your super users as early as possible in the process to feel some ownership over the tool. If it is possible to invite them to join and weigh in on the “bake-off” between the final two tools during the buying process, all the better.
  • When onboarding the tool, utilize the super user group as your main user testing group. Take as much of their feedback as possible, and take the time to explain why some customizations they ask for may not be possible. The better they understand what the tool can and cannot do, the more likely they will share those explanations with their peers once the tool is live.

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Tip #2: At launch, don’t be afraid of training tactics that won’t scale

The first impression that many users have of the new technology is often the one they will stick with, regardless of how many changes or improvements you make to the tool. If your tool gets a negative reputation amongst your initial users, that negativity will spread to future groups of users in other divisions or to new employees joining the team.

That is why it is so important that you go above and beyond to make sure your users have a good first impression when launching a new tool. Do not be afraid of implementing training tactics that may not scale over the long term, like doing 1:1 sit-downs or video calls with your users and walking them through the tool personally.

These tactics may not be viable as you roll the tool out to larger and larger groups. But if the tool has a solid reputation from the initial user group, these tactics may not be needed as you grow. Future users will be looking forward to getting their chance to use it and, therefore, are more likely to take advantage of your more scalable training resources.

Tip #3: Offer a variety of ongoing training resources

A critical misstep that often befalls marketing technology implementations is taking a one and done approach to user training. Even if your initial training plan is successful, it is important to continue to offer a variety of training resources on an ongoing basis. This ensures that users will have the opportunity to upskill in the tool and take advantage of new features and offers additional opportunities for those late adopters not to be left behind.

  • Short webinars and “tips and tricks” videos. Video training can be especially effective for software. Create videos that enable users to follow along and see the software interface. Break these down into five to 10 minutes snippets for specific use cases or tasks and provide a link to a library of these videos.
  • Office hours. Establish regular office hours where users can drop in, ask their personal questions, and get 1:1 help from an administrator. Keep a log of what types of questions come up during office hours, and use those frequent questions as topics to create a short video training about. Offering these sessions can also encourage users to occasionally hold off on sending their questions via an email, IM, or support ticket if they know they can get them answered during office hours.
  • Newsletter or Slack channel. Provide links to new training videos, offer a “tip of the week” and communicate minor updates or bug fixes via a regular newsletter or slack channel.

Tip #4: Provide rewards or recognition for top users

Show off your top users and the wins they generate from taking advantage of the tool. If your general population of users can see tangible success stories from their peers, they will be more motivated to try and create a success story of their own.

  • Highlight “key win” case studies and remember to share these with your vendor. The vendor may choose to share it within their network, giving even more positive exposure to your top users.
  • Write or record a fun 1:1 interview with the “user of the month.” If it aligns with your company culture, you could even create a funny, over-the-top type of trophy (perhaps take some inspiration from college football teams’ turnover gimmicks) for the user to proudly display on their desk while they hold the title.
  • Offer gift cards or company swag to the top users monthly or quarterly.

Tip #5: Take advantage of vendor or outside resources to execute quick wins

One of the best ways to drive the adoption of a new tool is to generate some quick wins. If you are having trouble delivering on a particular project or idea within the tool, whether due to inexperience or lack of internal resources, do not just push that project “down the road.” Users will get frustrated hearing repeatedly that the changes they desire are coming in a future phase or at a later date. You need wins!

  • Use your customer success manager. Many SaaS vendors will provide you with a dedicated customer success manager (CSM) to support your account. SaaS companies have recognized the importance of retaining clients. As a result, customer success roles grew at the sixth fastest rate in the U.S., according to LinkedIn’s 2020 Emerging Jobs Report. Take advantage of your CSM. Don’t fall into the trap of only talking with your CSM once a quarter to get a high-level update of what’s on their product roadmap. Their role is to make you successful and turn you into an advocate who will drive referrals for their product. Use them. Meet with them frequently to talk about ideas or projects you’re working on, and ask them to pull in resources on their side to help execute. Often they will be able to call in favors with technical resources, or they can connect you with other clients who can help talk you through how they solved a similar challenge.
  • Plan and budget for outside help (if possible). When making your pitch for the new technology, include some budget for your implementation partner, third-party agency or outside contractors to help administer the tool for a limited “warranty period” after launch; ideally, for 60 to 90 days. No matter how much user testing you do before the official launch of the technology, there will inevitably be bugs to fix or new ideas that you will want to be able to execute quickly. Having a plan and a budget for expert resources to help you deliver those wins will generate goodwill for the tool, ultimately increasing user adoption.

Maintaining or growing your martech budget year over year often depends upon your ability to demonstrate tool utilization and report on a strong ROI for your martech stack. Your users have to actively engage with your tools to have a chance to deliver on that positive ROI. To give your team and your tech stack the best chance at success, invest in user adoption strategies when implementing new tools.

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