You that know you should purchase marketing technology (martech) for your company.
The issue: You don’t know how to evaluate it to ensure you purchase the right martech to meet your organization’s needs.
Marketing technology can be complex, but this guide explains how to make purchasing it easy.
What to Avoid When Purchasing Marketing Technology
Here are some simple things to NOT do when evaluating tech solutions,
Falling in love at first sight. In this case, a business owner or marketing professional sees a demo and comes away believing it will solve all their problems. These types of tech relationships almost always fail fast. Keep cool, calm, and collected when tech shopping.
Buying the same tech as a competitor. Just because other firms in your industry use a solution doesn’t mean you should, too. You need to seek out tech that’s right for your specific business needs. Work with vendors to find ideal solutions for your company no matter what other companies in your sector are using.
Selecting the winner. Don’t buy something just because it’s “number one” or highly rated. High praise doesn’t mean it’s the best tech for you. Plus, ratings are often goosed to favor big tech suppliers and large advertisers. Of course, it’s essential to check ratings and reviews before purchasing martech. However, it shouldn’t be the only thing you consider.
Jerry rigging. In this case, you already have some technology and extend its use for another purpose. While it may work — sort of — it will typically result in a bad user experience and low productivity. Every tech solution serves a unique purpose, and you should respect that.
Turning it over to someone else. In this case, the business owner or marketing expert abdicates the decision, turning it over to someone else (usually a consultant). This almost always results in poor tech purchases. Always take responsibility for making your own technology purchasing decisions.
Depending on a spreadsheet. In this case, you list, rank, and weigh all your feature requirements against vendor proposals to identify the best solution. In the real world, however, when it comes to marketing software, pure math doesn’t always add up. Leverage left- and right-brain thinking whenever you evaluate martech solutions. They must make sense, AND you have to love them.
Now that we’ve covered what NOT to do when checking out marketing technology, let’s look at a better way.
The Right Way to Evaluate Martech: Design Thinking
Before considering any martech, you must acknowledge that you’re not necessarily looking for the best solution but rather the best-fitting solution for your particular needs. You must define your requirements, capabilities, resources, risk tolerance, specific business objectives, and anything that could influence your decision.
Seeking out a good fit is liberating because you dispense with the impossible job of identifying a universally ideal solution. Fit is also empowering because it allows you to take a personal approach to vetting solutions. It helps you avoid that nagging feeling that something suitable for everyone else isn’t ideal for you.
This approach to evaluating marketing technology, no matter its purpose, is known as design thinking. It’s a methodology centered on empathy, ideation, reason, and testing. Design thinking is usually characterized as:
Hands-on and test-oriented
Design thinking is ideal for business owners and marketers selecting marketing technology who want to deliver better experiences for tech users.
How to Get Started With Design Thinking
Design thinking begins with making the business case for new or replacement marketing tech solutions. Document the top five to ten business objectives for the new technology. This will provide a sound foundation to guide your selection and implementation teams. When you reach decision points, such as adding or eliminating options for consideration, this list becomes your key touchstone.
Next, identify your selection team. Ensure it includes business decision-makers and actual users of the technology. Once you do that, you can start identifying, evaluating, testing, and eventually buying martech software. Allow enough time to come up with the ideal solution, which can sometimes take months. Never rush your decision.
How to Evaluate Martech Solutions
Too often, tech evaluation focuses too much on features and too little on use cases. Avoid depending on checkbox requirement sheets. In most situations, software sellers have figured out how to check ALL the boxes.
Instead, center your buying process on user stories, which are short, real-life narratives that describe your marketing processes, anticipated business results, and, most importantly, the people, including your prospects, customers, and employees interacting with the system. These narratives must reflect idealized future experiences after the tech is implemented, not your current situation. This is the time to be aspirational.
User stories are key to a purchasing process centered on humans. They will:
Be the basis for RFPs
Provide relevant use cases for demonstrations
Guide your vetting and testing processes
Your stories don’t have to be perfect. You can improve them as you learn more during each stage of the purchase process.
Explore solutions from as many potential suppliers as possible. It will give you the best odds of finding an optimal martech product. Start with a long list, then whittle it down based on sales conversations, demos, and hands-on trials with real users until you find the ideal marketing technology for your organization.
Remember: We’ve laid out a real-world, test-based process. You can always return to the start if a solution you’re considering isn’t ideal. Always trust your instincts if something doesn’t seem quite right. Do your due diligence at your own pace — not a vendor’s.