This 6-part blog series provides a step-by-step guide to help you through the process of conducting a Martech Stack Assessment. In this instalment, Jason Semenek discusses how to identify what to focus on next and what to drop from the stack, along with prioritizing those tactics.
In step 4 “Martech Stack Assessment”, you will begin work on building a Martech Action Plan. In the previous articles in this series, Andy Shaw guided you through identifying the components of your martech stack (Step 1), documenting their connections (Step 2) and you’ve completed an honest evaluation of the various components (Step 3). If you have not gone through these exercises yet, I strongly recommend taking the time to do so. Having a clear picture of where you are today will allow you to more accurately chart your future growth.
Be Prepared for the Budget Concern
In my experience working with clients on martech stack assessments and technology roadmapping, budget concerns are often the biggest item that people get hung up on. “We don’t have the funds for that” is a regular comment. But, I’m always surprised by how much budget can be mobilized when a clear picture of the future is presented. Quite often, through the process of evaluating and planning, efficiencies are identified (in both technology and staffing) that allow either more budget to be freed up, or more time from team members to become available as the technology is improved. These savings, when examined as part of the martech roadmap, allow funds to be shifted to where they will have the most impact. Keeping this in mind may encourage the team to identify ways they can optimize and will help keep the discussion on track.
Time for the fun part! While it is impossible to cover the entire process in a few paragraphs, here are some high-level ideas to guide this critical meeting.
From the workbook that you developed in Step 3, you should have a list of all the components of your martech stack, their primary purpose, how they are interconnected, and an evaluation of their effectiveness in meeting the goals of the marketing department. With this workbook in hand, remind the group of your top three or four marketing goals. These goals were essential in developing the Report Card for your martech stack and should also be your primary guides for developing the digital technology plan.
With a critical eye, review the key components of the stack. Ask yourselves the following questions:
- What IS working, and how can we use it better? For example, if your marketing automation solution is working but would be even more useful if it had more data feeding into it, how do we solve for this? These are likely quick wins and will help the meeting gain momentum.
- What IS NOT working, and what do we do about it? Do we have the wrong solution? Is it not being used? Should we change how we use it, sunset the software, replace it? The answers your team provides may be surprising! For example, a content management tool may be extremely useful. However, if there are only 2 people on your content creation team, it may unnecessarily complicate the process, and you should consider removing it from your technology stack.
- What is MISSING? Identify the gaps in technology that are barriers to achieving the specified goals. These may be the hardest questions, as it is often hard to see what is missing. Rely on your daily users to identify key needs to help guide the discussion. This can be a real brainstorming session and will result in a wish list of technologies.
When you have a clear understanding of the current state of your technology stack and have identified the gaps, it is then time to think about the future. Develop the plan by working together to identify the most critical items that need attention. This is often the most difficult part of the process, as everyone will have an opinion on what is most urgent based on their role. Give your team the opportunity to share their thoughts and gain support.
Once the most critical items are identified, build out the timeline for action:
- Identify tactics which are easy to implement and prioritize them.
- Look for obvious precursors (for example: we need to first update our CRM in order to better integrate with marketing automation), and plot those on the timeline.
- Take into consideration other priorities – especially important for cyclical businesses.
- Set realistic target dates and identify key milestones for each item on the plan.
- When the timeline is finished, expect to have some items that need to be tabled for future consideration.
Once your timeline is developed, don’t let it die! As the team leader, it is your job to make these changes a priority within the organization. Remember this is not an overnight process – it is a journey of incremental changes that will lead to vast improvements over the term of the plan.
Keep in mind that these improvements, with a bit of work, will benefit the entire department.
The ideas I have shared are just a starting point for completing your Martech Action Plan. If this all sounds like a lot of work… it is! But it is a critical part of ensuring the success of your department and your company. It is also extremely rewarding for the participants and can lead to increased morale and job satisfaction.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help! Tegrita specializes in facilitating martech assessments and roadmapping – take a look at some of the free resources we have available on our website to get you started. Contact us today if you would like help with your assessment and roadmapping.
In the final post of this series, 4 Steps to a Digital Dream Stack, I will share with you how all these steps come together to help you and your team move forward in your modern marketing journey.
Martech Stack Assessment Blog Series;
- Franken-Stack Prevention: An Essential Guide to Martech Stack Assessment.
- Step 1: “Taking Stock”.
- Step 2: “It’s All About Connections”.
- Step 3: “The Report Card”.
- Step 4: “Building a Marketing Technology Assessment Plan”.
- Series Wrap-up: “4 Steps to a Digital Dream Stack”.
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