As your Marketing Stack grows, and it inevitably will, it’s important to recognize the challenges of adopting new technologies and implementing them into your processes and strategy. According to the State of Marketing Technology 2016: Understanding the New MarTech Buyer Journey, 35% of marketers identify implementation as one of the top obstacles to MarTech adoption, followed shortly behind by resistance to change, lack of buy-in and information.
Even more surprising, the complexity of integrating new technologies was noted as an even greater challenge than overcoming budget restrictions. This reason topped the list with 52% of individuals surveyed citing this as an obstacle to adoption in a report conducted by Ascend2, Informatica, and Dun & Bradstreet. It’s not surprising that there are so many challenges that organizations face in the process of testing, adopting and implementing new tools.
There are, however, certain precautions you can take to ensure implementing new technologies will not be a burden, but rather serve their specific purpose of optimizing marketing efforts and bringing value to the organization.
Keep your team in the loop. There is nothing worse than feeling like a complex tool has just been dropped in your lap. Try to avoid doing this to any key stakeholder. We’re not insisting that they have to go to every demo call, but make sure you’ve sat down and consulted their main pain points and expectations from the beginning. Those who will be most hands on with the tool should be integral in the buying process. They should be given the opportunity to test it extensively and understand the time commitment and any obstacles they may face in implementation from the outset. There is no better way to delay rollout by making your technical team work with a tool they see as a poor fit or simply don’t like working with.
On the other hand, you also need to manage the expectations of executives or less technical users. Communicate the features designed to meet their needs, who will play a role in setting up the tool or actively use it, and what they can expect the tool to ultimately do for their marketing efforts. This open line of communication and support will help break down difficult barriers before implementation begins.
Don’t let unreasonable timelines spoil your fancy new MarTech tool’s implementation. Before you contract any tool, you need to have conversations both internally and with the vendor to establish realistic timelines. Consider the requirements needed internally, such as how many team members will be involved, the amount of time needed to set up the solution, whether the tool should be implemented company-wide right away or introduced in various stages to allow for user testing. Gather information from the vendor such as their role or the level of support they provide for the implementation and an estimate of hours needed from both the vendor and your organization.
You may opt to implement the tool first to a smaller group of users prior to the full roll out, or in stages based on logical tasks and team availability. This strategy can be helpful as the initial implementation may highlight challenges that could be easily avoided or resolved when implementing the tool on a wider scale later on. For example, if you’re implementing a reporting tool, you may choose to start with a small portion of your marketing department in order to see how much work is needed and how to optimize tasks. You may recognize that your marketing team doesn’t have a clear idea of what they truly want to measure, so you may consider setting up a library of KPIs they can access. Ask them to consider if these indicate how well they are meeting their objectives, and if they are to add them to their dashboard!
Defining roles involved in the implementation and continual running of any tool can be controversial if not communicated properly from the get go. Proper planning can reduce inefficiencies such as repeated work, and make sure that implementation is not stalled as individuals fail to take responsibility for key tasks. Make sure your team is well aware of everyone’s role in the roll out of your next MarTech solution:
As we mentioned before, the fastest way to overwhelm your executives is to drop a new tool on them without any clear instructions or orientation. Discuss training opportunities with the vendor to find out what educational opportunities and resources are available to you and your staff. If training sessions are available from the vendor, make sure the right people attend the right sessions to ensure they know the tool’s functionality and the possibilities it presents. Furthermore, take your vendor up on opportunities to attend webinars, new feature fairs, or simply read their blog, you may discover features or opportunities that you hadn’t considering using the tool for initially.
A study from Symantec found that a shocking 51 percent of marketing executives believe that their marketing technologies and data are only loosely integrated. Educating marketers on the values of a tool, how it fits into the stack and can work with other technologies, as well as the internal strategy for using it plays a major role in successfully implementing any tool.
Besides taking vendors up on possible trainings, webinars, and exploring their resources, plan internal trainings to clearly define company objectives and strategy up front. Rather than just giving the greenlight to your team to start exploring a tool, give them objectives, timelines, and use cases to fully understand how they are expected to use the tool and what they should be gaining from it. Helping executives to understand tools fully also combats common problems such as lack of knowledge, buy-in and even resistance to change.
Also, remember that while the tool can help support you in achieving your objectives, its success in doing so is often accompanied by cultural change. Reinforce your mission with internal communication and continual education on what you are trying to achieve for the best results.
Be it monthly, quarterly, or what have you, check in with your team regularly to make sure they are using contracted tools for their intended purposes. Regular check-ins ensure executives understand the purpose of the tools, they are using them to make better decisions, and they can voice their concerns.
Your MarTech stack will likely be growing as your marketing efforts expand so use this review to see what’s missing from your stack, if your tools could work even better
with the addition of another, or you find tools that overlap or you believe to be redundant, this is the time to voice that.
Investing in Marketing Technology has become essential for businesses of all sizes, make sure you are getting the most of your investment by providing a solid implementation and support plan.
We’d love to hear about your marketing implementation experiences. What did you do to ensure a smooth integration experience?
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