All posts tagged: agile marketing

Agile Marketing in Action: Adapting to Survive and Thrive

Agile Marketing in Action: Adapting to Survive and Thrive

The Bright webinar, Agile marketing in action: Adapting to survive and thrivewent live on Wednesday, 29 April, 11am and safe to say we loved the experience! The virtual event attracted marketing professionals across a diverse range of industries, and it was a brilliant opportunity for us to drive the conversation on all things agile.  

So, What is Agile Marketing?

The session kicked off, after brief introductions to speakers, by defining the term agile, exploring the success of agility in a broader sense in relation to efficiency, pace, innovation, and reduction of issues and risks. Three core values and principles from the original manifesto were then drawn upon in more detail: 

  • Customer focus – spotlight on the buyer journey and how to engage and interact along the way 
  • Experimentation – using a test, learn, iterate approach to generate data-driven insights and results 
  • Minimal viable approach – using short, adaptive strategies to demonstrate success 

Given the current circumstances affecting businesses across the globe, it was important to mention the COVID-19 outbreak to set context and avoid the overused term ‘unprecedented circumstances’, from dominating the conversation. To do so, we explored why agile marketing is no longer a nicety but now business critical and how this ability to adapt to market disruption is crucial for companies of all shapes and sizes.  

We also discussed the challenges our clients and most other marketers are having to deal with at the momentincluding frozen budgets, organisational paralysis and poor change managementThat said, we are starting to see the most forward-thinking firms focus their attention on lead generation and client retention activities to ensure pipelines don’t fall off a cliff. This means they can build momentum and new business to safeguard their businesses and meet revised sales targets for later this year.  

Sian Heaphy, Agile Lead at Bright shared the results of our recent Future of B2B Marketing Report diving into the detail of the survey we undertook and its key findings as well as exploring what these insights actually mean for marketers now. Summing up with the benefits of agile marketing supported by the survey findings and the long-term, tangible benefits we uncovered for teams that adopt an agile way of working  

“It’s given teams greater flexibility, transparency and control over their project tasks. They’re more empowered to collaborate, experiment and react quickly to change when their ideas are validated through the test, learn and iterate approachcritical success factors for resilience.” – Sian Heaphy   

Next, Adrian Brooks, Change Lead at British Medical Association (BMA) talked about his experience of introducing agile marketing to take a new proposition to marketThis lively discussion detailed the BMA’s journey to inject agility and pace into their marketing practices, barriers to adoption (and how they overcame them) and the results and long-term benefits achieved through the adoption of agile marketing 

The session ended with an interactive Q&A, with Adrian and Sian fielding questions from the audience. There were lots of thought-provoking questions we didn’t have time to cover so we’ve created a complete Q&A below for reference.

Q&A

How would you implement agile as a way of working in a traditional environment? 

The key is to start small. You aren’t going to become an agile marketing team overnight. Find a pilot project (proposition development and / or go to market campaigns work really well for a pilot) where you can test a hypothesis using new ways of working.  

Work with an experienced partner (like Bright) and select a handful of your team to work on the pilot and establish an agile marketing hub (3-5 members is a good number) and get them bought into the vision and what you’re trying to achieve. Give them the support and resource they need to run the pilot independently from other activity, taking into account any BAU work they are responsible for.  

I see in the research and the Future of Marketing Report the biggest barrier to getting started with agile marketing is lack of buy-in from leadership – do you have any tips on overcoming this? 

At BMA we were lucky that at a project level, the leadership team was very supportive. We were working on a new proposition targeting a new market so from the get-go the project ethos was to be different and try new things. There was some resistance within the senior leadership due to the new ways of working suggested so we had to build the business case and confidence for this. Demonstrating why being agile and adaptable would help us get better results and help the in-house team get experience. 

BMA had a multi-pronged stakeholder management approach – engaging with the members, steering committee and senior management at a formal level and at a 1:1 level with key people. Regular reporting and transparency on project progress was really critical to generating their buy-inAgile focus on data and the ability to provide them with insight at every stage to demonstrate the learnings and value we were generating on a week by week basis was invaluable to getting engagement and buy-in. 

