You finally get the green light to pick out a new marketing technology product to solve an issue that’s been driving you and your team nuts. At long last everything will be easier, you think. Until you start researching options and find that there are about twenty software solutions that do the same thing. Or at least it seems that way.
Suddenly, not so fun.
Buying martech isn’t easy, especially when you consider 56% of organizations reported underutilizing their purchased marketing technology. To avoid becoming a statistic, do your research. Here are a few things to consider when researching martech solutions.
Peer Recommendations Are the Most Trusted Sources for Marketers
Assuming you know which category of marketing technology you need (CMS, marketing automation, etc.), begin your research by reaching out to your network. Ask not only what type of technology they use, but also why they picked that specific product and what types of problems they’re trying to solve. These individuals can likely warn you of any potential issues or things they personally struggled with. If at all possible, learn from their mistakes.
Gathering initial recommendations gives you a starting point. To really find the best product, you’ll need to look in other places, too.
Use Reliable Online Reviews
You’ve organized feedback from colleagues you respect and now you want to add a few more options to the list. Next, sift through online reviews to find similar products. For the martech space, G2 Crowd is a great, reliable resource to find high quality reviews and information. With helpful charts and the ability to directly compare products against one another, G2 Crowd will help you discover alternative vendors you may not have been previously considering.
Do a Little Competitive Research
What types of technology do competitors in your industry use? While you certainly shouldn’t choose a product solely because your competitor uses it, the product might be worth looking into if the majority of your industry has adopted it. In the end, martech is bought to solve key problems. Companies that occupy the same space typically (but not always) have similar problems (and goals, for that matter). So, if you find that all your competitors use the same, say, affiliate marketing product, it’s probably worth adding to your list of products to research.
Look at Each Vendor’s Assets
Once you feel like you have a good, comprehensive list, it’s time to start narrowing down the options. And many times, the vendor’s assets are a good place to start. This includes everything from blog posts to case studies and free trials.
If you decide to sign up for a free trial, make sure you keep well-documented notes about the experience. It can be easy to sign up for a few free trials and quickly forget what you liked about the product. You can even take screenshots of the inside of the product to jog your memory when making a final decision.
Additionally, reading their blog and other longform content can be a good way to see how they position themselves, what kinds of things they feel are important, and what drives their product decision making. You then might ask yourself how well this aligns with your own roadmap, goals, and ideology.
What Are Publications Saying About the Vendor?
This can be tricky, as you have to be careful not to read too much into any one particular article. You never know how biased the publication or editor may be, but if the product has been featured in a few larger publications such as Fast Company or The Next Web, it’s an indicator that they’re relevant at the very least.
A few martech industry-specific publications we like are Social Media Examiner, MarTech Today, and Search Engine Land. Enter each article with a bit of skepticism and make sure to research who is writing the post, and what motives they may have to include specific products.
The Pros and Cons of Large Vendors
The industry leader in a specific martech niche might not be the best fit for your company, but there are benefits to working with larger vendors. With any piece of technology, there’s going to be a learning curve. And the fact is that there’s just more information and resources out there about technology that’s been around for a while or that has a large user base.
For example, if you decided to use WordPress for your CMS, you could search “How to add Google Analytics to WordPress” and quickly find the information you’re looking for to implement that change pretty easily. Searching for the same thing but for a lesser known product, on the other hand, might be a little more frustrating.
On the flip side, large vendors also have their downsides. They can be more expensive, might make you sign a longer contract, and in some cases have a slower customer service response time. There’s no cookie cutter solution, but when researching each martech product you need to keep these things in mind.
Evaluate Your Information and Choose a Solution
Once you gather information from trusted publications, review sites, and peers, take that information along with some of the competitive research and record it. Going through the sales process will be another challenge in and of itself, but your research should at least prioritize which products you want to demo before purchasing. You’ll also need to make sure you keep all the right stakeholders in the loop so they clearly understand your reasoning behind going forward with one product over another.
Research is just one small – but important – part of purchasing marketing technology. To learn more about the entire process, head on over to our Marketing Technology Purchasing Guide or contact us directly for a little help!
Laura Merriman // Brand
Designing for Development: Free Browser Tools for Web Designers
Zack Philipps // Technology
Making WordPress Work for Enterprise Company Websites
Fill out the form to receive weekly insights, straight to your inbox.