As the CEO or owner of a small to midsize business (SMB), getting the most out of your limited marketing resources is vital to your success. And it can be a complicated proposition.
Do you invest in new technology? Do you hire more staff on your marketing team? Is it a combination of the two?
It turns out throwing money at new tools isn’t always the best idea. Instead, look to train your employees on how to better utilize what you already have before thinking about onboarding a new piece of software. You may be surprised by how much you can accelerate the impact of your marketing technology (martech) stack by developing your team, not by buying more tech.
To that end, this article shares three findings from GetApp’s 2022 Emerging Martech Trends Survey [*] that illustrate the importance of developing your personnel as well as share some actionable tips to help along the way.
We surveyed 301 U.S.-based small marketers to learn about the usage of new martech and its effectiveness in their organizations, and here’s what we found:
Finding 1: New martech may not meet expectations
Finding 2: New martech can be difficult to implement
Finding 3: Leaning on social media can have an outsized impact
According to our 2022 Emerging Martech Trends Survey [*], 42% of marketers who invested in new, disruptive, or emerging martech within the last 12 months said the outcome only met or even fell short of their expectations.
What this means is that even if you adopt new martech—and incur the cost—you may not see the benefits you were hoping for. Instead of looking at new tech from the outset, there’s an opportunity to improve your use of existing tools to avoid the pitfall of buying something new only to have it fall short of expectations.
A good way to go about this is to take stock of your current tech stock in order to identify features that work well on a daily basis as well as gaps in functionality. It’s possible that your employees either aren’t trained or don’t feel confident with your current tool’s features.
For example, if you have email marketing software with analytics capabilities but the tool is complicated to use, employees may turn to manually collecting data to get the job done. This not only costs more time and energy, but it also means you’re not getting the most out of the tools at your disposal.
Take stock of your current tech stack and survey your marketing department to see what works well and where a tool may fall short. Work to correct the deficiencies by enlisting the help of team members who do feel confident with the tool. If no one does? Set up training sessions with the software vendor which will also allow you to ask specific questions and request missing features.
Our Emerging Martech Trends Survey [*] also sought to identify the reasons why new and emerging martech is difficult to implement into an existing tech stack. Two of the top reasons we discovered were lack of staff skills and difficulty with integrating new tech into an existing infrastructure.
What this means for you is that—before considering adopting new tech—you should make sure your staff are fully confident in the tools you already have. There may be room for improvement with your current stack that has yet to be addressed, and it’s a much better strategy to shore up those gaps before investing more resources into new tools.
Becoming more familiar with current tools means employees in your marketing department can feel more confident in their day-to-day work. This in turn allows them to focus on bigger picture ideas like improving your long-term marketing strategy. Adding new tech to your stack can be disruptive to employees’ workflow and something to avoid if possible.
Conduct a workshop that brings your marketing department together to use tools in real time. Bonus points if it’s a working session with actual tasks related to a marketing campaign! This will help identify areas for improvement or features that could be better utilized as well as allow employees to collaborate and share usage tips (while getting work done at the same time).
With so many types of digital marketing in use today, including both integrated and omnichannel approaches, it can be overwhelming to try and cover all your bases as an SMB owner or CEO. This makes it even more important to focus on areas of marketing that will have an outsize impact with the limited resources available to you.
Enter social media. Our third finding identified social media as the most used marketing function and social media management platforms as the most used martech. A whopping 76% of respondents use some form of social marketing tool, and—even more telling—social media management platforms were marked as the most valuable technology when it comes to meeting marketing objectives. [*]
What’s clear to us from these findings is that organizations seeking to increase the impact of their martech should first look to their social media strategy and the tools they have in place to accomplish it. Marketers these days need to have both a depth and breadth of knowledge when it comes to different marketing functions, and the concept of the T-shaped marketer  illustrates this perfectly.
A T-shaped marketer is someone who has expertise in more than one marketing function, typically 1-3 separate areas. They may have a larger depth of knowledge in one area, but they are familiar with and competent in others as well.
The advantage of becoming a T-shaped marketer is that you can connect the dots between functions in order to think ahead and be proactive with decision-making as it relates to other areas of your marketing strategy.
For example, when a social media manager is creating content for a new social campaign, they may realize that their copy will also be used in promotional emails. They can then get ahead of a request to convert their messages to an email-friendly format by simply doing that ahead of time. With their knowledge and expertise, it may be a small lift for them that will have a huge impact on the overall process.
Provide learning and development opportunities for your employees to cross train. This can take the form of setting up workshops that include people from different functions, setting up collaboration opportunities in daily workflows, or granting employees access to learning platforms so they can broaden their knowledge.
When considering adopting new martech, the two main questions to ask are:
What impact will this new tech have on our organization?
Do we have the right internal processes and personnel in place to take full advantage?
If the answer to either of these questions is murky, you may want to take a step back to suss out what you’re really hoping to get from new tech. Then—before going through the process of buying a new tool—identify if that goal can be accomplished by training your employees on the tech you already have.
With these findings, you should not only have a much easier time cross training employees and improving the impact of your martech stack, but you’ll also save money in the long run by avoiding unnecessary software purchases.
If you’re interested in learning more about all things digital marketing, visit the GetApp blog and check out these resources to start:
* GetApp conducted this survey in May 2022 among 301 U.S. marketers. Qualified respondents were screened to work full-time in marketing, advertising, sales, or IT departments and have some level of involvement in marketing-related activities. Respondents were also required to have invested in some form of emerging or disruptive technology in the last 12 months.
1. What Is A T-Shaped Marketer, DigitalMarketer
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