Marketers everywhere totally freaked out last year when Scott Brinker published the 2016 edition of his Marketing Technology Landscape Supergraphic.
They had every right to: The list of marketing technology companies exploded to 3,874 from 1,876 just the year before. That’s incredible. If you spent just one minute Googling each one of those companies to try to get some idea of what each actually does, it would take more than 60 hours to complete — and you still wouldn’t have a very good idea of how the tech actually works.
It’s no wonder things were a little quieter when the 2017 graphic was released. It contains 5,381 different solutions, and you could almost hear a collective sigh of, “Whatever. I give up!” from corner offices everywhere.
But deep down, marketers know that they can’t afford to lag behind. The explosion in marketing technology solutions is reflective of how quickly the marketing landscape is changing, and to give up due to its sheer volume would be lifting your finger off the pulse of customers.
So, how do you face this swelling array of marketing technology solutions? Slicing and dicing between the true game-changers and the broken promises of entrepreneurs hoping to make a buck is overwhelming. And the dangers of implementing a bad technology are as damaging as remaining stagnant.
Fortunately, there are a few things you can do that will help you stay on the right path and avoid making wrong turns or getting lapped by competitors.
Start at the top with a business mission and objectives
It’s easy to fall into implementing the shiniest new tech just because others are using it or because you want to impress clients, higher-ups, partners or other stakeholders. This can be a fatal trap because the reputation of a solution or the fact that it works well for others is a poor barometer of how well it will work for your company and its unique needs. If you are wowed by a new technology and trying to figure out what it can do for you, then you are seeking a question to an answer — that’s backward.
Instead, focus on your overall core value proposition and business goals. Most companies come up with some sort of statement every couple of years or so, but the market landscape is changing so rapidly today that it is really something that should evolve much more frequently.
Analyze what the market is telling you, and update your marketing strategies accordingly. Then you can evaluate technology solutions based on whether they fit in with where your organization is trying to go instead of picking a destination based on the available transportation.
Join the conversation online
You already know that your customers are more empowered than ever and use online reviews, social media and word of mouth to make purchase decisions. You are more empowered than ever, as well, and there is a universe of conversations happening every day that can help you identify the ideal solutions for your biggest business problems. The key is tapping into them and separating the mindless banter from the perspectives of people you can trust.
Some opinions expressed in this article may be those of a guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land. Staff authors are listed here.