July 19, 2018

The 10 Things No One Teaches You About Marketing Technology

Jason Seeba | VP of Integrated Marketing, Dynamic Signal, GreenFig Instructor
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Jason Seeba | VP of Integrated Marketing, Dynamic Signal, GreenFig Instructor

Continuing with GreenFig’s instructors series, Jason Seeba, VP of Integrated Marketing at Dynamic Signal, taught Introduction to Marketing Automation and How to Build a MarTech Stack to our lifelong learners. Jason’s blog gives you some insight into Marketing Technology, critical success factors and considerations, his thoughts on GreenFig, and beautiful Bend, Oregon, where our live class is broadcasted from.  Read and enjoy!

I just flew back to the Bay Area from Bend, Oregon after teaching my first GreenFig class — “Introduction to Marketing Automation and How to Build a MarTech Stack.”

If you’re not familiar with GreenFig, it is an awesome program that is helping students, marketers, and returning veterans(!) get educated about digital marketing.  There is a deep dive into digital marketing (taught by industry guest lecturers) and then the group gets 40 hours of hands-on training with Marketo prior to culminating in a month long project with a local company.

In true Bend fashion, after quickly checking out a local brewery (there seems to be one on every corner), we walked through an intro to Marketing Automation including lead nurturing, scoring, and programs.  Then we looked at a bunch of MarTech stacks (thanks to Scott Brinker for the Stackies!) and talked about how companies build their stacks and roll out different technologies.

Finally, we had a discussion about the top ten things that no one seems to teach you about Marketing Technology.  Here are some of the ones we talked about:

1. Use technology as a catalyst for change.

It is really hard to get people to change their behavior.  It is a lot easier to get them to change their behavior by rolling out a new piece of technology that makes their life easier at the same time.

2. At the intersection of people, process, and technology, it is ultimately about people.

It might sound stereotypical, but your favorite Marketing Operation rockstar might be just as happy sitting in the back, never talking to Sales or Execs — or really much of anyone for that matter.  They may just want to sit on Slack and post sarcastic comments when their favorite Marketing Automation company goes down again. But time after time, to make your Marketing Technology project successful, it is about going and spending time with people making the difference.  It is sitting with frontline managers, understanding their manual processes, and getting them to buy into a structured, repeatable process.  Which leads into…

3. You need to create personal value for every stakeholder.

This one is easy.  If there is not something personally or professionally valuable for the people who are supposed to use the new technology or process you are rolling out, it simply is not going to work.  If someone has to fill out a new field in Salesforce as part of a process that you are rolling out, the benefit better be clear and matter to them (or their boss).

4. Understand people’s business challenges, do not just give them what they ask for.

If you are in Marketing Operations, there will be executives asking you to add a new field to Salesforce because of a short-term need.  Pushback.  Ask questions.  Figure out the real business need, not just how to answer their ask.  You need to take a holistic view of your MarTech stack including the experience in every system if you are going to create a great experience for your users.  Adding complication every time someone asks for something new will create a real problem for people down the line.

5. Do not buy tech if you do not have people to make it successful.

There was a great story floating around the Valley about one of the rocketship unicorns that was about to spend six figures on a new Marketing Technology — which they did not realize they already had purchased and were not using.  They hired someone to audit and ultimately tear down their stack. If you do not have the resources to make a new technology successful, do not waste your time.  And when a vendor says it will not take any effort on your side, they are wrong.  Tools like Cleanshelf can be helpful — which is SaaS for tracking/auditing all your other SaaS tools (kind of meta — when is there going to be a SaaS for tracking your SaaS for tracking your SaaS?!).

6. Every new tech comes with a cost – complication, money, or time.

There are countless MarTech vendors that just want to set up 15 minutes this week to talk about their new tool (I do feel for those SDRs, but that’s another discussion).  Even if the people were giving away their technology, there are still a handful of initiatives that I can roll out (and make successful) every year.  It is easy for someone to write checks and buy tons of tools, but if you’re going to get the real value and create an elegant experience for the people in your company, you have to choose wisely.

7. Be willing to experiment with early-stage technologies.

You will get an advantage by taking a risk on innovative and hopefully-soon-to-be-mainstream technologies, especially if you choose right.  There definitely are pains that come along with being an early adopter, but when new startups are working hard to make your initiative successful, you can get some great wins.

8. Let MarTech vendors educate you. 

I joked that I learned more from Marketo’s Definitive Guides than I did in my whole MBA (not true).  But considering that Marketing Automation was not even a glimmer in Jon Miller and Glen Lipka’s eyes when I graduated, there was a lot of education that needed to happen to get people onboard (me included) with a new concept like Marketing Automation.

Also, since MarTech vendors are talking to tons of different companies, they are in a very unique position to educate you on how other companies are trying to solve similar problems. Even more, the best ones should be able to connect you with a community of early adopters.  They might even connect you with your next role.

9. Find an intellectually honest way (and simple) to track marketing impact.

People cannot reasonably optimize to a large number of metrics.  Keep it simple, so people can stay aligned.  If it is B2B marketing, perhaps it is opportunities created or pipeline.  Have a simple and consistent way to track them so you can easily explain your impact to others outside of Marketing.

10. Tie marketing to revenue to gain legitimacy (and do not talk about lead numbers).

With marketing attribution systems becoming more of a commodity, you have probably been hearing this for a long time now, but the days of tracking leads as the only measure of marketing are over.  This is especially true for B2B companies with long, complex sales cycles.  The best ultimate measure is the impact on revenue and pipeline, but upstream attention measured by a multi-touch look at marketing program successes in target accounts works well.  If you have moved into an account-based view of the world, a filter of target accounts overall marketing successes will make your engagement numbers look a lot smaller, but you will be tracking engagement that ultimately can (and will) turn into revenue.

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All-in-all it was a fun experience getting to know some of the students. I cannot wait to see the opportunities ahead for them!

For more information on GreenFig’s upcoming courses taught by industry leaders like Jason, check us out at www.greenfig.com.

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