What tools do you manage each sprint?  

Tooling is a question we see a lot, and it was one of the biggest barriers to adopting agile marketing identified in our survey. 

From a project management perspective, there are a number of ways to get started. Trello is a great tool to get started with to build a simple Kanban board that you can use to create your sprint backlog and monitor progress throughout the sprint. 

For a lot of our projects we use Monday.com which offers the same benefits as Trello but is a much more robust project management tool where everyone can easily understand status and prioritiesIt’s also accessible anywhere by the team which has been important as project team hubs are working remotely.  

From a physical perspective at its simplest, creating a workspace in your office where you can create a Kanban board using a white board or post-it notes can be just as effective. In the current climate this isn’t possible, but it can be a great way of bringing the team together in one area to collaborate.  

The key to successful sprint management is to make sure that whatever tool or mechanism you’re using to track sprints is being utilised by the team, so you get the visibility you need to understand progress. 

Collaboration tools are also key for successful agile hub and management whether you’re using Microsoft Teams, Slack, Skype or any other communication tools, creating a virtual area where team members can interact, collaborate and communicate is critical. 

We also use Mural for many virtual creative ideation sessions and to capture retrospectives at the close of each sprint.  

Did your sprint targets vary or were they quite consistent over time? How many targets were identified for each sprint? 

The short answer is yes. It’s important to create an overarching goal or KPIs for the project or campaign as a whole and then break it down into specific goals or KPIs for each sprint that will move you towards achieving the project goal. 

The great thing about agile ways of working is that it’s data-driven, so you can regularly review your metrics and update and change as you progress. It’s about finding what works and optimising to help you achieve your goal(s). 

Culture – I find that is the major challenge, genuinely the hardest piece. Any suggestions? How do you get people to buy into the process? 

At BMA, they had a very traditional ways of working with siloed teams, so breaking down that culture was really difficult. It was the biggest challenge/barrier to success. We had really fixed ways of working. One of the ways that we started to break this down was to bring managers into the agile hub so we could talk about the process and resources required in real terms. What was needed at each stage and who would be responsible for it. And giving managers that clarity on how the different elements worked together really helped to break down these ingrained ways of working.  

Communication is really important and giving members of the team clear roles and autonomy over their tasks is really powerful, empowering the teams to make their own decisions. With any change you’ll find members of the team who are open to it (and can become great ambassadors for these new ways of working) and others who see it as a threat. Communicate the vision, what you’re trying to achieve and what role they can play in delivering that (and provide the training and support needed to help them) is a great way to start bringing them on that journey.  

If you missed our webinar but like the sound of what you’re reading, fear not, as the recording is now available! View the Agile in Action: Adapting to Survive and Thrive webinar today, join our Agile Marketing Club Meet Up group and keep an eye on our social channels for announcements of the next webinar, coming soon to a home-office near you!  

Sian HeaphyAgile Marketing in Action: Adapting to Survive and Thrive
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When’s the best time to hold a virtual event?

When’s the best time to hold a virtual event?

Covid-19 was declared a global pandemic on the 11th March. Since then, life has slowly been grinding to a haltAs social distancing continues to sweep across the world, businesses are having to quickly shift their focus from physical to online events to outlast the outbreak and meet the demands of remote working. 

As detailed in our recent blog post, Agile in Action: Transforming Events at Paceimplementing an agile approach for day-to-day services and creating immersive virtual events is a very real and viable way to quickly adapt and join the digital revolution forced upon usBut to get started, we need to answer an important question, when is the best time to hold a virtual event for global audience?  

