Adapting to changes in customer behavior is a major concern for brands in 2021. The increased competition has further compelled top marketing leaders to make quick changes to their marketing plans. Flexibility, thoughtfulness, and persistence are at test.
In 2021, businesses are constantly looking for innovative ways to reach their customers without being pushy. The marketing landscape has completely changed. There have been several predictions for the IT industry post COVID. One of the key takeaways was the vitality of marketing technology to implement a sound marketing strategy. Marketing technology, or MarTech is an umbrella term for software and tools that help brands achieve marketing goals or objectives.
What is Marketing Technology or MarTech?
Marketing Technology or MarTech is an all-inclusive term for software that allows marketers to plan, implement, and analyze marketing campaigns. MarTech has become more important than ever In the digital first era. These tech tools help marketers to streamline and automate marketing processes to drive better results. The role of MarTech is not restricted to only implementation. It allows businesses to collect and understand their customers by simplifying data into tangible analytics.
A brand can find and connect with different buyer personas with reduced efforts using marketing technology. When a business can align their MarTech stack to their customer experience journey, the results are fruitful. A win-win for both marketers and customers, marketing technology is on the rise post-COVID. The number of MarTech solutions grew from 992 in 2019 to 8,000 in 2020.
Why is MarTech Essential in 2021 and Beyond?
2020 was one of the most challenging years for marketers all around the world. The year belonged to those who responded well to the digital first landscape. Digital first meant marketers needed to employ technology that helps them deliver a seamless online customer experience.
Be it luxury retail, non-profits or even the pharma industry, the impact was felt everywhere. Initially, it was difficult for marketers to deliver the experience customers expected. This led to the rise of marketing technology as it was agile, fast, and easy to use. Now, marketing technology has become an essential part of marketing. It has become the prime differentiator among brands in 2021. A fitting example of how MarTech can impact businesses is New York Road Runners (NYRR).
NYRR is the world's largest running organization. It hosts thousands of runners in over 60 annual races, including the New York City Marathon and 5 half marathons. They suffered a setback due to COVID-19 and were looking for ways to reach their audiences via online mediums. With our tech team stepping in, NYRR was able to interact with their audience with engaging virtual sessions. Not only this, NYRR also explored new avenues of revenue with intelligent human-machine collaborations.
4 Key Stages to Create an Ideal MarTech Strategy
Digital innovation is vital for businesses in 2021. So, businesses need to accept and analyze the changes to move forth with the transition. An ideal MarTech strategy involves careful consideration of business needs, resources, and organizational adaptability. When marketers are aware of business goals and requirements, it becomes simpler to understand the MarTech strategy.
Creating a suitable MarTech strategy that aligns with business vision is not a complex task when done strategically. Top marketers around the globe follow the 4-stage plan to select the ideal marketing technology.
Stage 1: Planning
The cornerstone of a great strategy is finding the needs of the business. So, the first stage includes identification of needs for the marketing technology. These needs majorly revolve around customer experience and the marketing channels. A good plan is equipped with rich insights that accelerate your marketing strategy to fulfil business goals and customer expectations.
Stage 2: Resource Planning
The MarTech plan and roadmap are set in the first stage. Marketers are required to assess the training needs for people involved in the implementation of the MarTech strategy. These trainings are primarily designed for employees, top leaders, partners, and teams to get accustomed to the MarTech strategy. A diligent marketer ensures that the marketing team is structured, trained and ready to handle redefined roles and strategies.
Stage 3: Platform Selection
The third stage is a union of the insights mined out from stage 1 and stage 2. So, stage 3 starts after a business is aware of the needs and resources needed for fulfillment. It involves selecting the right marketing tools to help build and employ the marketing strategy. This is the most vital step. Technology powers all the marketing operations ranging from advertising, promotion and sales to content, data, and customer management.
Key Tip: 2021 is the time to rethink your digital landscape, if the old systems in place are not working.
Stage 4: Assessment and Analysis
Employing MarTech is a big decision for brands as it might sometimes lead to major changes in the way they function. So, it’s important for marketers to understand the impact of these changes in the long run. It can be divided in two parts. The implementation of MarTech solution(s) and how marketing runs with MarTech platforms in place. Remember it’s about speed, adaptability, testing and optimization.
