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5 Critical Questions to Ask When Buying Marketing Software

Lindsay Tjepkema
Lindsay Tjepkema , Marketing Director, Americas , Emarsys

luella

Luella Ben Aziza
Marketing
Emarsys

5 Critical Questions to Ask When Buying Marketing Software

When it comes to buying marketing technology, it can be hard to work out which one will work for your specific needs. Suppliers want your business, so they’ll find a way to make their technology work for you, but these questions will help you to objectively verify the suitability of your contenders.

  1. What’s the challenge I’m trying to solve?

This is an easy question to answer – it’ll be the same challenge that bugs you or your customers! Do your customers stop buying after one purchase? Do you lack enough budget for great marketing? Is there too much marketing to do for one person? Before you even think about suppliers you must answer this question, because even the best marketing technology can’t help you if you don’t know why you’re using it.

  1. What data can the technology capture?

Once you’ve confirmed why you’re investing in technology, focus on how it can help you. Technology will base its customer analysis and automation on the data it collects, so it’s important to make sure it can collect the data you want to analyse and act on. For example, do you want transactional data, i.e. real-time updates of your customers’ paths to purchase? Or do you want behavioral data so you can see how your customers engage with your brand, and what makes them “tick”?

What about cons? Is there any way the data capture method will negatively affect your marketing? Might it slow down the speed of your website? Will it cause privacy concerns?

  1. How user-friendly and integrated is the technology?

You or your team will use this every day, so if it isn’t intuitive enough to use, you’re either going to avoid using it or use much-needed budget to hire an expert who can. Here’s a brief checklist to help you understand how user-friendly a technology is:

User experience: if you want to use more than one tool, like a combination of data capture and analysis, it’s crucial that the tools speak to each other. A lot of suppliers use third party technology to add value to their offer, and if it’s the best technology around, that makes sense. But if they’re using other technologies, they must work seamlessly with one another. If you have to log into many platforms, or manually upload data from one to another, the experience will be arduous and confusing.

Integration with your other technologies: If you’re an eCommerce retailer, it’s likely you use Magento, or something similar, as your web platform. It’s important to be sure your web platform can talk to your customer intelligence/analytical tools or other tech.

User interface: How easy are the metrics to understand? Are the analytics visual and easily explained to others?

To ensure the technology is easy to use, ask if the technologies act as a unified system, or if they are separate products branded as one.

  1. How much is it and what’s the estimated return on investment?

Does the technology cover the detail you need? Some marketing teams who are only concerned about resource may want a functional marketing tool, so a more simple and economical option may appeal. On the other hand, deep metrics and actionable insight can increase profit, highlight new revenue streams and reduce customer churn.

  1. How much is it and what’s the estimated return on investment?

Marketing technology can mean significant investment, so people will expect results. It’s important to understand the cost of your investment so you can tell the board how much return you need before you profit. If you can work this out as a quantitative figure it’s even more impressive!

Don’t forget – the cheapest option isn’t always the best – and neither is the most expensive! It’s what works for you that matters. Keep your challenge from question 1 in close focus. If it doesn’t solve this challenge you won’t justify the cost.