T CMO Guide: How to Evaluate Marketing Technology

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CMO Guide: How to Evaluate
Marketing Technology
T
he change that has occurred with today’s B2B buyer has had a dramatic impact
on the role of the CMO. While the traditional state of marketing was a focus on
brand, today’s CMOs must focus on creating a perpetual demand generation
engine that engages with customers in a one-on-one dialogue. At the same time,
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CMOs need to create content that engages and delivers high
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at every stage of the
buying process—while reinforcing their organizations’ brand
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customer-driven mandate, they also need to have the right enabling
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effective organization with:
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elements such as taglines, messaging or icons.
• Increased brand loyalty through high-value customer interactions
Do not extract the Smarter Planet icon and use it
or locked-up with any other typographic
• Higher return on their marketing and sales investments independently
or graphic elements.
Do
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• Tightly aligned marketing and sales teams focused on driving revenue
• Improved alignment with the CIO office
By Carlos Hidalgo,
CEO of ANNUITAS
•
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•
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Please reference the IBM Looks Like and the IBM Smarter Planet
guidelines document for additional information regarding this lock-up.
Please refer to the Prototypes section in this document to view examples
of correct usage of the planet icon with IBM logo.
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C M O G u i d e : H o w t o E v a l u a t e M a r k e t i n g T e ch n o l og y
This guide has been developed for CMOs looking to implement technologies that will improve the outcomes driven by
marketing. This guide will provide the insights into:
• Approaching technology selection by matching organizational needs to the right technologies
• Developing the business case for these technology
investments
• Executing a step-by-step approach to the selection process
• Getting started with the necessary elements for success
The following questions and answers will help determine organization type and the goals of the business:
1. Is the organization global? Are there multiple geographic regions? If yes, will the technology need to
support multiple languages and have 24/7 global support? If the answer is yes to any of these questions,
your organization might need a more advanced solution.
2. Do you need to support a complex set of products
or multiple business units, including unique demand
generation programs to support each business unit or
product line? Basic organizations will not have this
type of complexity in their offerings.
3. Does your organization intend to own the technology and develop an internal staff or is the plan to
outsource? Advanced organizations might use some
outside assistance but bring most technology in-house.
Some advanced organizations also might use a hybrid
approach that mixes in-house and cloud-based technology.
4. Does the organization have complex sales cycle that
involves multiple buyers in the decision-making process? Yes for an advanced organization, no for a basic
organization.
5. Does the organization have multiple databases and a
complex segmentation strategy? Advanced organizations will have more complexity in their data set.
6. Will marketing or IT own the technology? In most
advanced organizations, marketing and IT will work in
tandem in optimizing the technology.
7. What integrations are necessary or being planned to
connect marketing with the rest of the organization? In
advanced organizations, the integrations with CRM,
business intelligence, web monitoring and social applications will be necessary.
8. How is the marketing organization structured? Does
the marketing team sit under one centralized organization or is it distributed across various business units or
product lines?
9. What are the revenue goals of the organization? What
are the organization’s growth plans?
Having a clear picture of the organization and the support marketing will need to provide is the starting point
for selecting the right vendor. As you answer these
questions, involve multiple teams within your organiza-
Organizational Understanding
With what seems like an unlimited supply of marketing automation options available, the selection process can seem
overwhelming. The first step in this process is getting a clear
understanding of your organization and what needs marketing
must address, both short-term and long-term.
Many marketing organizations jump into technology with no
true understanding of what they need to support. In addition,
many enterprise organizations are still feeling the weight of
out-dated legacy systems and a fractured technology solution
approach. These are just some of the reasons that, according
to a recent SiriusDecisions study, “75% of marketing automation owners stated they are not getting the full value from their
marketing automation investment.”1 Determining your organization type (basic versus advanced) and your needs (simple
versus complex) will serve as a guide through the selection
process.
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C M O G u i d e : H o w t o E v a l u a t e M a r k e t i n g T e ch n o l og y
tion—sales, finance, IT, various lines of business,
operations, etc.—as each will have a unique view and
varying needs.
