How to make marketing technology choices when there are 7000 options


When we started TEMPO in 2010, our mission was to help clients make the marketing technology decisions that fit their business goals.  That’s still the mission, but in eight years, the marketing choices clients are faced with have exploded. If you’re a marketer, how in the world do you choose the right technology? Let’s see if we can help you with that. Read on.

7000 choices in 7 years

If you’re feeling overwhelmed, you’re right.  Just look at ChiefMartec‘s recap of their annual supergraphic of marketing choices.  When they started in 2011, there were fewer than 150 companies. Programmatic was a blip on the horizon. Data analytics barely existed.  By 2014, categories emerged, and the field split into user-facing and backend solutions.  In 2016, ECommerce, Data and Management got their own categories.  And as of 2018, there were 6829 companies big enough to register on their radar.


Specialization is Increasing

Before your eyes glaze over, focus just a moment on those increasing classifications. Tech is getting more and more specialized and much of the focus lately is on platforms that integrate with and manage other platforms – APIs, DAMs, and dashboards.  (In other words, tech that helps you manage your tech.)

ChiefMartec now identifies 6 distinctions:  Advertising and Promotion | Content and Experience | Social and Relationship | Commerce and Sales | Data | Management.

And each of these distinctions is further broken down into subspecialties.

Mobile Marketing
Display and Programmatic
Search and Social Advertising
Native/Content Advertising
Video Advertising

Content and Experience
Mobile Apps
Interactive Content
Video Marketing
Email Marketing
Content Marketing
Optimization, Personalization & Testing
Marketing Automation & Campaign/Lead Management
CMS and Web Experience Management

Social and Relationships
Call Analytics and Management
Events, Meetings & Webinars
Social Media Marketing and Monitoring
Advocacy, Loyalty and Referrals
Community and Reviews
Bots and Live Chat
Customer Experience, Service and Success

Commerce and Sales
Retail/Proximity and IoT Marketing
Channel, Partner and Local Marketing
Sales Automation, Enablement and Intelligence
Affiliate Marketing and Management
Ecommerce Marketing
Ecommerce Platforms and Carts

Audience/Marketing Data and Data Enhancement
Marketing Analytics, Performance and Attribution
Mobile and Web Analytics
Dashboards and Data Visualization
Business/Customer Intelligence and Data Science
iPaas, Cloud/Data Integration and Tag Management
Compliance and Privacy
Customer Data Platform

Talent Management
Product Management
Budgeting and Finance
Projects and Workflow
Agile and Lean Management
Vendor Analysis

Still with us? Glance back at the chart and under each of these 49 categories you’ll see that there are scores of companies competing in each one.

And that doesn’t include the middleware, backbone platforms or infrastructure.

So how do we help our clients make marketing choices?

Keep in mind that not every marketing solution is YOUR solution. It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the choices that are out there.  But not every solution is meant for every business. For one thing, most of our mid-size clients aren’t managing enough raw data to require the most sophisticated platforms.  Some of the platforms we’ve worked with aren’t worth the cost. (Oh yes, subscription creep is a thing. We recommend taking time to review the platforms you’re subscribed to and make sure they’re still worth the costs.) And some clients don’t have a CRM or sales team that requires lead nurturing or scoring.

So where do you start?

Because we focus on lead generation, we keep the scope of our concerns on those factors that make a difference:

For example, we look at your business model, the outlook for your industry, the threats and opportunities that management is willing to act on (now THERE’s a conversation!), the urgency and timing of your leads.  What happens to a lead after it comes in? Does it languish? Does it bottleneck at human assessment? How do you keep a lead energized and engaged?

We also look at the customer or customers. How complex is the decision? Who’s involved in the decision? Do they have the same concerns or different ones?

We talk with you about your internal assets. Do you have a creative team in house that manages your website and social media? Or another agency that does the same? Do they understand SEO and pay attention to how it integrates with your advertising? Or do you need an SEO audit and recommendation? SEO directly affects your PPC costs, which greatly affects the success of your campaigns. So we pay attention to that.

And we take a good look at your marketing budget.  Is it aligned with your goals? Digital media campaigns differ from traditional media because they have to be actively managed. That includes set-up: creative, tagging, analytics integration as well as day to day bid management, analytics and testing. Is your budget realistic? Boards can have unsophisticated views of digital marketing and a tendency toward wishful thinking. We prefer reality.

In the end it’s not so much about choosing from 7000 platforms. It’s about choosing the people who can help you ignore the noise and get the results that move your business forward.