The last 12 months have witnessed an influx of Marketing Technology vendors, from large marketing cloud solutions to specialist (e.g. retargeting) vendors into the Australian market. Investment in marketing and customer service software locally was forecast by Gartner in March to double to 1.8bn in the next five years. But more options usually means more frustration for CMO’s already burdened by increasing responsibilities including managing end to end customer experience. Their new challenge is now wading through the Marketing Technology Landscape to find solutions that will solve their most pressing business needs.
However while expensive marketing cloud and enterprise campaign management platforms may suit the top end of town, for most marketers a step by step build is a more advisable and practical approach. As many experts have cautioned, strategy should always precede technology not vice versa. When technology decisions are made without due diligence the outcome is the marketing departments equivalent of tech-debt.
My own experience as brand manager taught me that a good starting point was to begin with a few fundamental pieces. These basic tools still answer the CMO’s everyday digital questions while a designated expert scopes out the technology required to deliver on the digital functions long-term vision. Even if as CMO, you have a digital agency on roster, access to the basic tools allows your team greater agility to act without losing time or costs.
- Web analytics – Gives you an overview of where your website visitors are coming from and what they are doing on your website. The Google Analytics free version is adequate for most websites and quite simple to set up.
- Customer Relationship Management (CRM) – Consolidates and organizes prospect and customer information into a common database. Invest in a robust solution – many organisations are currently struggling to access historic data stored in outdated systems or in multiple incompatible databases. This is an area you don’t scrimp on so research well and read a lot of reviews like this one by ZDNet before choosing.
- Email Management – Communicate with relationship segments created in your CRM system in #2. For ease of use and the variety of templates on offer, Mailchimp is a good starting point.
- Creative software – Reduce agency revision costs and time by quickly editing images and document templates for social media and online publishing in-house. Free editing software is readily available online but a subscription to Adobes Creative suite (Illustrator and Photoshop at a minimum) is advisable if you can afford it.
- Competitive search monitoring – Big or small, search is an important channel for every marketer. Keep tabs on other advertisers, your own organic/paid search traffic and search landscape changes using the Adwords Keyword Planner and the free version of SEMRush.
- Paid advertising tools – Free tools include Adwords Editor and PowerEditor, that allow marketers to independently monitor and fine tune performance of their Google and Facebook campaigns.