Day of the week

At this point in our self-isolation, every day feels like a Sunday and all sense of normality feels like a long-lost concept. Whilst the days may seem to blur into one another, it’s still important to consider which day or days of the week would get the most views for your virtual event 

Win with #WebinarWednesdays

It’s long been suggested that Wednesdays are the best day for a webinar, and the hashtag is proof. However, it’s worth remembering how the data is comprised and that it’s also the most popular day to hold a webinar. Audiences may expect you to host it on a Wednesday, so attendance is likely to see a spike. But, if you don’t promote it well enough, there’s a chance your webinar may get lost in the noise 

Go rogue to stand out

Given the current working conditions, and with the hope of differentiating your virtual event from being put into the category of ‘another boring webinar’, choose an unexpected day of the week for your virtual event. We’re not advocating for a Saturday night presentation here. Opting for a ‘kick-start your week’ Monday session or a slightly more playful ‘fizz at four on Friday’, end-of-the-week kind of occasion may work in your favour. It’s a plus because you won’t be competing for virtual attendees.  

Time of day

When it comes to timings of a virtual event, put the most important people first your attendees.  

For example, if you live and work in America, but you’re targeting UK audiences, you may need to get up at an ungodly hour to ensure you’re making the most of the effective ‘power hours’ in the UK, and vice versa.  

Targeting specific audiences or regions

For most territories, hosting a webinar just before and after lunch works well around 11am or 2pm. There is no indication that this will change as a result of the widespread remote working. Keep an eye on your website analytics to see if there have been any shifts in user behaviour to adapt accordingly.    

Targeting a global audience

Things start to get a little more complicated here. The very nature of time zones means that you can’t please everyone. We recommend firstly prioritising your core target audience, and secondly, taking the necessary steps to limit the disadvantage of not being able to attend in real-time, thus making your event more appealing to all.  

If you’re offering live chats as a networking channel for attendees during your virtual event, keep them live or move them into some kind of forum. Those unable to attend can catch up on the conversation and contribute as appropriate in an ongoing discussion. And for all-day virtual experiences, plan the schedule so that keynotes and the most appealing activities are at the most popular times, ensuring you can capitalise on these incentives. 

Follow the data

Ultimately, don’t rely on your assumptions about what works best with your audience. Want help choosing the best time to hold a virtual event? Check out your Google Analytics to find out when users most frequently visit your site and interact with your content. That’s probably when you can expect them to tune in to your webinar.  

Are you looking to a build pipeline or simply boost engagement with your customers during this challenging time? The day and time you choose can make or break a successful webinar when choosing the best time to hold a virtual event. No matter what you choose, it’s important to adapt your timings to the behaviour of your audience. It’s important to always check your analytics as a first step. Our agile marketing methodology has shown the only way to improve your results is to test, learn and build, ensuring a brighter future once this crisis has passed. Interested in more content on Covid-19? Check out our recent blog posts including the ultimate working-from-home survival guide and Staying healthy in the wake of Covid-19 

Zoe MerchantWhen’s the best time to hold a virtual event?
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Getting started with agile marketing

Getting started with agile marketing

Agile Hubs are your key to unlocking integrated, sustainable marketing transformation

Digital transformation has been in the spotlight for nearly a decade and it remains well entrenched in the average business agenda today. But what about your marketing? How can it adapt to keep up with a changing business whilst meeting market demands?

There’s no doubt that organisation-wide transformation takes time, but marketing often seems to be preoccupied with business as usual or last on the list. Perhaps that’s because there are multiple forces at work in marketing that you’d have to bring into the transformation process. These typically include driving efficiencies, controlling costs, developing insight to drive continual improvement, and making effective use of emerging technology whilst improving your customer experience. And, whilst you make changes to your ways of working, you still need your marketing to demonstrate ROI, realise value in the short term and meet your business goals – smooth marketing transformation is therefore vital to the business as a whole.

It’s a lot to manage, think about and plan for all at once. So, where do you start? It is possible to transform your marketing to drive results that support your business goals, all whilst maintaining activity, but it’s a complex process. Having worked with many companies who are embarking on change, we know how important it is to approach this in a systematic, yet adaptable way – through testing, learning and building on success.

Driving results whilst changing at pace

Introducing Agile Marketing Hubs – your personal resource of marketing expertise and innovation. It’s where your in-house team, suppliers and specialists come together to work as one, strong, fully blended team of experts to effectively embed agile ways of working into your culture and operations.