5 Actionable Tips to Avoid MarTech Mistakes
MarTech has become a staple in digital marketing campaigns. They can also be used to optimize marketing efforts across any marketing channel. A sound MarTech strategy can accelerate marketing efforts and enable businesses to fulfill strategic business goals with ease. However, businesses need to support their MarTech strategy with a skilled team and agile resources to stay on the desired roadmap. It is easier said than done but it is possible if marketers follow these five recommendations.
Cut down costs at the expense of growth
This is one of the biggest mistakes that can make a bad financial situation worse. More importantly, a business can almost never save enough to be profitable. This is especially true for entrepreneurs who are in the early days of their bootstrapped startup’s journey. So, the focus should be clear from day one.
When the priority is growth, cutting down expenses on marketing is a bad idea. Marketing efforts take time and repetition to register and generate impactful results. It is recommended to be prepared So, even if MarTech implementation affects input costs initially, it is an ideal way to gain profits in the longer run.
Setting unrealistic targets with MarTech reforms
This point emphasizes on the importance of stage one of the planning process. When business goals, needs and capabilities are not coordinated, MarTech implementation can do more damage than good. So, marketers need to ensure that the targets and expectations of everybody involved in the transition are real. Setting unrealistic targets can severely impact businesses eventually and can even lead to their downfall.
Short-term ramifications of unrealistic goal setting are missed delivery dates, compromised work quality, overrunning costs and resource unavailability. Long-term ramifications include low team morale, mismanagement, and increased employee turnover.
Failure to align marketing efforts with consumer behavioral change
Even after doing everything right, there are times when a marketer is unable to facilitate conversions smoothly. The same tricks that worked for you earlier might not work today as customer behavior is extremely volatile. The best example of the rapid shift in consumer behavioral change is the coronavirus pandemic. It is also a notable example of how businesses failure to align their marketing efforts rapidly with these changes.
After 2020, an agile customer experience strategy that makes businesses capable to handle behavioral changes is needed. When marketers are not aware of these changes, the time, money and effort put in by the marketing team is wasted.
Onboard digital agency haphazardly
One of the most important aspects of the MarTech implementation processes includes hiring an experienced agency that helps smoothen the transition. Therefore, choosing a digital solutions agency that understands your business requirements and team is necessary. Read about the agency’s earlier work in the same field or industry. This is useful to understand the working and caliber of the agency. Collect reviews from their clients and see if their work inspires you to go forward with your ideas.
Shortlist a few top ones, and then the one that suits all your requirements is the one to go for. Do not hesitate or think twice about the time involved, as good things take time. Businesses finding it difficult to break up with their current digital agency due to safety reasons should not panic.
Not factor-in security risks during the digital transformation journey
Applying marketing technology and assessing the results is a long-term process. MarTech implementation can be a complex and overwhelming change for some businesses. So, brands need to give time to every process involved in this journey.
Marketers also need to diligently consider and be ready against any risks that might come up in the future. Marketers should not push the digital transformation process without careful consideration of future security risks. Doing this may significantly decrease the efficiency of the implemented MarTech strategy.
Be prepared against all potential risks as unexpected changes in market or customer behavior may cause panic in the marketing team. Businesses that know what potential threats and risks can affect their marketing game; they are prepared for anything and everything.
Align Your MarTech To Your Business Vision in 2021
When the focus on efficiency of MarTech tools is more than targeted audience or the marketing strategy, failure is almost certain. So, this is not the right approach to achieve optimized results. Marketers that prioritize business needs and create a plan accordingly are more likely to generate better output.
Once the marketing plan is ready, the business needs to assess the resources and tools required to implement it. Then comes the time to equip the team with required skills before finalizing MarTech tools. This allows businesses to save time, money, and effort simultaneously while driving traffic, leads and conversions.
If businesses are clear about what they need, MarTech is the way to go for 2021 and beyond. Whether you are a B2B or B2C marketer, hiring an innovative consultant with proven experience can speed up the transition safely.