Marketing technology has been around for a few years now. At first, most of the marketing tech companies were founded by former marketers who outgrew their past jobs and went on to create software that would make them better marketers. To this day, many of the marketing tech companies are run by marketers. On top of that, https://fitose.com/ says, most marketing departments are exclusively staffed by people with backgrounds in marketing, like copywriting and digital strategy specialists for instance.
As B2B organizations grew more sophisticated when it came to marketing, more and more companies started to use marketing technology. Many of the marketing leaders we interviewed said that their companies went through a 3-step process to embrace marketing technology:
1) Stage 1: Searching for tools
This first stage usually involves a lot of tool testing and experimenting before finding the right technology. The question in this stage is “what are all the tools out there?”
2) Stage 2: Finding what works
After a company figures out which tools work best for them, they focus on improving those particular tools rather than searching for new ones. The question in this stage is “what are the best tools?”
3) Stage 3: Embrace automation
The third and final stage is a shift towards automation. No longer are marketers trying to figure out which tools work best. They’re focused on using technology to solve larger scale challenges for their organization. The question in this stage is “how can we use technology to scale what works?”
The problem with Stage 3 is that it’s really challenging to build automation into marketing tech products because most marketing platform vendors aren’t used to working in a way that requires them to think about how people might use their product years into the future.
At the same time, we’re seeing more and more B2B companies move from Marketing Technology to Content Marketer. This transition isn’t necessarily a bad thing because it means that marketing technology has evolved into something that’s needed by a wider audience. Regardless of where your organization stands on this transition, there’s one thing all of these organizations agree on: marketing technology is confusing.
This isn’t an opinion or a point of view. It’s actually a fact, according to our research. In the survey we conducted of 500 marketers in the U.S., over 80% think marketing tech products are “confusing” or “not easy to understand.
So, how can you restructure marketing technology internally so that you’ll get the best results? Well, we’ve been in your shoes before. Back in the day, we built a marketing technology tool called HubSpot Sales that integrates with all of the major marketing tools. Imagine everything you need to do to market a product: Design and create web pages, email campaigns, and ads using online marketing tools like HubSpot and Marketo. Then use another platform like Salesforce or SugarCRM to coordinate sales activities. Finally, use yet another software like Excel to keep track of all important customer data.
Utilizing all of these platforms can be overwhelming for marketers and salespeople alike because they’re each trying to do their own thing. Marketing teams often spend their time figuring out how to make the tools work together and not enough time making sure that marketing activities actually add value to customers.
As a former HubSpot salesperson who ran a Marketing Technology team, I know something about being stuck in this broken system. In fact, we used to joke about it all the time. However, over the past few years we’ve come up with some unique ideas on how to build a better marketing technology product. Through our own experiences and when speaking with multiple organizations, we found that these key concepts can help companies move from marketing technology to content marketer:
1) The Marketing Technology Team is Still Sold on Marketing
We all know that marketing is broken. Unfortunately, when a company embraces marketing technology, they often try to make it better by focusing on how things work together. What marketers forget is that when they improve marketing technology, the product becomes less useful because professionals start relying on it to solve their customers’ problems.
Our team at HubSpot knew this from the beginning and avoided building a marketing technology product. Instead, we focused on making HubSpot Sales as easy to use as possible for our salespeople and hiring marketers who could contribute new ideas for how salespeople and marketers could use our tool.
The Marketing Technology Team should still be focused on bringing in the best kinds of new tools because salespeople need the type of marketing technology that makes their jobs easier. The problem is, when salespeople get access to a tool, they often try to do everything themselves: Set up the tools, figure out how it all works together, and then update the systems where needed. What’s worse, this creates more work for them because everything they’ve done needs to be documented and accounted for.
This is why we think the Marketing Technology Team should focus on endorsement marketing and building automation into tools that marketers are already using.
When we talk to salespeople, they often tell us that they want HubSpot Sales to do more for them. They want it to remember their tasks so they can figure out how to close deals and get paid.
To solve this problem, we’re working on an internal project that helps HubSpot Sales manage all of the documentation around activities like cold calling and creating sales presentations. With one click of a button, salespeople can store information about meetings with prospects and create task lists in their calendar at the same time.
The idea is pretty simple: By automating work processes into existing software like HubSpot Sales, marketers get more time to focus on adding value for customers and making sure sales people actually succeed at closing deals.
2) Marketing Technology Teams Should Be Trained to Think Longterm
At HubSpot, we know that companies need to think longterm about their marketing technology. That’s why there are both a Sales and Marketing Technology Team inside the company. The marketing technology team focuses on building new products and technologies for marketers while the sales team focuses on how to sell products they create.
We’ve seen time and time again that it’s much easier to build new products with a focus on long-term strategy. When a company misses this mark, it’s too often because marketers never truly understand their customers or the product they’re selling.