Through hands-on experience in agile delivery of your marketing content, you’ll see greater productivity, energy and collaboration in your marketing team. Agile hubs are the answer to complex marketing transformation and a proven alternative to restrictive traditional techniques or reactive, ad-hoc and unstructured ways of working.

Demonstrating the value of your marketing

As you continue to work in an agile way, continually learning, building and improving, your team will begin to naturally work together more efficiently and effectively. You’ll also enable more cross-collaboration between different stakeholders and teams in the business – encouraging valuable knowledge-sharing and proving the power of your marketing to drive business goals.

Our tech and consulting clients in high growth and large enterprises have all reported seeing the following benefits from adopting an Agile Marketing Hub:

    Faster time to market   Data-driven decision making
 Proving marketing ROI at pace    Productivity and up-skilling
   Clear KP and objective settingScalable agility and innovation

 

In our recent survey, 75% of those who have been practicing agile marketing for more than a year had a better understanding of the power and impact of their marketing. It’s clear that these benefits increase exponentially with prolonged practice of an agile approach.

Fired up to ignite agility in your marketing?

As your company undergoes digital transformation or needs to rapidly adapt in uncertain times, your marketing needs to keep pace with the market and maintain daily operations. This is a complex challenge that requires time and resources as well as constant support from business leaders and marketing experts.  Many struggle to get started and simply lack the tools, support or know-how to embed agile ways of working into their marketing.

With Bright’s Agile Marketing Hubs, you can ignite agility and ensure seamless, integrated and sustainable marketing transformation – with the tools, tactics and concepts you need to drive better results and meet business goals.

Ready to get started? Get in touch to set up an Agile Hub for your marketing today.

Download our report on the Future of B2B marketing to find out the latest insights in B2B marketing and how agile plays a role in transforming the future of marketing.

Sian HeaphyGetting started with agile marketing
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What is Agile Marketing?

What is Agile Marketing?

It’s not just a buzzword – defining what agile marketing is, what it means for B2B and why it works.

This is the era of Agile. The ascendancy of experimentation and strategic thinking. The reign of data-driven insights. No matter your industry, everyone seems to be ‘going Agile’. Truth is, following the tech and internet revolution and the rise of Silicon Valley, every industry has had to shift to a more tech and data-driven mindset. And marketers are no different, what with our constant need to be customer centric at the forefront of market change.

But what does it actually mean to be agile in the B2B marketing industry? How do you apply an agile approach to your marketing? Most importantly, why would you leave your proven, traditional marketing techniques behind for new ways of working?

Breaking it down

To put it simply, agile marketing is exactly what it sounds like – the application of agile methodology across your marketing. However, that doesn’t give us enough to apply it effectively. In fact, you need to consider your organisational goals and how to drive the change in behaviour that’s needed for embedding a new way of working with your people, process and technology. Agile has a lot of its own lingo, so let’s take a deeper look at the key terms you’ve probably come across, and how they all work together to form an agile marketing approach.

The Basics

Agile Methodology

In 2001, visionary software developers wrote the Agile Manifesto, highlighting the vital importance of discovery and experimentation in software development. To help others build better, more customer-centric products, they detailed the need for “Individuals and interactions over processes and tools, working software over comprehensive documentation, customer collaboration over contract negotiation and responding to change over following a plan.”

Agile ways of working

Adopting an agile mindset demands redefining your marketing operational model. Where traditional marketing is restrictive, agile emphasises the freedom to be daring in your concept creation and tactics. Rather than spending months planning a solid campaign strategy, an agile marketing team takes a minimum viable approach to take an idea to market as fast as possible in order to test it with the target audience. This of course requires greater collaboration and more effective communication across teams. Don’t worry though, the hard work pays off in the end – with a noticeable boost in efficiency and productivity.

Data vs. insights

We could write an entire book on the importance of being data driven. In short, there’s a clear difference between simply gathering data about your target audience and using that data to your advantage. The most important aspect of an agile marketing approach is to turn your data into actionable insights – really dig deep into who your audience is and what solution they need, to help you build marketing strategies that make an impact.

