Marketing departments have always had trouble proving ROI to the business. It’s hard to do under optimal circumstances—even harder when you’re struggling to run daily operations. Many marketers don’t have the time to present solid analytics with an informed look at what they’re spending in comparison to performance, specifically for cross channel/cross provider use cases.
Most calculations are a manual process of digging data out of each tech solution—most of which do not make it easy to export and integrate.
There are many understandable fears in assessing new marketing technology. CMOs ask themselves over and over, “Will this new technology take forever to implement and cost us business dollars we can never get back? Do we need to spend more over time to make it work the way we want it to work? Will it be easy to learn and use?”
Sometimes this leads to quick purchase decisions which complicate the already unstructured tech stack. But one thing is painfully clear: successful brands leverage tech to personalize a perfect customer experience and to be more agile in real time. Brands who don’t lose.
Time to value drives business decisions. It is also often the difference between your brand’s success and that of your competitors.
Time to value is a metric like ROI, the difference being where ROI measures the financial success of an investment, time to value measures the speed and effectiveness of an investment. Marketing software does more than bring in revenue. If you’re faster at using technology successfully than your competitors, you stand to gain an ongoing competitive edge, whether that’s driving up retention rates or doubling customer acquisition. The shorter the time to value, the faster you’ll see revenue growth.
Seven time-to-value considerations when selecting marketing technology
When your goal is to focus on new technology with the shortest time to value in mind, here are the six most impactful areas to seek out.
- Find technology with relevant features tailored to your defined use cases rather than choosing the solution that has the broadest feature set. Time to value is always going to be quicker when you’re dealing with a technology that fits your specific need versus trying to be a solution for all possible marketing verticals.
- Seek out solutions that are focused on hitting your KPIs rather than boasting every possible tactic. With everything set up with the right focus and preset urgency, campaigns will deliver quicker and be better aligned to acquisition and retention objectives.
- Validate AI-driven functionality that will take care of segmentation, personalization, send-time optimization, pre-built analytics, and a host of other tasks that your team currently executes manually and your marketers should not be spending time on. All of this shortens time to value.
- Hunt for a platform with pre-built or templated experiences—a solution powered by built-in use cases and vertical-specific knowledge so that you’re not loading data for the next three months before you can launch a campaign. Some platforms allow you to connect with existing insights on your consumers like the Zeta Data Cloud. These data sets can immediately drive decisions around who to target, what to offer, when to send and on which channel.
- Select a provider that has one single platform with the tools and channels you need built in. This makes your stack easier to manage and is usually less costly due to vendor consolidation.
- Avoid technology with potentially lengthy onboarding and training experiences. You may never know what your time to value is if you have to spend the next three, six, or even 12 months learning how to use the technology.
- Adoption of purchased technologies is also a common underestimated factor. Many technology buyers continue to use only certain features they are familiar with post implementation and training if the new technology is not intuitive to use and comes with vertical specific focus. The faster you adopt all possible features of your new technology the faster you will achieve incremental new results.
By keeping these factors in mind, you can find the solutions you need and activate campaigns in days rather than than months to build and launch data-driven campaigns.
Marketing is the department that the rest of the business views as a cost center instead of a profit center. When revenue is down and times are tight, marketers are among the first to be let go. However, automation and an exploding global e-commerce market are providing a lot of opportunity for growth. Automated software is there to support our objectives and let our teams get back to creating great strategies and content and not spend time with manual execution. Marketing’s contribution to revenue growth is clearly trackable, now it’s the time to prove how fast this value sets in. The shorter your time to value, the better your customer experience will be, which means happier customers and provable marketing results.