Welcome to another episode of 7-Minute Marketing with Pam. My name is Pam Didner. I love sharing a little dose of B2B, digital, content marketing and sales enablement, seven minutes at a time.
In my workshops, one of the key points that I emphasize all the time is the importance of understanding marketing technology. In my 2nd book, Effective Sales Enablement, I even dedicated one whole chapter to technology and its impact on marketers supporting sales.
We all know technology is important, we use it every day. But, as marketers, we are overwhelmed by the continuing evolution of technology and have a hard time keeping up.
Here are 3 ways to keep up with martech.
Pick up a field that you want to understand more
It doesn’t matter if it’s social media, search, events, email or what not. Martech vendors are constantly exploring the latest technologies to refine and improve their platforms with additional features. With more features, they can be more competitive and, of course, they can also charge more.
Using FB as an example, they add new features to their advertising platform all the time. Even if you outsource your social media buy, it’s still important for you to understand the ad exchange arena so that you can ask intelligent questions about how to better increase conversions, lower cost per acquisition, even the A/B testing results on messaging, calls-to-action, or creative. Subscribe to blogs or podcasts that specialize in the areas of your interests. If you work with a decent-sized agency, ask them to share the latest trends. They love sharing what they know and how they get things for you.
Learn to build a martech stack for a specific initiative
Another way to keep up with technology is to take a specific initiative or address a specific marketing process gap within your company. This may or may not relate to your daily job. Say, your company is interested in launching account-based marketing to help sales win key strategic accounts. To make that happen, there is a list of questions which need to be addressed:
- How do we know which accounts the marketing team needs to work on? Should we get a list from sales? If they don’t have a list, should we jointly come up with the list together? What tools should we use to come up with the list?
- How do we collaborate with sales to ensure a consistent customer experience? That may lead to thinking about the collaboration process or tools we should use to keep both sales and marketing in the loop.
- What marketing elements or campaigns should we do to support these accounts? Different campaign elements may require a different mix of technology platforms and processes. Can we use current tools to make that happen? If not, what tools do we need?
By asking a list of questions, you start going deeper and deeper. it’s like peeling the layers of an onion. I see it as a scavenger hunt. It’s frustrating and fun at the same time. It will force you to start searching for the tools inside and outside of your company. Start looking for tools that can help you to implement the initiative.
Talk to vendors directly
Another option is to talking to vendors directly. I love attending conferences and talking to marketing and sales vendors. Yah, vendors like to scan your badge and I get many unwanted emails, but that’s the price I am willing to pay so that I can understand how they use various technologies to create their platforms and help marketers to do their jobs better.
Doing a walk around at the exhibit hall is another way to educate myself about different martech areas and learn how to think outside the box. So when you go to conferences, do a walk around the exhibit halls. Talk to the vendors. Have them explain to you what they do and what products they offer. The best way to test if you understand their technology and platform is to paraphrase what they say back to them. By doing so, I learned to internalize their technology and understand how that fits into overall marketing communications.
Find a topic that you want to understand more. Read about it. Get your agencies to educate you. Start an initiative to build a martech stack for that initiative. Or just talk to various vendors directly.
That’s how I started to learn more about martech. I didn’t understand paid search about 10 years ago… I started reading different blog posts, and I also enlisted my search agencies to do some lunch-and-learn for my team. Then, I ventured out to talk to as many vendors as possible whenever I could. I built up my martech knowledge bit by bit so that now I can make suggestions to my clients for some of their martech needs.
If I can do it, so can you. The ability to understand the technology and source the appropriate platforms for different processes is essential for modern marketers.
If you have any questions, you know where to reach me. Just google Pam Didner.
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Keep hustling, my friends. You got this.