 Sprints

Having adopted agile ways of working, your marketing team will start running campaigns in short bursts – usually within two or three-week intervals called ‘Sprints’. In Sprint 0, you’ll set up data tools to continually gather insights, and create content needed for the campaign. In Sprint 1, you’ll send it all out and test it with a specific section of your audience – say, your followers on LinkedIn. Then, in Sprint 2, you’ll take what you learnt in Sprint 1, iterate, and test again. And so on and so forth.

The Process

Test

So, how do you test, learn and iterate the agile way? By taking your concept to market as fast as possible, you’ll gain valuable time for measuring its effectiveness with your target audience. Did anyone click on your ad? How many responded to your emails? Did you receive any negative feedback about your content or design?

Retrospective

At the end of each sprint, you’ll take a hard look at those actionable insights. Taking note of what worked best with your audience and what failed to impress will help you gain a better understanding of your customers’ needs and what you need to do to reach them in the next Sprint.

Iterate

If you’ve learnt that your concept is working – great! Keep going and expand it to a wider audience. If it isn’t, change it up with a new image, subject line, USP, etc. In this iteration phase, you’ll make all improvements needed to get the results you want in the next Sprint.

This is an infinite cycle of continual testing, learning and improving that you can use throughout your campaigns and projects.

The Benefits

Agility

It’s clear that an agile marketing team is more efficient, effective and empowered. With an agile mindset, your marketing team will work more collaboratively to produce and experiment with new ideas that are more daring and innovative. What’s more, they’ll gain the skills to spring into action when needed, ready to adapt their campaigns and strategies accordingly.

 Keeping Pace

Injecting agility into your marketing, is the key to keeping pace – or keeping up- with constant change in the market and the ever-changing demands of your customers. Without a doubt, this is one of the best benefits to adopting an agile marketing approach – the ability to accurately identify and take advantage of opportunities in the market for business growth and brand development.

Fit for purpose

With an agile marketing approach, you’ll see better results and improved performance. What’s more, it’ll become fit for purpose – perfectly aligned with your business goals.

The Future is Agile

There you have it, a clear breakdown of what it means for B2B marketing to be agile. As our world continues to become more digital and tech-focused, the agile approach will continue to evolve with the market, steadily gaining momentum in its influence.  Adopting agile marketing and data-driven ways of working will become essential to success in B2B marketing.

Want to learn more? Check back next week for detailed look on Getting Started with Agile Marketing!

 

 

Lydia KirbyWhat is Agile Marketing?
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2020 B2B marketing: 5 trends to watch

2020 B2B marketing: 5 trends to watch

Ensuring a bright 2020 by keeping pace with market change

If you’re active in B2B marketing, you know that change in the tech and consulting industry is nothing new – and nothing to fear. Within the past decade, we’ve seen digital disruption and transformation drive market change in service and product delivery and impacting how we go to market and reach our target audiences effectively.

In B2B marketing, we’ve dramatically changed how we plan, manage and run campaigns – whether it’s putting data insights to work by injecting agility or using personalisation to keep up with shifting markets. The rise of digitally native audiences has also forced B2B marketing to move much of its activity online.

Now, as we enter a bright new decade, we’re about to see even more changes – our ways of working need to evolve to maintain pace and engagement, and use data and insights effectively to build relationships and convert the right people at the right time.  To help you prepare, we’ve gathered the top five trends in B2B marketing this year.

1.    Agile marketing will take charge

Centred around collective, cross-functional and collaborative working in which projects are completed in short periods called sprints, agile marketing lays the foundation for continually testing and iterating your marketing ideas – proving what works and what doesn’t to ensure better marketing results, business outcomes and overall ROI.

But agile working isn’t just about process and technology – there are cultural considerations to bring your organisation along on the journey. McKinsey research found that companies who adopt agile ways of working simultaneously achieve greater customer centricity, faster time to market, higher revenue growth, lower costs, and a more engaged workforce. Learn more about B2B agile marketing.

Why it will matter in 2020

B2B marketers are under more pressure than ever to demonstrate results from marketing investment, and this is expected to drive a rise in agile marketing adoption in 2020. Firms will need to understand and apply new ways of working to align and meet business goals whilst keeping up with ever-changing markets. Agile marketing brings the best of entrepreneurial thinking, start up ways of working and allows enterprises to innovate at scale.

