Over the last decade, marketing has become increasingly dependent on technology — requiring new skills and processes and creating new challenges.
As A/E/C marketers look to empower their efforts with technology solutions, the challenge of keeping up with all the available tools — and deciding which ones to use — can be overwhelming. But fear not! This article is intended to help marketers navigate the complex world of marketing technology.
MarTech Today defines Marketing Technology (a.k.a. MarTech) as “the blending of marketing and technology. Major initiatives, efforts and tools that harnesses technology to achieve marketing goals and objectives.” And MarTech is loaded with benefits for marketers: it empowers them to better listen to and engage their target audiences; it helps to amplify their reach; it allows them to build smarter and more effective campaigns; and it ultimately helps them to better measure the success of their efforts and the contribution to the bottom line.
Back in 2011, when Scott Brinker, editor of ChiefMarTec.com, began tracking the growth of MarTech with his Marketing Technology Landscape Supergraphic, there were only around 150 solutions on the market. Fast forward to 2018 and the landscape has seen a 4,453% increase in solutions now available to marketers.
Today there are nearly 7,000 marketing software vendors, which include tools for website content management, CRM, email marketing, social media management, content marketing, SEO and collaboration among many others.
While there are thousands of tools available, not all of them are relevant for A/E/C marketers. In fact, many of the offerings that appear on the supergraphic are not applicable at all. So which tools are helpful to the A/E/C industry and which ones aren’t? Here’s a rundown of five relevant categories of MarTech and some of the key tools to consider:
While advertising is not as primary in the A/E/C industry as it may be in others, there is still a need to get your firm’s message out into the marketplace. Some of the options in this category are not relevant (e.g. mobile advertising and display/programmatic advertising), while others are certainly worth considering, specifically, paid search, social media advertising and digital PR.
Content and experience are two of the most important words in a modern marketer’s lexicon. And it’s in this category that A/E/C marketers will likely find the most comprehensive and practical tools for their marketing efforts.
Engaging target audiences and deepening relationships with clients and prospects is a cornerstone objective for marketing and business development. And while marketers may not need or want to use call center tracking, loyalty marketing or a live chat feature on their website, there are several other social and relationship tools that are must-haves.
A/E/C marketers may not have the same degree of “big data” that their retail and B2C counterparts produce. But there are several tools for web analytics and dashboards/data visualization that can be a huge benefit to marketers.
With all of the parts and pieces that make up today’s increasingly complex marketing plans, managing the execution of those plans on a day-to-day basis can be a challenge. Marketing teams at every firm can benefit from the better collaboration and project management that technology can provide.
While technology can do some impressive (and ridiculously fun!) things, it has to be approached strategically — closely aligned to support a firm’s marketing plan and content strategy. Marketers need to avoid the mistake of being wowed by every shiny new tool that comes along. As tools are identified to meet functional needs and are mapped to specific objectives, it will become clear which technologies are must-haves versus nice-to-haves (and must-have laters).
It’s also essential to look at MarTech use holistically, to know what tools are being used and how they (should) work together as one cohesive unit to support a firm’s marketing efforts. As marketers build their firm’s MarTech stack (a “stack” is the nickname given to the grouping of technologies that marketers leverage to perform marketing activities), they should continue to audit what they’re using and review its utilization and performance on a regular basis.
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