Within this blog, we’ll discuss the challenges and strategies for growing your marketing technology (martech) capabilities and team as your organization evolves. Whether you’re a startup or an established business, the principles outlined below can help you navigate your martech journey effectively.
Early Maturity: Building the Foundation
In the early stages of a company’s growth, regardless of its size, there are fundamental needs that must be addressed to establish a solid marketing foundation: inbound marketing & resourcing.
Developing an online presence is crucial. A website is essential, along with tools for tracking sales and a basic email marketing system. Also, at this stage, everyone wears multiple hats. You might find your CFO managing Salesforce, while someone else handles simple email campaigns. Many companies at this stage fail to hire the right resources due to budget constraints. You must be careful here as relying on employees with minimal expertise to set up martech tools can lead to long-term problems.
- Invest in Expertise: If you can’t hire a full-time resource, consider bringing in an experienced contractor or agency partner to set up and manage your systems correctly.
- Plan Ahead: Anticipate future needs and hire accordingly. If you’re transitioning to a marketing automation platform, hire someone to manage it full-time.
- Diverse Skill Set: Look for individuals who are familiar with your current martech platform, excel in email campaign operations, and ideally have experience with multiple automation tools.
In this early stage of your organization’s maturity, you are primarily focused on building brand recognition and basic lead generation. Your martech stack includes essential tools like a content management system, social media accounts, and possibly a CRM for managing client relations. At this point, the tools may not be fully integrated, but their presence is crucial for foundational marketing efforts.
Growth Stage: Meeting Increasing Demands
As your organization grows, so do your marketing needs and complexities. The signs that you’ve entered the growth stage include:
- Expanding Toolset: Adding more tools to your martech stack, increasing complexity.
- Overworked Resources: Martech operations staff are constantly troubleshooting and handling ad hoc requests, lacking time for proactive work. Be sure to proactively hire the correct level and number of resources; hiring junior resources to manage increased demands without proper training and support could also be detrimental.
- Lack of Team Growth: Your sales and marketing teams are expanding, but your martech team remains small.
- Listen to Your Team: Pay attention to your martech team’s workload and needs. Assess the demands of your business roadmap realistically.
- Right Skill Set: Determine the expertise required based on the complexity of marketing and sales operations, customization of tech tools, and the career aspirations of your martech team.
- Flexible Solutions: If a full-time hire isn’t feasible, consider hiring a contractor or partnering with an agency for quick support.
As your organization progresses, you need to enhance your capabilities. You should start focusing on reporting key metrics, implementing lead lifecycle models, and begin establishing a center of excellence with standard operating procedures. Tools like marketing automation platforms, event management, advertising, SEO technology, and prospecting tools become essential to drive engagement, traffic, and lead generation.
Mature Stage: Organized and Scalable
In the mature stage, your organization is well-structured, regardless of its size or age. Key characteristics include:
- Strategic Planning: Marketing and sales goals are well-planned, with a roadmap for the future. Keep a holistic mindset to assure there is a centralized ownership of all platforms and resources are not siloed.
- Center of Excellence: Marketing Operations has its own budget and operates as a service hub.
- Stable Toolset: Your martech stack has stabilized, with a focus on optimization.
- Structured Organization: Optimize your center of excellence for Marketing Operations or Revenue Operations, ensuring a dedicated team with a seat at the leadership table.
- Holistic Approach: Consider integrating data, media, and website teams into your operations organization, depending on your company’s needs.
- Listen to Experts: Continue to value and respect the expertise of your martech team, avoiding silos and providing opportunities for career growth.
In the mature stage, your organization’s capabilities should expand to include customer lifecycle processes, dynamic personalization, standardized processes, and governance. This is the stage where you need more advanced tools like integration platforms, data warehouses, data visualization tools, and account-based marketing platforms. Integration becomes crucial to connect your martech stack seamlessly.
To take it a step further on the maturity scale, at the world-class stage, your martech capabilities are highly sophisticated. You should have a 360-degree view of your customer journey, facilitated by Customer Data Platforms (CDPs) and Data Management Platforms (DMPs). Asset management becomes critical, with centralized repositories for digital content. Integration platforms (iPaaS) play a central role in connecting various tools, and advanced analytics tools, along with account-based marketing, become part of your stack.
Evaluating your Martech Stack
When determining the complexity level of your technology needs, there are many factors that you will need to consider.
Step 1: Evaluate What You Have
Before making any changes to your martech stack, you must understand your current state. This involves creating a technology inventory, conducting a RACI (Responsible, Accountable, Consulted, Informed) analysis, and creating an ecosystem diagram. These steps help you document your existing tools, identify their owners, and map how they interact with one another.
Step 2: Determine What You Need
Once you have evaluated your current stack, it’s essential to determine your needs. Consider your immediate, 12-month, and long-term requirements. Ensure that your tools align with your organization’s goals, and don’t forget to assess your team’s capacity to support these tools effectively.
Step 3: Procurement Process
A well-defined procurement process is crucial for effective martech management. Avoid impulsive tool acquisitions and involve all stakeholders in the decision-making process. Procurement should be driven by your organization’s needs, not vendor pitches. Also, ensure that you have a plan for implementation, adoption, and continuous evaluation of the new tool.
Step 4: Rinse and Repeat
Finally, establish a schedule for regularly evaluating and reevaluating your martech stack. This prevents surprises during contract renewals and helps you stay agile in adapting to changing business needs.
Scaling your martech stack and team is a journey that requires careful planning and the right resources at each stage of your organization’s growth. Avoid common mistakes, plan ahead, and always listen to the experts in your martech team or your agency partners. Remember, it’s not about having the most tools; it’s about having the right tools that align with your business objectives. By following these steps and adapting your martech stack to your evolving needs, you can build a scalable and successful marketing operations ecosystem that drives your business forward.
Have questions or not sure where to start? Let us know if you need help evaluating and scaling your martech ecosystem!