The Ever-Expanding Role of the Modern Martech Stack
At last official count, Scott Brinker, CEO of ChiefMartec.com shared that there were over 7,040 types of martech on the market, and the average enterprise uses over 1,000 cloud services across all departments. Brinker maintains that the decentralization of martech has created a post-platform era. “The dream of one-suite-to-rule-them-all has been superseded by a vision of many open platform-like tools being woven together in a more dynamic fashion. Some will be big, foundational platforms; many will be small, specialized platforms. All of them will give more power to marketers to shape their craft in a digital everything world.”
Martech Stack Orchestration
In much the same way that sales, marketing and technology must be aligned in order to achieve business goals, individual martech tools must also align and work together — this is known as martech stack orchestration. Like a musical orchestra, each system, tool and platform serves as an instrument that the CMO (the conductor) must lead his marketing ops team (the musicians) to skillfully wield in order to create the kind of revenue generating customer journeys that are music to the ears of the CEO and shareholder’s (the audience).
Choosing Martech That Aligns With Goals
All of the pieces that comprise your martech stack are in place for one purpose: to create a performance driven environment that fosters the achievement of big picture business objectives. If you are like most marketers, you evaluate your stack every six months to ensure it is on course to meet both short- and long-term goals. To help you choose tools that align with your marketing mission, we recommend using a martech checklist that enables you to weigh your needs and wants and compare solutions without losing focus (hello, shiny object syndrome) on what’s important to you and your team.
Martech Evaluation Checklist
- What overall business goal(s) will this solution help us meet? (List all that apply)
- What are the sales and marketing issues that it solves? (List all that apply)
- Will this solution integrate seamlessly with the other tech in my stack?
- If yes, are the integrations pre-built or will I need IT’s help?
- Is there an opportunity to build integrations if pre-built integrations are not available?
- What processes performed by this solution can be automated?
- What manual steps are required in order for my team to use this solution?
- What types of data will this solution gather?
- How can the data from this solution be used?
- What type of data does the solution use, i.e. first-party, second-party, third-party?
- What metrics are used to measure the overall performance of the solution?
- What metrics will demonstrate its impact on business objectives?
- How are insights gleaned and shared?
- Does the solution provide real-time reporting capabilities?
- Does this solution have cross-channel capabilities?
- If yes, are the capabilities built-in or do they require additional tools and integrations?
- How does the solution secure customer and business data?
- What happens if there is a breach?
- Does the solution require training?
- If yes, how is it provided, on-site or online?
- Will martech training be sufficient, or will it require new talent to use it?
- What skills are required for your team to manage the martech?
- If there is an issue, how are problems resolved?
- What is the average timeline for resolving an issue?
- How is ongoing maintenance performed?
- What companies are currently using this solution?
- How are they using the solution? (case studies)
- What is the initial investment required?
- What are the ongoing costs?
- Are there other costs that need to be considered?
Fostering Martech Adoption and Managing Change
Choosing the right martech for your team out of 7,040+ options is only part of the battle in your quest for optimized marketing operations. In order to realize all of the amazing benefits your new tool(s) offer, you will need team buy-in. Otherwise, your investment will be lost and so will the goals you so desperately wanted your tech to help you fulfill. According to a Forbes article, 70 percent of change programs fail to achieve goals because of employee resistance. Corporate organizational author, Carsten Tams believes that the way to address this issue is to take a “crowd-sourcing approach to organizational change” wherein organizations drive change “at scale, by making it more inclusive and continuous.”
Creating a Culture That’s Open to Change
The Great Place to Work Institute is a research organization responsible for creating all of the Best Places to Work lists for Fortune magazine. Decades of research have shown that one of the primary characteristics that all great places have in common is a sense of camaraderie with fellow employees and leaders. People not only want to enjoy the work they do, they want to trust and enjoy being around the people they work with. For many people, coworkers and leaders at their workplace serve as a sort of surrogate family. This should come as no surprise since most Americans spend more waking hours with workmates than with their actual families.
Put Yourself in Their Shoes
Now, think about your actual family. What would your level of resistance be if when you arrived home today, your spouse announced an “executive decision” had been made? Then, your spouse proceeded to enthusiastically share that this expensive new purchase would require you to learn something new, but in the long run, it’s what’s best for both of you in reaching your goals as a couple. Even if the intent of your spouse was good, it’s still off-putting. Why? Because you assumed you were part of a team, yet you were treated as if your input on a major decision was not needed. Most people will have some resistance to change if it is announced or communicated to them after a decision has been made that they were not originally a part of.
Make Employees Part of the Process
If you want to overcome employee resistance and be one of the 30-percenters (companies where change programs succeed) you’ll need to secure buy-in from the beginning. Yes, it will take much more time, effort, patience and meetings, but the rewards will be worth it all. In order to help them, help you, we recommend doing the following:
1. Form a Change Management Team — If your department is too large to include all employees in the process, invite them to volunteer or nominate coworkers to represent them. Most will nominate the people who are influencers in the department, which is a win-win for everyone.
2. Outline the Process — Change management meetings thrive when there is an agenda to follow and everyone understands what is expected. A good place to begin is the bi-annual review of your martech stack. Once needs and wants have been listed, you can create a timeline for researching vendors, shortlisting best options, inviting a mix of employees to participate in demos, and communicating decisions in a timely and ongoing manner.
3. Survey Everyone – When options have been narrowed concerning new tech, be sure to include all other employees in the decision process via a short survey. First, tell folks the reason for the survey. For example: After a review of our current marketing technology, our Change Management Team has recommended we add “XYZ” software. The team has researched vendors that fit our budget and narrowed the list to three contenders; however, we need your input in order to make the best decision.
- Have you heard of Option A? Option B? Option C?
- What is your impression of Option A? Option B? Option C?
- How would you see XYZ software benefitting you in your daily work activities?
- What are your fears, if any, concerning XYZ software?
The wonderful thing about employee surveys is they dictate your communication points for you. You’ll know how they perceive vendors, what benefits are most interesting to them, and what fears are holding them back. You can also discover interesting things about vendors, such as my friend works at Acme and they had a problem with the vendor for Option A, etc.
4. Communicate Everything – Throughout the process it’s important to communicate progress, as well as how the change will roll out once the new technology is added. If the new technology requires significant training or there will be service outages during data migrations or stack integrations, let people know ahead of time so they can plan around it. Lastly, equip folks with a quick-start sheet that features contact information for support in the event of an unexpected issue.
5. Get Feedback From Everyone – Once the dust has settled, ask employees for feedback about the process. What was most helpful to them? What was the most difficult part? What would they recommend be done differently next time?
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