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Marketing technology: What do you really need?June 12th, 2019 by
Technology in its various forms is impossible to avoid these days, but some of it is more useful than others. While you’d likely be hard pressed to get through a day without your smartphone, the latest Bluetooth- or WiFi-enabled kitchen gadget just doesn’t have the same impact on your everyday routine.
But what about technology when it comes to marketing your business? Do some tools carry more value than others? Is marketing technology (or “martech,” to use the current buzzword) really worth it?
The short answer to both questions is yes. But there are some caveats to keep in mind.
Keep reading to learn more about marketing technology and what you need in your martech stack!
What is marketing technology, exactly?
At its most basic, marketing technology comprises the tools that help businesses reach their target audience and retain customers.
Reaching ideal customers and retaining them typically translates to meeting revenue goals, so even if you’re usually not an early adopter of new technology, marketing tech is well worth your time and financial investment.
What do you need in your marketing technology stack?
There’s no shortage to the marketing technology available today. A quick Google search returns an overwhelming list of digital tools that look (at least on the surface) like they’d be a valuable addition to your business.
But what do you really need?
To answer that question, work backward from your business goals. Think about what you’d like to accomplish with your marketing efforts, and then look for the technology that will help you meet those goals efficiently.
We’ll work with some very broad, basic goals for our purposes today, but keep in mind that a good marketing tech stack will have the flexibility to accommodate your needs at every stage of your company’s development.
Marketing goal #1: Reach potential and existing customers
If customers can’t find you—either online or otherwise—you’ll have a hard time meeting any business goals. Yes, you definitely need a website, but you’ll also need to communicate with customers and prospects via email and manage your company’s social media channels without losing your mind.
Here are the tools you’ll need:
- Content management system (CMS). This is the skeleton and circulatory system of a good website. A well-designed CMS results in a website that is easy for the user to navigate and simple for you to update and modify when necessary.
- Email marketing platform. Email marketing via a regular newsletter, one-off update emails, or periodic special-offer announcements (or a combination of the three), is a great way to stay in touch with customers. Resources designed for this purpose, such as Mailchimp, make the process much easier and give you access to important data, such as open rates.
- Social media platform management system. Social media has such a wide reach that it’s worth devoting resources to cultivating a consistent presence on the major platforms. Make your life easier by using a platform management system that allows you to monitor and post to multiple feeds at one time.
Do you need the priciest, most feature-filled version of each of these tools? That depends entirely on the size of your organization and your specific business goals. In most cases, you can easily upgrade your package or access level if you find that you need more options or additional flexibility.
Marketing goal #2: Understand customer wants, needs, and expectations
People are hard to please, and this is even more true for the home services industry, where customer wants and expectations change as trends and new technology hit the market. This section of your marketing tech stack is all about adjusting to varying customer wants and needs before they impact your bottom line.
Look into these tools:
- Customer satisfaction surveying. Using an objective third party to survey your customers firsthand will help you close gaps in your understanding of your customers’ wants and needs as well as their experiences with your company. Your customers will be more likely to open up to someone who isn’t affiliated with your company, which means that you’ll see higher survey response rates and more honest (and thus more useful) feedback.
- User experience testing and optimization. Sometimes referred to as A/B testing, user experience testing can give you valuable data on what your customers like and don’t like. Use this information to refine your marketing and overall business strategies, customer experience, and product offerings.
Marketing goal #3: Retain and analyze customer data
Customer data can reveal a wealth of information about your current clients, your target customer base, and what people like (and don’t like) about your company. Don’t rely on guesses or large-scale market predictions—marketing is a science to an extent, and you’ll only see success in your initiatives if you use data that represents your market and your part of the industry.
Check out these resources:
- Ad tracking system. Make sure you have a way to track how much traffic you receive from your company’s advertisements. This is an important tool to determine whether you’re using your marketing budget effectively.
- Data analysis tools. Having customer data is great, but it’s far more useful if you have a way to view trends and concrete numbers behind your advertising and marketing initiatives.
In many cases, these resources can be wrapped up into one service, such as Google Analytics.
The bottom line
Marketing technology is not a gimmick—in fact, your business is unlikely to reach its full potential without the insights that these tools can give you.
Do you need every resource we’ve covered here? That depends entirely on the goals you’ve set for your business and how much you want to know about your customer base.
Running A/B tests on your company’s monthly newsletter, for example, isn’t mandatory. But think about it this way: As your business advances, the ability to understand which newsletter format appeals the most to your customers (and results in the most clicks over to your website or to an information request form) is really valuable.