Marketing technology: Where’s my ROI?
The modern buyer journey is fractured and prospect-driven. Unlike the linear, vendor-led journeys of the past, the buyer is now in full control. With endless options – and a bevy of product and service information readily available for decision makers – marketers must devise new ways to attract customers and secure brand awareness and loyalty.
A slew of marketing technologies, including CRM, marketing automation and inbound marketing platforms, are stepping up to solve the new buyer journey riddle. But despite the capabilities of these platforms, too many B2B companies are reporting negative ROI for marketing technology investments. There are a number of reasons for this.
Failure to Launch
The B2B sales cycle is a complex process. Unlike the B2C arena, there is no such thing as an ‘impulse purchase’. Buyers typically spend weeks, months and sometimes years researching and deliberating before deciding on a purchase – particularly where big-ticket items are concerned.
Technology can help simplify this process, but it isn’t a magic bullet. Marketing platforms aren’t plug-and-play; they are a set of interconnected tools to be used as part of an overall strategy. Many B2B companies purchasing marketing technology fail to allocate the resources necessary to realise its benefits. Marketing systems can be great for delivery, but they rely on engaging and strategic content that guides prospects along the buyer journey. You can buy a car, but if you don’t fill it up and get behind the wheel, it isn’t going to move.
Scratching the Surface
Most marketing technology platforms come equipped with an array of features, from intelligent analytics to A/B testing and easy integration. Companies who fail to realise ROI on these products are often exploiting only a fraction of the available features. These features can significantly enhance the power of the platform and should be used whenever possible.
With so many different types of technology available, B2B companies often have more than one system for sales and marketing. Failure to integrate these systems – particularly marketing automation platforms and CRM solutions – creates a confusing environment. When systems are not communicating with each other it can result in duplicated efforts. In order to get the most out of marketing software and a favorable ROI, marketing automation platforms and CRM should always be integrated.
Putting the Cart Before the Horse
Diving headfirst into marketing technology, without a full understanding of the system or an implementation plan, is an enduring problem. B2B marketers often find themselves tasked with becoming technology experts, trying to implement and integrate systems they know little about.
To fully realise the benefits of marketing technologies, B2B marketers must acknowledge that while they are an important tool, they are only part of the process. Creative campaigns, strategic plans and customer conversations are integral to the modern buyer journey as well. Before investing in a new platform or solution, it’s vital to perform due diligence and develop a robust implementation plan.