Selecting the Right Vendor
People Skills
Before embarking on the selection process for the right
marketing technologies, CMOs should ensure they have the
following in place or at the very least being developed:
• A clear and well-articulated strategy and vision for the
demand generation process needed for marketing
• What integration points the marketing technology will
have with the organization’s IT stack—business analytics,
data warehouse, service management, etc.
• A roadmap for implementation including achievement of
quick wins while keeping a long-term vision
• Development of specific use cases to showcase how
technology will better enable buyer engagement
Having the people with the right skill sets cannot be
overlooked when it comes to having the right technology.
This means more than having people trained on how to
use the technology. It means ensuring that the right marketing skills and knowledge are present.
According to various industry resources, most marketers are ill-equipped to handle today’s modern marketing
environment:
• 85 percent of marketers describe themselves as “selftaught”2
• 77 percent of marketers rate themselves as either
“somewhat or not at all effective” in their roles3
• Less than 50 percent of marketers receive any kind of
formal training4
The purpose of technology is to enable marketers to
do their jobs most effectively. Implementing technology
without the right skill sets will only further expose the lack
In addition to the basic questions to be asked of a vendor (ease of usability, reference request, pricing, uptime,
support, training, etc.), you’ll need to understand vendors’
processes for:
1. Design and Campaign Management
a. Campaign Visualization
b. Ability to support multi-stage and channel programs
c. Ability to support channels beyond email–direct mail,
telemarketing, social media, etc.
d. Support of multivariate testing
e. Data segmentation and append capabilities
2. Email Marketing
a. Does the supplier provide a dedicated IP or shared IP?
b. Does the supplier have the ability to develop mobile
enabled email?
c. What controls does the supplier have for Canned
Spam Compliance both within and outside the U.S.?
d. What is the sender score?
e. Is the email engine native to the vendor or delivered via
partnership?
3. Multi-Region Support
a. What languages are supported?
b. Support of double-byte characters?
4. Landing Pages and Forms
a. Can the system support dynamic content?
b. Ease of use to create forms and pages? WYSIWIG
editor or HTML?
Continued on page 4
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of expertise. Organizations need to develop or acquire
the right skills to achieve optimal marketing performance,
including:
• Demand Generation & Content Marketing:
Developing buyer-centric demand generation campaigns that are fueled by timely and relevant content
is a must. This approach requires a demand generation strategist that can effectively develop the buyer
personas, define the buyer journey, and map the
right content to address the buyer’s needs. In order
to support these areas, you’ll need technology that
enables engaging with customers as individuals, can
provide deep analytics and enable a cross-channel
marketing strategy.
• Business Process Expertise: Multiple studies have
shown that up to 80 percent of all marketing-generated leads do not receive the proper follow-up.
The reason for the failure in follow-up is the lack of
a defined process between marketing and sales. A
lead-management process expert who can develop
and implement the necessary process framework is
key to marketing becoming a revenue driver.
• Analytics: Marketing is about measurement.
Marketers must be equipped to measure and analyze
the overall performance and revenue impact of their
campaigns. This goes beyond impressions, clicks,
and open rates. It includes conversion metrics along
the funnel, contribution to pipeline, contribution to revenue, and basic ROI measurement.
• Technologists: While this function often lies within
a marketing operations group, this role is more than
someone trained on the general use of the technology. This function requires the combined ability to
think strategically and optimize the technology to meet
the demands of the business. Ideal candidates for this
role have an IT background or IT process mindset,
understand technology and integration mapping, and
can serve as a liaison to the organization’s IT department.
In an effort to bring these functional roles and skills to
the organization, many larger companies are developing
Centralized Demand Centers. The Demand Center provides organizations a centralized resource that delivers
best-practice guidance, technology optimization, and
campaign analysis. By centralizing your technology and
SELECTING THE RIGHT VENDOR Continued from page 3
c. Does the vendor support A/B testing for landing
pages?
5. Technology Integrations
a. CRM
i. What CRM integrations are out-of-the box versus
custom build?
ii. Does the integration support automated data mapping to the CRM solution?
iii. Can the system be set to not override data during
the synch?
iv. Can the system support automatic lead re-routing
and assignments?
b. What other technologies—web analytics, BI, data
management, etc.—can be integrated?
c. Can you set a priority order for data imports if multiple
systems are integrated?
