Tech Strategies for Scalability

July 17, 2019 Sarah Frazier

As a marketing operations leader, you know that while there isn’t a single right path to scalability, there are plenty of paths that will lead you astray. But with a complex, ever-growing martech ecosystem, it’s all too easy to bet the company on the wrong technology or waste valuable budget on the wrong things. So how do smart MOPS leaders ensure that you overcome technology challenges instead of falling victim to them? And what steps can you take to make certain your company achieves the growth you want without a corresponding rise in expenses? Let’s take a closer look at the technology challenges facing MOPS leaders today and discuss how to conquer them.

The Challenge: The MarTech Landscape is Complex…and Costly

The martech landscape is complex and growing. In fact, according to Chief Martech, the 2019 marketing technology landscape is comprised of 7,040 companies, a three percent increase over 2018. But martech landscape creator Scott Brinker asserts that the number still doesn’t capture the entire picture of what’s happening in technology. “The immediate reaction would be, This is it, we’ve reached peak martech. But what it comes down to isn’t so much peak martech. It’s peak martech landscape.”  

What does Brinker mean by this? Essentially, there’s so much martech out there, it can’t be captured and included in a single graphic. Considering the fact that WordPress alone has 54,000 plugins and large martech entities like Marketo and Adobe have their own apps and solutions, it’s easy to see how trying to measure and “know” the martech landscape can seem like a fool’s errand.

And this can cause issues for marketing operations leaders who are expected to lead the charge for martech solutions at your enterprises. With an average 29% of a CMO’s budget being allocated for martech, the stakes are high; a poor choice or mistake can be extremely costly.  But it simply isn’t realistic for a MOPS director to have personal knowledge of more than 7,000 tools.

The Challenge: Underutilizing Your Tech Stack Can Be Costing You Real Money

Research shows that enterprise companies have more than 200 software-as-a-service (SaaS) subscriptions with multiple billing owners. If you aren’t careful, things like duplicate subscriptions and orphaned subscriptions—subscriptions that continue to be billed even though the billing owner has left the company—can quickly eat up valuable budget. And speaking of not using what you have, research also shows that 91% of marketers don’t feel they have a complete, fully-utilized technology stack and 59% say they don’t fully utilize the marketing technology they have today. 

Yikes! Numbers like those strike fear in the hearts of marketing directors across the land, as they indicate that you’re getting far less value from your martech stack than you’re paying for. But you don’t know what you don’t know, and if you aren’t intimately familiar with the latest version of each piece of your martech software, you won’t have the knowledge necessary to understand what it is capable of versus what it is doing.

The Solution: Audit Your Tech Stack

To overcome the aforementioned challenges and ensure your martech stack is on the right track to help you generate leads, create and deliver meaningful, relevant content and track customers, it’s imperative you perform an audit. Only by getting a clear idea of where you are can you identify any areas that are underperforming, highlight areas that need extra attention and find areas where duplication exists and you can streamline—and save money in the process.

Auditing your tech stack also allows you to understand who in your organization knows and “owns” specific functionality and software, giving you a clear picture of who to go to for answers if issues or problems arise—or if you need help better understanding how something works. Essentially, performing an audit makes clear the often muddy waters of your martech stack, bringing transparency and a sense of order to an organic system that is many times chaotic. Here are the basic steps you need to take to perform an audit.

Create a comprehensive list

Write down the name of every martech solution you have, across business units, departments and offices.

Classify software

Next to each martech solution, write down its main functionality. Does it send email campaigns? Does it provide analytics? Don’t just go on what the vendor provides; ask one of your employees who really uses it.

Sort by classification

Organize your martech stack based on which tools do what. Group all of the tools that manage social media together in one area and all of the tools that provide analytics in another area.

Perform an evaluation

Use data to help you determine which tools are performing best and which aren’t delivering. Does one lead generation tool consistently outperform another? Are you getting the same metrics from more than one piece of software, and if so, which provides the metrics in the most easy-to-understand way? Work with your team to determine your criteria, then consider using a shared doc to provide a collaborative evaluation.

Axe the extra

After identifying critical martech software, you’ll also have a good idea of what is no longer needed. Now’s the time to get rid of outdated, duplicate or less-than-useful software, as well as any orphan subscriptions.

Consider new tech

You may find you have the need to replace outdated technology with something newer that will allow you to perform more efficiently, and there’s no shortage of potential solutions. To get started on the right path, consult with colleagues in similar positions about their software choices. Also consider reviews and industry awards as you’re narrowing down your list of potential candidates.

Continuously communicate

Ensure that you’re communicating throughout the process, letting everyone know what the plan is, how it is unfolding and what’s happening next. Doing so will help you achieve buy-in and will lower the chances that someone feels like they need to go outside the process to accomplish their goals.

Technology is just one aspect of your scalability

One important thing to remember, however, is that while your technology is an important aspect of your business’ ability to scale, it is still just one single aspect. Your business practices, processes and people also have an impact on your scalability. Your martech stack can be completely on point but if the rest of your business isn’t, scalability will be just beyond your grasp.

Do you know the areas in which your business excels and which areas have room for improvement? Take our brief scalability quiz for a personalized assessment of your scalability situation.

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