Managing MarTech transformations: Six key tips from the experts

Earlier this year I had the privilege of hosting a round table at ProcureCon Marketing London. The focus of the session was to understand the hidden costs of marketing and MarTech transformation – a topic that’s close to my heart.

To provide a bit of context, too often during my career, I’ve seen organisations deliver a major technology implementation, only to find that it has gone over budget due to the unexpected.

Examples of these unplanned challenges include unplanned costs incurred through scope creep, requirements for additional team support and – far too often — the rework required to deploy and integrate new ways of working into an existing marketing ecosystem.

These mitigating factors have a significant impact on the costs of the implementation, but also the business case and the expected ROI to be delivered. 

So it was a great pleasure to be joined by seven senior marketing procurement specialists from around the world to discuss how they manage these issues and, more importantly, put the appropriate checks and balances in place to minimise any nasty surprises.

Recommendation #1 – Pilot Programmes

Most of us agreed that prior to any major initiative being deployed in full, a pilot programme is important [or essential]. Running smaller pilot activities can help to assess the potential impact on the business as well as to confirm or refine your expected ROI and business case successes.

This approach also allows you to identify and understand any potential cost risks and challenges that the full deployment may create [or generate]. You can then apply the results to build a more complete picture to help with the final decision about whether or not you choose to move forward with the project.

Recommendation #2 – Review your Stakeholders

We also discussed stakeholders, who they are and what their role is in making business decisions. Our dialogue highlighted that when it comes to marketing technology deployments, not all of your stakeholders are immediately obvious. You may find that the project may require input from finance, operations, creative, digital, or somewhere else entirely — depending on the integration that you use, or the processes that you work with.

Checking who might be impacted or affected, even peripherally, by your transformation will allow you to plan and identify additional budget requirements from teams that are not normally part of your day to day activities.

Recommendation #3 – Budget Ownership v Outcome Ownership

Depending on the structure of your organisation, budgets may be owned by one team (such as IT) to deliver a benefit of another team (such as marketing). This can create some challenges around decision-making and ownership during a transformational change project, however.

For example, it can manifest itself in decisions around integration or implementation platforms and may lead to partners being selected based on cost, rather than capability. 

Where possible, a single owner should be responsible for both the budget and the results, to ensure the project remains consistent and on track with your agreed objectives.

Recommendation #4 – Invest in the Team

As with any large-scale project, bringing the whole team along on the journey is essential for any marketing transformation change to succeed. Achieving this starts from understanding the business requirements as well as the needs of individual users and team members. As you progress through the transformation, it is essential to communicate, train and validate key decisions with the whole marketing organisation. This helps to ensure that the whole team is onboard with you and that everyone is pulling in the same direction. 

Once you’re approaching the end of the transformation activity, be sure the team is fully trained and supported on the new marketing operations, strategies, vision for CX processes and technologies in place to ensure maximum success for the future.

Recommendation #5 – Aim for Incremental as well as Long Term Returns

Like any other big change project, marketing transformations can often take many years to deliver. As such, it’s important to recognise short term quick wins along the way to keep the team motivated and moving forward. During the planning stage it’s important to take into account not only what the five-year end goal might look like, but also what success looks like in two years and one years’ time. 

Factoring these mid-programme milestones, set against clear objectives, helps to show you are staying on track for your long-term business case.

Recommendation #6 – Work with the Specialists

Admittedly, this last one is a bit closer to home, but equally important, nonetheless. Organisations often struggle to understand the real world impacts all major technology or marketing transformations have on the business as a whole.

This is not because they don’t understand their needs and capabilities, but because they’re not always fully aware of the realities of implementing and using the technology or tools they have purchased. Engaging with a specialist organisation that understands both marketing and technology – even if it’s for a short period of time – helps to build a robust plan for the future.

The beer and bubbles that accompanied the round table helped to make our round table discussion more informal and the conversation flow. We shared success and horror stories from transformation projects, but always came back to the heart of what makes them work: clear objectives, communication and teamwork. 

This article was also featured in Marketing Procurement IQ you can also Read it here.

If you missed our first article on `The Hidden Costs of Martech Transformation‘ you can read on our website.

Please do get in touch if you wish to discuss how to unravel your Martech.

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