In a recent report, my colleague Robert Brosnan correctly spotlights that marketers require ever more technology to capture, integrate, analyze, and apply customer data to marketing programs. Indeed, the technology portfolio that marketing leaders must understand and manage is exploding. Marketers typically have a portfolio of technology assets to support marketing planning, marketing asset management, campaign management, segmentation, and predicative modeling. And most marketers work with online marketing tools for email, mobile, social, and web analytics.
Rob recommends that marketers establish an enterprisewide marketing technology office (MTO) to ease and take advantage of technology development. The office, working through a chief marketing technology strategist, sets marketing technology strategy, makes the business case for embedding new technology within marketing programs, and manages technology-related partnerships. The marketing technology strategy should summarize the road map for how you plan to employ the technologies necessary to understand and engage more deeply with your target customers.
Forrester defines the marketing technology road map as:
A plan that matches short-term and long-term marketing goals with specific technology solutions to help meet those goals.
So how do you formulate the marketing technology strategy and road map?
I recently brainstormed with several marketing leaders about this topic. We agreed that the road map process should contain several steps, addressing critical questions:
1. Form the team: Who are the key players who have stakes in marketing technology procurement, deployment, and use? Who needs to be involved?
2. Define marketing goals and strategies: Who are the target performance metrics? What is your customer engagement strategy?
3. Establish the current baseline: What marketing technology assets do we have in place today? What technology constraints, standards, and infrastructure do we need to take into account?
4. Understand future needs: What critical customer communication, customer interaction, and customer insight capabilities are required for our success in the future?
5. Define capabilities gaps: What are key deficits in the capabilities we support today compared to what we will need in the future?
6. Establish priorities: Which capability gaps are most important to close first?
7. Define options: What technologies, vendors, or outsourced services will provide the capabilities that we need?
8. Understand linkages and dependencies: What projects should we undertake to close the gaps and in what sequence?
9. Build the business case: What level of investment is required, and what benefits will be achieved?
Marketing can't do this alone and must partner with internal or external technology partners that can combine strong business and marketing acumen with technical expertise.
We will be exploring this topic further at Forrester's upcoming Customer Intelligence Forum 2012, scheduled for April 18-19, in Los Angeles. The theme for the conference is: From Cool To Critical: Creating Engagement In The Age Of The Customer. I invite you to attend my presentation, "Define Your Technology Road Map." See you there.