A better way to spend your tech dollars

social media applications and content management just a small part of the long list of technology marketing teams are investing in

When you think of technology spending at a company, you probably assume the IT department disperses nearly all the money, with a small percentage going to departmental tech like smartphones and cloud services. But according to Laura McLellan, Gartner's vice president of marketing strategies, 50 per cent of IT spending outside of the IT budget goes through marketing departments -- on top of IT's expenditures on marketing technology. In fact, by 2016, 80 per cent of marketing tech investments will come outside of IT, Gartner predicts.

What is marketing spending its tech dollars on? The list is long, including social media applications, marketing analytics (Web, social, and dashboards), content management, campaign management, search-engine optimisation, and collaboration tools. In the next year, the top areas for digital marketing investment will be social media, mobile applications, customer relationship management (CRM), customer analytics, content management, collaboration tools, and predictive analytics. These technologies break down into three broad buckets:

  • Marketing automation. This includes content management and social media monitoring, as well as the automation, aggregation, and analysis of social data, not to mention established technologies such as sales-force automation and CRM. The goal of this category is to increase the effectiveness of the marketing processes themselves.

  • Social technology and mobile technology. Both technologies produce fundamentally different interactions with and among customers. How marketers can take advantage of them is unclear. At one end is the monitoring of people's new behaviours -- what they comment on in social media and how they shop or look up information when not at a desk, for example. At the other is using these new conduits to customers to serve them actively, such as tapping into location data to provide localised recommendations (geotargeting and hyperlocal).

  • Analytics for real-time business intelligence. Historically, companies have used BI to assess the past, then rollout changes based on that assessment. But in a fast-moving world that insight often comes too late. Also, it's typically based on data collected for very specific purposes, so the insights that can be gleaned from it tend to be limited to those original purposes. But new, often cloud-based technologies, collectively called big data, are providing ways to analyse information very quickly (even in real time), from multiple sources. Companies can adjust their operations and marketing more quickly -- and even more targeted to specific types of customers.

What's pushing marketing as the new technology lead

Today, marketers must lead with data and insight, and that is completely technology-driven, says Liz Miller, vice president of marketing programs and operations at the CMO Council. It's the same reason that 20 years ago, IT was closely aligned to the CFO, who at the time was challenged with creating financial systems that were transparent, consistent, analysable and scalable in a globalising world. In a world where customers are increasingly found in digital venues such as social media, websites, and apps, marketers are focused on how customers interact with companies, what companies can learn from those interactions through analytics, how businesses can better integrate and participate in those digital contexts, and how businesses can innovate the customer experience to add more value and thus increase sales and lower turnover.

Accomplishing these four goals means using technology across the board, both within the company and to interact through customer touchpoints. The technologies need to work together or at least let the information flow across the technology mix, whether owned by marketing or IT (it's usually a mix).

How one marketing chief's tech strategy works

At four-year-old data-storage startup Actifio, the marketing technology investment, which is all all cloud-based, is two to three times that of internal IT spending. The company's investment in marketing tech is all about increasing both sales and employee productivity.

As part of that effort, Actifio uses Jive social networking software to create a living knowledge management system across its employees, which helps the sales- and support-heavy company better serve customers. "We all know what each of us know," says chief markerting officer Mike Troiano.

As its other core marketing tech, Actifio uses Cisco Systems' WebEx service for conferencing and Salesforce.com for its sales-force automation and CRM.

Actifio has also invested in HubSpot for inbound marketing, primarily for lead management automation, or collecting data about potential customers then segmenting them for targeted communication, personalisation, relationship building, and inquiry and sales management. With some lightweight scripting, HubSpot connects the company's blog to the Salesforce.com CRM software; this way, potential customers who come to the blog are linked to the CRM system for sales and marketers to use. As a result, Troiano saw its Web leads rise from one to two per month to 60 per month.

Still, despite realising productivity gains his marketing technology investments, Troiano says data integration and unified user experience are both lacking across the pieces he's assembled. This year, he hopes to improve integration for the reporting and tracking function across products to better monitor the customer journey at all touchpoints, so he can measure what and who works effectively.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Blog Posts

7 ways to champion a human centred design culture

Human Centred Design (HCD) has come a long way in the last decade with many forward-thinking organisations now asking for HCD teams on their projects. It’s increasingly seen as essential to unlocking innovation, driving superior customer experiences and reducing delivery risk.

Shane Burford

Head of research and design, RXP Group

Building a human-curated brand

If the FANG (Facebook, Amazon, Netflix, Google) sector and their measured worth are the final argument for the successful 21st Century model, then they are beyond reproach. Fine-tuning masses of algorithms to reduce human touchpoints and deliver wild returns to investors—all with workforces infinitesimally small compared to the giants of the 20th Century—has been proven out.

Will Smith

Co-founder and head of new markets, The Plum Guide

Sustainability trends brands can expect in 2020

​Marketers have made strides this year in sustainability with the number of brands rallying behind the Not Business As Usual alliance for action against climate change being a sign of the times. While sustainability efforts have gained momentum this year, 2020 is shaping up to be the year brands are really held accountable for their work in this area.

Ben King

CSR manager & sustainability expert, Finder

Hey Vanessa, thanks for providing us the things marketers should know about data privacy. This was really an informative post.

astha sharma

5 things marketers should know about data privacy in 2020

Read more

Well, that's good to know that. Any other news you want to share here? I can't wait to see more.

Phil Godfrey

Queensland appoints first chief customer and digital officer

Read more

It's a pretty interesting article to read. I will learn more about this company later.

Dan Bullock

40 staff and 1000 contracts affected as foodora closes its Australian operations

Read more

If you think it can benefit both consumer and seller then it would be great

Simon Bird

Why Ford is counting on the Internet of Things to drive customer engagement

Read more

It's a good idea. Customers really should control their data. Now I understand why it's important.

Elvin Huntsberry

Salesforce CMO: Modern marketers have an obligation to give customers control of their data

Read more

Latest Podcast

More podcasts

Sign in