6. Reporting and Analytics
a. What reports are standard versus custom?
b. Does the solution support metric dashboards?
c. What formats are supported for exporting?
d. Does the system support pipeline contribution and revenue metrics and reporting?
7. Data Management
a. What support does the system supply for opt-in/optout preferences?
b. Does the system automatically de-dupe contact
records and lead forms?
c. Does the system have the ability to support real-time
data append and hygiene?
During the selection process, the IT team can serve as an
invaluable resource because the expertise of buying technology and reviewing vendors is invaluable. In addition, be
sure to include representation from other key departments
such as sales, channel, and operations.
The answers to these questions will help in developing
the short list of vendors. Once that list is established, you
can arrange customized demos and move into a pilot stage.
Ideally, you’ll have two vendors in the pilot stage for a sideby-side comparison. After the pilot is completed, choose the
vendor, move to the negotiation stages, and have the vendor
detail a project plan for implementation that includes SLAs.
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C M O G u i d e : H o w t o E v a l u a t e M a r k e t i n g T e ch n o l og y
demand generation strategy in one organization and developing the proper skills within the demand center, organizations
can see a transformation of their business and their overall
return on marketing and sales investments.
Here’s one example of the benefits of a centralized Demand
Center: This maker of financial software centralized their
demand center, including technology, demand creation, content marketing, and analytics. This model yielded an increase
of $17M year-over-year from their campaigns, and this
increase was attributed to a centralized center of expertise
that enabled sales and maximized the value of their marketing
spending.
learned, and the next planned steps for automation. As a
result, several other business units are requesting assistance from the demand center and want to use automation
to better drive their revenue goals.
3. Continually Set Expectations: The purchase of marketing
automation is much more than just the technology. It’s about
fundamentally transforming the way marketing works, and
that change takes time. As quick wins are communicated,
be sure to address the lessons learned, the changes that
are yet to come, and the time it will take to reach a best-inclass status for your organization.
Getting Started with Marketing Automation
Getting started with marketing automation is crucial. Many
organizations lose momentum with technology because of
missed expectations. Remember that the technology transformation will not occur overnight, but marketers can achieve
some quick wins and should evangelize those internally.
Examples of those achievements could be developing a
targeted campaign with a simple drip nurturing program or
establishing an initial lead-scoring model with sales to prioritize leads.
Following this outline will give organizations a game plan on
how to implement marketing automation and gain support from
the rest of the organization:
1. Educate: As the marketing automation space continues to
grow in popularity, everyone in the organization might have
ideas about what this technology can do. Take the time to
educate the organization on what automation really is, the
goals and objectives, the timelines by which goals will be
achieved, and what assistance will be needed during this
process.
2. Start Small: Marketers are often tempted to immediately
begin using automation to support the campaigns. As a
starting point, select one business unit or one campaign to
support. Take the time to develop the strategy, define the
goals, and measure the outcomes.
An example: One large enterprise organization took this
approach with marketing automation. The marketing team
educated the company on automation and worked with one
business unit to automate a webinar series. Along with the
automation, the organization developed the proper process
to ensure optimal return. At the conclusion of the campaign,
the marketing owners evangelized the results, the lessons
As the change process continues in the organization, you’ll
encounter moments of internal resistance. Change of business process is not easy and will take time, but the payoff in
terms of improved buyer engagement and increased revenue
is worth the hard work.
Impacting the Buyer Through
Better Buyer Engagement
The shift in buyer behavior has forced a change to the CMO’s
role and provides an opportunity to increase revenue through
better buyer engagement. Technology is now at the forefront
of the marketing role, and pairing the right technology with
a defined process and strategy will transform the marketing
organization. Marketers need to understand the importance of
this transformation to help their organizations’ success.
Notes & Sources
1 Dawn of the Demand Center – SiriusDecisions, May, 2010
2 iBid
3 Marketing Skills Gap Study, Marketing Automation Institute, April, 2012
4 iBid
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