I was recently asked my opinion on what marketing technologies are must-haves to successfully run a business in a commercial climate that is increasingly driven by digital engagement. The answer I gave was ‘how long is a piece of string?’.
As I got thinking about the tools I regularly rely on to help manage my business, I was surprised at both the length and complexity of the list (included at the end for reference purposes). The length because you rarely stop and think about just how many different tools you use on a daily basis, and the complexity, because we simply take their existence for granted. After all, shouldn’t technology ‘just work’ while seamlessly blending in to the background, clearing the way for the actual work to be accomplished?
Modern marketing owes so much to these systems and solutions we now use on a daily basis, and no one can deny the contribution it’s made to creating a much more robust management science. Gone are the days where Marketing was viewed as the ‘arts and crafts’ department, and we’ve replaced that perception with practices steeped in data, analysis and a much clearer understanding of our contribution towards P&L. This has only been possible thanks to the widespread acceptance of marketing technologies as a means to helping manage our business in a way that’s quicker, faster, measurable and therefore more efficient.
The democratization of tech through cloud-based SaaS products in particular, has paved the way for a dizzying choice of solutions. From CRM, marketing automation and social media monitoring, to web analytics and customer service solutions to name a few, no longer are integrated marketing platforms the sole domain of big companies. Today, whether you’re a small start-up or a global enterprise, every organization can find a solution that fits their budget, readiness and skillset without being tied down to a single vendor lock-in. And that’s a wonderful thing in itself.
So how do you navigate the minefield of choosing the right vendor solutions? Well since no two businesses are alike, the answer lies in applying common sense. Have really good insight into where you are in your growth timeline, and whether your business is ready for implementing what can often be complex and time-consuming technology integration projects. Make sure your solution choices are mission critical to managing your business, and apply discernment when deciding where and for how long to invest. You’ll ideally want a flexible solution that allows you to scale up or down based on business requirements, which is why it really is hard to beat cloud-based solutions that can allow you to flex usage as needed. Remember, it’s very easy to spend money on shiny new tools or vanity projects, so bear a thought for the people who’ll need to onboard and manage these technologies. Your team will be eternally grateful.
Salesforce (CRM, lead management, sales reporting)
Netsuite (financial management, ERP)
Pardot (Marketing Automation, lead scoring, predictive modeling, email marketing, landing page development, master data management)
Good Data (marketing campaign reporting)
Data.com (database/list building)
Recurly (subscription management)
WordPress (content management system)
Google Analytics (web visitor analytics)
Google AdWords (pay-per-click advertising programs)
Google Tag Manager (digital asset tag management)
Google Developer Tools (web property management, SEO)
Hootsuite (social media posting/listening/monitoring)
Go-to-Webinar (online webinar management tool)