A recent webinar hosted by Neolane, “Crack the Code – Getting C-Suite Buy-In for Your Marketing Tech Purchases” had a very interesting presentation by Suresh Vital from Forrester Research.
Based on a recent report on Marketing Technology Adoption for 2011, the findings of their research shed some light on the challenges we face when it comes to marketing technology.
The Goal of Marketing Software
The need for marketing software comes from the necessity to better understand customer behavior across multiple channels. Companies need to be able to track and measure customer interactions from a reliable source and that has driven a lot of the recent interest in Marketing Automation and Customer Intelligence technologies. The goal is to make use of cross channel marketing strategies to target the customer at the right moment and influence purchase decisions.
Not a new trend, but rather a need that has ben greatly amplified by the prevalence of social media channels which in turn is making companies look for technology solutions. Without solid customer data, cross channel strategies become increasingly difficult to implement.
Marketers as Technologists
According to Forrester’s research, data driven marketers are divided about technology investments. 53% of Customer Intelligence professionals (those who own the customer data and are responsible for customer analytics) consider themselves as technology leaders while 47% said they were technology followers.
While personalities play a role, I think corporate policies and the marketing leadership play a big role in shaping up how marketing technology is brought into the company.
Mobile technologies were also a clear trend for 2011, having the majority of marketers saying they are planning on using or increasing the use of mobile marketing technology. Improving customer experience across channels was also top of mind.
Technology and the Marketing Budget
Technology accounts for 10 to 14% of the marketing budget, according to the research. Marketers are starting to play a strong role in defining the needs and in the selection process when it comes to purchasing marketing technology. This is a shift from the traditional back-seat marketers take for software purchases, typically letting the IT department decide.
27% of marketers say they are the final decision makers
Adoption Problems with Marketing Technology
A surprising finding was that the most important criteria for selection of marketing technology is cost, quickly followed by functional alignment.
82% of respondents say cost is number one factor in deciding marketing technology
This means marketers are settling for solutions that are more economical as long as they match most of their needs. Those solutions that praise themselves for being the all encompassing [fill in the blank] for marketing may be surprised to find out that they are losing deals to lesser competitors simply because of pricing, but that’s not all they should focus on.
As part of the adoption issues, the research found out that the top three barriers for using marketing technology are:
- 49% Cost
- 47% Uncertain ROI
- 40% No Budget
This makes sense. With markeeting budgets still being threatened due to economic uncertainty, marketers are pressed to justify their purchases and show ROI. New tools on the block (social media monitoring and others are the likely candidates) may have a tough time showing solid ROI, therefore their purchases being delayed. Vendors should therefore really work with their customers and prospects in trying to justify the purchase. Marketers also need to work on their justifications and their business cases to make senior management understand why a technology can help the company especially when Facebook, Twitter, and other channels are still a mystery for most corporate executives.