There are thousands of technology solutions available to us marketers today. Solutions have been developed to respond to almost any challenge marketers face, and technology has become a marketer’s most effective tool.
I had a very technical start to my career, and with my background I’ve always looked to solve challenges through technology. Now as a marketer, having technological know-how has become my competitive advantage. Almost everything in marketing today — from automated lead routing based on predictive scoring to personalized digital experiences through automation — relies on technology. It’s up to the marketing leaders in the organization to instill a culture of learning new technology onto the marketing team.
Here are a few suggestions for marketers looking to make technology their competitive advantage:
Be involved in the technology decisions made by your team. Understand the requirements needed from a technology solution to solve your challenges. Learn the functionality different vendors provide. Technology most likely will be one of the largest budget line items. Be involved in how that spend is occurring. Just as you would not hire an ad agency without looking at the creative assets, you also should not buy a technology solution without understanding what benefits it provides. Look under the hood.
Use technology for your most strategic initiatives. Even if you have an unlimited technology budget (unheard of), you can quickly become overwhelmed with all the potential additions to your tech stack. Prioritize and avoid building an unwieldy behemoth. Technology that is meant to make your marketing agile will do the opposite if you are not careful.
Ensure you are staffed appropriately to leverage your tech stack. Don’t let a sizable investment in technology go fallow. One of the best CMOs I know said she only agreed to accept her new role if they agreed to add 10 technical resources to her team. She realized the tech-savvy team was the key to her and the organization’s success. Likewise, the majority of my team has tech expertise on various marketing solutions.
Empower your team with technical knowledge. Every single person on the marketing team needs technical skills. While this need is obvious for certain positions, like the marketing automation manager using software like Marketo to build and deploy email campaigns, even the field event manager needs to know how to use your CRM to build an invitation target list or see how many opportunities the event generated. Give your team the skills to be successful, and invest in training for them. Team members with the strongest technical aptitude also need investment in training. Tech skills have a two-year shelf life before becoming obsolete.
With the growing number of marketing solutions available today, make sure you’re making the right choices for your team. Know what solutions best serve your marketing goals, and provide your team with the training to be successful.