If you aren’t already, this is your chance to really understand your buyer journey and make sure your marketing is driving revenue at every stage of the client lifecycle. By becoming more agile in your approach, you’ll take advantage of the latest trends and market changes to place your customer at the centre of your business.

2.    Partner experience comes of age

Partner experience (PX) has long been a neglected area of marketing. If you want to continue to grow and maximise every revenue opportunity available, then looking at your channel strategy is crucial. The key is to treat your partners as a proper audience – understand their user journey and what they need at every stage.

With an enablement perspective, you can exploit new market opportunities and unlock revenue through your channel. Injecting agility into PX is a great way to start small, such as a partner accelerator or incubator for select partners to supercharge their sales and marketing efforts; or territory specific partner acquisition campaigns to onboard more partners where you need them most. You can test, learn and build on success to create a solid and scalable PX experience.

Why it will matter in 2020

Forester predicts that marketing decision makers will rank improving partner experience on par with improving customer experience in 2020, and both will rise to more than 50%. That’s a significant shift that matches the speed of change we’re seeing in the tech industry. Injecting agility is critical if organisations are going to keep up with competition and build more channel share.

Give your partners the experience they need to support and sell more of your tech and services, and don’t be afraid to stand out and make better use of video, immersive and social prospecting to accelerate traction within and for your channel.

3.    Personalisation at the heart of B2B

Personalisation has been a marketing buzzword for years and the concept of creating personas to form better buyer journeys shouldn’t be new to you. However, we’re about to see increased personalisation in B2B, specifically with a fresh look at how we’re maintaining continuous communication and opening up meaningful dialogue with our key audiences and clients.

Why it will matter in 2020

Gartner research shows that organisations that have fully invested in all types of personalisation will outsell companies that have not by 20% in 2020.  B2B marketers need to step back and think about how they can become more relevant to their key audiences to drive engagement and build relationships for the long term. This must be approached strategically with a willingness to rapidly test and learn in order to be credible and authentic.

Often, marketing can be heavy handed – rushing in with a sales message on a first communication (no one likes a pushy first date!). By using data and insight about the organisational state and target audience, you will be able to craft and deliver relevant, timely and engaging comms. Don’t rush building a credible relationship – be authentic. Senior decision makers have no interest in continuing dialogue with shouty, salesy firms that don’t effectively demonstrate that they have something of value to offer in exchange for their attention.

4.    Predictive analytics will become a key driver to success

One way to support your personalisation techniques is with better data insights from predictive analytics. Predictive analytics is the concept of using your data insights to measure marketing activities, identify trends and predict opportunities to create unique, tailored experiences across each stage of your client buyer journey and throughout their client lifecycle.

You probably have data sat within your existing systems and tools that isn’t being effectively used to identify intent and accelerate your buyer journey. Gartner predicts that profitability will replace customer experience as the CMO’s No. 1 strategic priority in 2022. Using data and insight to make strategic decisions and to drive agility and pace in your go to market strategies will be key to understanding marketing performance and contribution to business goals and profitability.

Why it will matter in 2020

Forrester says that 89% of marketers will use more predictive analytics in 2020. To keep up with the competition, the best thing you can do this year is to make your marketing more data driven.

Evaluate how you’re obtaining, measuring and analysing your data and most importantly, if you’re making the most of your data insights. Then, adopt an AI and predictive analytic tool to deliver insight that will support driving marketing effectiveness and align with business goals to demonstrate success at a business contribution level through marketing performance.

5.    Automation and integration will start to drive autonomous marketing

Automation tools help marketers schedule and publish content, manage teams and analyse data from multiple sources in one, centralised place. With the proliferation of marketing tools, more streamlined integration will enable better insight and allow marketers to focus on maximising the client experience at every stage of the buyer journey.

Manual tasks are starting to become more easily automated, giving you more time to devote to value-adding activities, such as writing longer-form content and offering greater customisation of your services. Find out more about B2B marketing automation.

