(cowritten with Research Associate Julia Swerdlow)
It’s not new that marketing technology (martech) plays a central role in enabling B2B organizations’ marketing strategies. In fact, more than half of B2B marketing leaders invest over 10% of their total marketing budget in technology, per Forrester’s Marketing Survey, 2023. And investments are expected to grow, with over two-thirds of B2B marketers surveyed saying that they plan to increase their martech budget over the next 12 months.
But as a CMO or senior marketing leader, where should you guide your team to invest that martech budget and produce the greatest impact on growth? On the one hand, your martech stack must be built to drive outstanding customer experience, as customer-obsessed organizations are much more successful in generating revenue growth than their non-obsessed peers. On the other hand, martech must help marketing teams run efficiently. What if you could do both?
- Invest in customer-centric marketing technologies and solutions. Over three-quarters of customers expect a buying experience that is personalized to their needs and preferences across sales and marketing, according to Forrester’s Marketing Survey, 2023. Customers expect relevant information immediately, at the right time and across every touchpoint, in order to feel supported and valued throughout their entire journey with your organization. Target martech investments (both new and renewals) for solutions that support personalized experiences.
- Foster automation that delivers additional marketing efficiency. The top marketing technologies (specifically, where European B2B marketing leaders plan to increase their budget, per Forrester’s Marketing Survey, 2023) are marketing automation platforms and through-channel-marketing automation solutions. Productivity was identified by the same survey group of B2B marketing leaders as an important area of growth for their organizations in 2023. But challenge yourself and your team to do more than invest for productivity. Strive for these investments to support improved customer experiences and customer obsession, too. Ask your team, for example, about how enhancing martech automation might improve self-directed engagement with the team’s content. Read more about B2B martech trends in this blog post and this data snapshot.
It’s also highly important that you engage a key C-level peer in these martech plans: your CIO. Defining, implementing, and running a high-performing and future fit martech stack must align with your organization’s IT security and data privacy policies, but more than that, your CIO should be an ally in helping you determine and prioritize tech investments (i.e., they are the tech “yin” to your marketing “yang”).
The following steps will help you embark on a journey toward implementing a martech stack that is well integrated, is universally adopted across your organization, and advances customer obsession and growth.
- Align with your organization’s technology leaders. Define your marketing technology requirements based on your marketing strategy and your marketing plan, with a primary lens on how your organization provides customer value. Interlock with your CIO while you are defining your requirements, not afterwards, so that they are empowered as a business partner, not relegated to just being an implementer. This will help ensure faster reviews and approvals of your investment plans and help align your martech needs with the company’s IT strategy and resources, which will be critical to implementation and support. Best-practice tip: First, it’s a good idea to jointly review your organization’s current technologies and determine how marketing can maximize the potential of what’s already available to use and where gaps exist for future investment.
- Create test schemes to pilot new marketing technologies. Start small — one team, one region, or one center of excellence — and really commit to it for six to 12 months to achieve quick results and learnings (especially in terms of how they impact customer engagement). Best-practice tip: Review what worked well, identify gaps, and use the metrics that you adopted and refined during the process to optimize and deploy these new technologies to other teams and geographies.
- Enable and encourage marketers to use your new marketing technologies. What’s the point of having all these shiny technologies if no one knows how to properly use them, right? Provide training, and make the time for your team to pursue certification courses. Have power users and experts train and support other team members with customized training and content specific to your organization. Design internal enablement content (e.g., how-to guides) that your marketers can refer to as part of their day jobs. Best-practice tip: Ask for your marketing colleagues’ feedback! Use these insights to continuously improve your martech stack’s ability to create customer value and efficiency.
Want to learn more? Clients can access more data and research through the Forrester portal and can also schedule a guidance session with Christina Schmitt. If you’re not yet a client, connect with one of our industry experts here.
Additionally, it might interest you that Forrester has launched a new product to drive better customer experiences and growth: Forrester Decisions for Revenue Operations. More information on this new service is available in this blog.