While interesting and widely referenced, many of the logo-centric infographics are not all that useful for determining which technologies to invest in – and, more importantly, why.
Instead of re-hashing existing efforts (which are NOT trivial and incredibly useful) I wanted to provide CMOs with a tool they could use to actually determine which technologies to invest in and how to measure the impact on the business. In other words, how do all these logos fit into your priorities as marketers and how do they actually address your management objectives as a CMO? With over 57 different categories of marketing technology to consider, it’s no wonder CMOs at midsize B2B organizations are overwhelmed.
Navigating the Technology Blueprint
The Midsize B2B CMO Technology Blueprint is designed to be a tool for mid-to-early enterprise business-to-business companies with between 50 and 1,000 employees. While there are a variety of ways we can cut the market, including revenue, the complexity of managing go-to-market strategy grows exponentially as employee headcount expands to over a thousand – so this was our threshold for classifying mid-size organizations in this infographic.
By the way both the infographic and a guide to the infographic can be downloaded for free (with no form capture) from gleanster.com. Use them and share them as you see fit.
You’ll notice that a tiny subset of the available technologies are actually recommended in the blueprint. That’s because not all technologies are appropriate or realistic for the vast majority of midsize B2B firms. (Yes, we may have missed some, so shoot us a note at [email protected] if you’re passionate about something we missed.)
In fact, you should make a special note of technologies we have classified as “mission critical.” These represent tools that are 1) widely adopted among Midsize B2B Top Performing organizations from our survey data and 2) good sources of competitive differentiation
From a business value standpoint, your job as a CMO is threefold: cost savings and efficiency, revenue growth, and customer satisfaction. All of your management objectives, incentives, and variable compensation metrics can be directly or indirectly linked to these three areas of business value. In a B2B environment a CMO is typically tasked with maximizing customer lifecycle engagement. Although according to research over 70% of CMOs are evaluated and compensated based on customer acquisition metrics. (Don’t forget that you can automate retention and expansion efforts with the same technology that is used to drive customer acquisition revenue.)
There are only four areas of strategic investment you can focus your budget, time, resources, and energy on: marketing operations, brand awareness/customer acquisition, customer retention/customer expansion, and customer loyalty. All marketing technologies directly or indirectly address one of these four areas – or they are virtually useless to you from a return-on-investment perspective. That makes it a little easier to segment the vendor landscape. However, as you can see, lots of technologies are actually quite good at addressing multiple priorities, and we had to make some tough decisions about where to draw the line. That also means there may be some overlap in the features and technologies you invest in to support marketing. That’s okay and you probably can’t avoid it. But you do want to avoid having multiple systems that clearly deliver identical functionality – for example multiple email tools, an email and marketing automation tool, etc.
Platform is the New P in the Marketing Mix
Over the last 5 years there was a great deal of consolidation in the marketing landscape, largely among best-of-breed providers, and it had an impact on midsize B2B companies. You probably experienced vendor relationships that suddenly turned into Oracle or Salesforce.com relationships through acquisitions. Today the concepts of a “marketing cloud” and “customer experience” are common terms for defining consolidated portfolio offerings among large suite providers like Salesforce.com, Oracle, and Adobe. The truth is, we are probably 7-10 years from widespread adoption of comprehensive suite offerings that are currently positioned as “marketing cloud” platforms. To complicate things further, there is actually no standardization among features and solution offerings in marketing cloud portfolios; it’s a catch-all term for whatever acquisitions the vendors have made.
Should a midsize CMO be worried about this marketing cloud stuff? Yes and no. It’s very unlikely you have the resources or budget to rip and replace existing legacy solutions with a comprehensive marketing cloud stack of technologies from a single vendor. It’s also unlikely that the single vendor solution will actually deliver a solution that’s integrated at this point. Integration among acquired offerings leaves much to be desired – despite what the vendors tell you. It still requires a ton of customization that your limited budget and IT team probably can’t support without investment in consultants and systems integrators. In most cases from a cost perspective the marketing cloud as a comprehensive offering is really only accessible to large enterprise early adopters at this point.
But you should be thinking about your organization’s marketing cloud, which is more than likely a mishmash of vendors and solutions, some hosted and some on-premise, that support your go-to-market channels. From this perspective you do want to look for gaps in how you support the four pillars of strategic investment on the technology blueprint and consider filling those to round out your marketing cloud. Likewise, you may want to swap out some legacy solutions for next-generation tools or offerings that don’t support all the channels you want or integrate with existing CRM, finance, and IT systems.
I recommend you print the blueprint and highlight all the tools you currently use, then take a look at what’s left over to see if it makes sense for your organization from a business value standpoint. The remainder of this report will provide additional detail about each category of technology, specifically evaluating the benefits relative to a midsize B2B organization.