The Secret Sauce for Buying Effective Marketing Technology
With enough time and money, you can do anything -- but you are probably limited on both
By Chrissy Clary
Buying marketing technology isn’t always easy, but sometimes we make it harder on ourselves than it needs to be. And when you don’t have a clear plan or road map, it’s easy to get overtaken by the sales process and end up buying more than you need. I’ve been on more MarTech implementation projects than I can count. And while I always got the project launched, each time I learned a few hard lessons along the way. I recommend that if you find yourself in the role of the purchaser, you start by working through the following recommendations. What’s the problem? Sorry to start basic, but it is essential to begin by clearly stating and agreeing on the problem that needs to be solved. For instance, my problem is that I need paying customers. To generate qualified leads I am planning an email drip campaign, a monthly subscriber newsletter, and a lead generating landing page. I am also going to want to duplicate these tactics with different content when selling various products and targeting other markets. I also demand data -- relevant data that is easy to access and interpret. What does your boss expect -- and is it realistic? In my situation, the administration and the employees are all the same people, and that makes scoping the project a little easier. You can run into scope problems when the decision makers and the users’ needs are different. A bad, but oh-too-common, scenario: Your boss shows up at your desk letting you know that you will be in charge of implementing some new communication tool that is sure to make your life easier and includes more features than you could use in years! I have been the person looking at my boss trying to choking down a quiet scream. In this scenario, a tool has been purchased, and we must make our needs match the machine that was selected, rather than buying something that does what we need in the first place. Hence, leadership should identify the problem and the allocated budget, users should determine the functionality needed. Who will my users be? Speaking of users. Who are they? Your users are the people who will interact with the tool or the campaigns that result from the apparatus. As you are working to define your project requirements, you should start by listing each user, naming them and identifying their role in regards to this product, service, or tool. For example, you may define Content Publisher as someone who will to edit and load the copy.
- Your list will be a little different for each project, but at the start of each identify who the users are and what role they play.
- Don’t get hung up on terminology. You can name your user roles anything you want, as long as it makes sense to the project team.
- Sometimes one person may perform different tasks. In my scenario, I am the analyst, strategist, administrator, and designer.
- Do we already have something we can use to support my identified user stories?
- Can the tools be used without compromising any priority user stories?
- If I use something I already have, will I save on setup, licensee, and training costs?
This compilation of recommendations is timely as I am working to find a solution for the Digital Communications Group. Here are the user stories for our project: As a content publisher, I want to have the ability to edit or add text to a landing page or email. As a strategist, I want the ability to see the click-throughs from emails, open rates, and campaign conversions. As a strategist, I want the ability to perform A/B testing on my campaigns. As a strategist, I want the ability to set up campaigns using the design and content provided. As a strategist, I want the ability to make quick iterative changes to the campaigns. As a designer, I want the ability to upload photos for use on my landing pages and in my email campaigns. As a designer, I want to build email and landing page templates that can be easily reused for multiple campaigns. As a web user, I want to read the content delivered in emails and on landing pages. As a web user, I want the ability to complete a form to submit a lead. As a web user, I want to receive messages that are personalized to my needs. As the administrator, I want the ability to upgrade the system as needed to improve performance and security. As the administrator, I want the ability to assign and manage user roles. As the administrator, I want to make sure my messages and data collection are GDPR-compliant.
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