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What Is Marketing Technology (MarTech)?

Defining Marketing Technology

Put simply, marketing technology—also called ‘martech’—is software or online tools that are used to aid your business marketing activities. Almost everyone involved with digital marketing uses martech to promote businesses and connect with clients.

A Short History Of Marketing Technology

Marketing technology began in the 1980s when the first PCs were made and marketers started to make the switch from offline marketing to database marketing. This allowed marketers to electronically monitor their customers and leads. ‘ACT!’ released the first database marketing software in 1986, which functioned like an electronic Rolodex.

CRM (Customer Relationship Management) became standard practice in the 90s. Although it took a big hit in the dot-com bubble burst, the advent of the Internet brought big changes to marketing automation. Marketers learned how to use social media, adapt to mobile marketing, and use search engines; all of this created the marketing technology landscape as we know it today.

The Proliferation of Marketing Technology

Marketing technology is everywhere nowadays. From social media campaigns to Google Analytics, there are a variety of tools at different price points that you can take advantage of. 

If you use the Internet at all, you’ve probably been the target of a martech tool. Virtually every online platform has some form of martech. If your business is online-based then you have no excuse for not taking advantage of martech. Stubborn businesses that don’t take advantage of the new tech will lag behind, if you want to expand your reach, martech is the way to go.

The Famous Marketing Technology Landscape Supergraphic

With the sheer number of martech tools developed over the past two decades, keeping track of all of them is a daunting task. Check out https://chiefmartec.com for their yearly listing. They map out thousands of these tools and arrange them by category for easy reference. They also graph martech expansion and analyze how the field has been evolving over time. They’ve recently released their 2019 supergraphic, with over 7,000 solutions.

Trying Marketing Technology For Your Business—Intimidating But Worth It!

Marketing technology can feel pretty intimidating—it’s tough to know where to start, especially with the vast array of choices. However, there’s nothing quite like martech; nothing else is quite as good as delivering bigger numbers, sales volume, and brand awareness.

Here’s Some Pointers So You Can Choose Confidently!

1. Understand Marketing Technology Categories

These are the most well-known marketing technology categories. Here’s a short description of each.

  • Advertising – this is the posting and preparation of advertisements on websites or search engines.
  • Content – these tech solutions are meant to strategize and track content creation. Whether it’s video, infographic, or audio, marketers have created a range of ways to disseminate content.
  • Email – one of the most direct methods, this involves sending newsletters and emails to customers for immediate reach and tracking.
  • CRM – customer relationship management involves storing as much relevant information about clients as possible to best know their needs and accommodate them.
  • E-commerce – used by retailers and consumer-forward brands, marketing tech in this category is focused on maximizing cart checkouts, as well as utilizing geolocation.
  • Analytics – this tool monitors customer behavior and messaging performance, and is used to predict customer trends. This is also often provided by social networks or search engines like Google or Twitter.

2. Understand Your Business’s Marketing Technology Needs

Not all businesses should follow the same strategies or use the same tools. Depending on what you’re engaged in, you should think about what you should use so you make the most out of your budget. Make it a point to examine the strengths and weaknesses of what you’re doing offline so you can use that to choose a good combination of marketing technology tools.

3. Make A List Of Features By Their Importance

Many successful marketing plans integrate as many of these tools as they can to create maximum visibility and better customer relationships. Figure out what your business priorities are, and which features you need the most from your selected options before you decide.

4. Shortlist 3 – 6 Options For Each Category

With over thousands of martech solutions, you should do some extensive research, and then narrow your sights to a minimum of 3 and a maximum of 6 options; and then try them out. By making a shortlist, you give yourself a few options, but you’re also not going overwhelmed by the mass of choices out there. If you find you go through your shortlist and still haven’t found your match, then just draw up another one!

5. Read Site Reviews

There are websites (like us!) that specifically aim to help businesses find software or online solutions for their needs, like Capterra for example. These websites typically review the latest tools, so it’s a good idea to browse these sites and learn about your tool of choice.

6. Speak To Users On Online Communities

Online feedback is important. Talk to people with similar goals and businesses—you’ll get honest reviews of martech and increase your business contacts.

7. Sit In On Demos Or Sign Up For Free Trials

The most surefire way to find out if something works for you is to try it out for yourself and see if it makes an impact on your business. Many martech tools give free trials or demos to entice customers—take advantage of these to see if the tool will work for you.

8. Consider Other Factors

Apart from efficiency and your budget, you have to think about ease of use, logistical problems, and how compatible the tool will be with your business and current offline marketing methods. No matter what returns a tool can give, if it’s too hard for you to use, you should probably consider your other options.

9. Try It Out For A Minimum Of 3 Months

It’s natural to want immediate results, but to see the full impact of a martech tool, give it at least 3 months. By that time, you’ll see if it’s made any difference to your numbers. Marketing growth doesn’t happen overnight, but if it hasn’t made a dent and three months have passed? It’s probably not for you.

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Donald Chan
Donald Chan

Donald Chan is the Founder and Head of Content at MarTech Wise, a leading online community for digital marketing and web professionals.

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