• There aren’t a lot of software tools for portfolio marketers
  • Portfolio marketers can leverage data about their target market segments and buyers from tools originally designed for other purposes
  • Tools are valuable for gathering data, but portfolio markets shouldn’t forget to talk directly to customers

Have you ever noticed that portfolio marketers don’t have any gadgets, tools or technologies to play with? Sales has salesforce automation (SFA), sales analytics and even appointment-scheduling software. Product managers use document and collaboration solutions, tools to create product roadmaps, and software to manage new ideas and track user reactions to new concepts. Marketers responsible for campaigns, Web sites and content have marketing automation platforms (MAP), Web site optimization and content management systems.

There isn’t a lot in the way of technology to help portfolio marketers figure out go-to-market strategies, personas and buyer journey maps, messaging and product launches. Maybe we should be glad there isn’t (yet) an artificial intelligence tool that creates perfectly resonating messages when you input all the buyer persona attributes. If there were, many of us could be out of a job.

In the meantime, we have some opportunities to play nicely in the sandbox with other people’s toys. As a portfolio marketer, you could:

  • Leverage SFA tools to flesh out your personas with a few extra data points about persona attributes, customer needs or buyer journeys that can be used to refine your messaging and go-to-market strategies. Also use your SFA tool to identify competitors, perform win/loss analysis, determine lead sources, and find cross-sell and upsell opportunities.
  • Utilize tagging in your MAP to determine key aspects of personas, such as which titles are involved in the buying process and what content they download. Analyze the historical touch analysis in your MAP to define buyer interactions throughout the buying cycle.
  • Get feedback from new product technologies such as idea management or concept testing software to get an early look into future product direction and leverage customer feedback in market requirements.
  • Review results from Web analytics and content management tools to find out more about interactions during buyer journeys, measure the effectiveness of content and identify content preferences by target persona.
  • Understand marketplace trends and know which competitors are gaining traction by reviewing information from social listening tools to see how often competitors or new products are named.

Portfolio marketers need to be able to gather intelligence about target markets and buyers from multiple sources. The more you can leverage tools that capture information across all your target buyers, the better you’ll be able to develop insights that inform your go-to-market strategies, persona definitions and value propositions. Just remember that no matter how much data you glean from all these tools, nothing takes the place of talking directly with customers to better understand buyer challenges, needs and initiatives. So have at it! Go ask your colleagues if you can play with their toys. Just don’t forget to talk to customers, too

For more information about tools for sales and marketing, see The Sirius Directions in Technology Model.