Ep. 60 | Evaluating Your Marketing Technology

This is a picture of David Raab for the Rethink Marketing Podcast where he talks about evaluating your marketing technology

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David Raab believes a big mistake marketers make is they are innovators without having a clear sense of why they are innovating. As a result, they often neglect their due diligence when evaluating marketing technology and end up buying products that, essentially, sit on a shelf.

“If [marketers] wanted to be IT professionals, they would’ve been IT professionals,” Raab said. “I’ve been doing marketing technology for decades, but it’s really just the last few years that marketers have really gotten engaged deeply within technology. So they don’t know how to buy it.

“There’s a lot of technology that gets bought because it’s easy to buy. It’s software as a service, you don’t even have to talk to the IT folks, you just put it on your credit card, and it sort of shows up. … That’s the biggest mistake is just not really understanding why you’re buying it, what you’re going to do with it, how are you gonna use it, how it’s going to fit in with everything else that you’re doing both on a technology level and on a marketing level. Because if you don’t do that, then you’re for sure going to buy a lot of stuff you just don’t use properly.”

Raab has more than thirty years experience as a marketer, consultant, author and analyst. He has consulted firms across all industries, helping them select their marketing technology stacks. He also recently founded the Customer Data Platform Institute. He recently joined Act-On CMO Michelle Huff on the Rethink Marketing Podcast, where they talked about the Customer Data Platform Institute, about the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), and about evaluating your marketing technology. 

Evaluating Your Marketing Technology

David suggests marketers be systematic in selecting their marketing tech:

  1. What’s my business strategy?
  2. What marketing supports my business strategy?
  3. What are the programs that support those kind of marketing approaches?
  4. What are the functions those programs need to run?
  5. And then identify the technology you need to support all of that

For example, Raab said, if you really need to deal with voice activated devices because strategically that’s critically important to your business, then look for marketing tools that support voice activated devices. “And that’s a totally different set of tools than the tools that do a lot of other things,” he said.

Advice to CMO’s on the MarTech Stack

When asked what advice he had for CMO’s for evaluating their marketing technology needs, Raab recommends that CMOs be engaged.

“A lot of technology buying has been delegated down to the sub-department within marketing,” he said. “So, the web guys buy their tech, the email guys buy their tech, and the advertising people buy their tech, and they don’t talk to each other. The tech doesn’t talk to each other and sometimes the people don’t talk to each other. And that’s why you end up with all these data silos. The CMO is really the only one who has that overview, who has to say, ‘No guys, you’re not allowed anymore to just go off and buy things that only work in your own department. We really are gonna require that we at least think about how these things talk to each other. And we may actually even refuse — decide not to buy a particular product if it doesn’t have the right connectors, the right APIs, to allow us to get data in and get data out.'”

However, he said, when it comes to technology, CMO’s aren’t the experts and, as as a result, may hesitate in saying no.

“If you showed them a stupid ad campaign, they’d look at it and say ‘That’s a stupid ad campaign,'” Raab said. “But if you show them a stupid piece of technology, they’ll say ‘Well yeah, it looks a little weird to me, but if it’s what you think you need, and I don’t want to second guess you.’ So, its harder for them to say no.”

Raab recommends hiring someone to evaluate their marketing technology needs, whether that be a consultant or someone full- or part-time. He also recommends auditing usage of the existing MarTech stacks over the last six months to see what’s being used, how it is being used, and why it’s being used. “Are these systems even being used? Some of them aren’t. Or they’re being used to such a small degree and the function actually is available in three other system anyhow,” he said. “Maybe just get rid of it and decommission a few of them.”