Why it will matter in 2020

Evaluating and integrating your existing toolset will create quick wins and allow automation to run sequences autonomously to improve conversion rates and engagement with your key audiences. And, automation isn’t just for external marketing – internal comms will benefit from applying the tools, tactics and automation internally to drive and measure employee engagement.

Marketers need to adopt new ways of working to make the most of your marketing technology. With an agile approach, you’ll zoom in on areas of underperformance to drive improvements, and overperformance to understand and repurpose successful automation into other areas of activity.

In summary

2020 will be the year for progressive transformation within B2B marketing. Traditional marketing just won’t make the cut going forward. By understanding how best to adopt agile marketing as a new way of working, streamlining processes and combining the right tools and tech, you’ll be able to adapt and drive change whilst putting your data insights to work to build stronger, clearer marketing strategies for an ever-evolving market.

Want to understand how to get started with agile marketing and transformation? Get in touch with our marketing experts.

 

Zoe Merchant2020 B2B marketing: 5 trends to watch
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Making the most of your martech stack

Making the most of your martech stack

How to optimise your existing marketing tools and empower your team to use them effectively through agile ways of working

The world of martech (marketing technology) can be quite a murky place. What tools are out there? Which ones are best for your needs? And how do you make them work for you to achieve your goals? Let’s wade through the muck to find the answers.

Picture this: You’ve got data spread across your organisation in various CRMs, data lakes and even a few Excel sheets. To put it plainly, your data has more duplicates than an identical twin convention – but you know there’s valuable customer and prospect data hidden deep within, just waiting to be utilised. If only you had the tools to get it all in order, you’d be the marketing Rockstar of your organisation!

And so begins your quest for the latest and greatest martech tool, suffering through demos with approximately 34 different sales reps. They make each tool look better than the last and you agree that you would like to use every single one. But, here’s the catch – you don’t actually need them. Well, not all of them at least.

Fix before you buy

Like the old adage that your mother used to say, “we have food at home” – or in other words, take a look at what you already have, then decide what you really need. So, before you go on that endless hunt for a new marketing tool, make sure you’re really making the most of your current tools and take a real look at the goals you want to achieve. To do this properly, there are two crucial places to start: data and education.

Get your databases clean, up to date, and most importantly, compliant, before deciding on your next steps, or you risk falling into the same pitfall as many organisations before you. You’ll take your bad data from one tool to the next which then won’t deliver any tangible business benefits, because guess what? The data you’re feeding it is terrible. You’ll need a solid foundation to clean your database – clear targeting criteria and personas.

The next step is to make sure your team is using your marketing tech properly. Take marketing automation tools for example – we love them for the power they give us to run campaigns, send emails, create landing pages and much more with great ease. Their downside? That power is available to all your colleagues, and the temptation to abuse it is strong – why not send this email to a few more personas? Will it really hurt the click / open / bounce rate? Yes, yes it will.

And on top of that, marketing automation tools will happily put restrictions in place to stop unnecessary email sends that may hurt their bounce rates. Suddenly that great tool you had doesn’t look so shiny and bright when you have one hand tied behind your back because the new marketing intern sent the quarterly newsletter to your entire database. How can you avoid this? To quote a mid-90’s Tony Blair, ‘education, education, education’.

Inject agile into your marketing

A simple solution is to adopt agile ways of working.

With a test, learn and build approach, your team will gain the skills and know-how for using and optimising your tools properly and effectively. With an expert team you can trust, you’ll make the most of your existing tools while testing new tools with ease. What’s more, you’ll learn to integrate and maximise the value of your automation tools across your business as a team – streamlining marketing activities and delivering reports with clear KPIs.

It’s easy to assume that the perfect martech mix is only achievable with the latest top tools on the market.  However, the more you invest in your current marketing tools with greater support, knowledge-sharing and training within your team, the more value your users will get out of your system – making it more effective and better performing. A winner all round. Rock on, Rockstar.

Want to learn more about agile marketing? Check out our agile marketing hubs.

Lydia KirbyMaking the most of your martech stack
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