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How to Build a Successful Marketing Technology Roadmap

Technology is an ever-changing landscape that shows no signs of slowing down — especially when it comes to customer experience and marketing. It can be hard to update your current solutions and balance your organization’s goals with the legacy platforms (even those only three years old) that exist today. So how can you be successful in implementing new technology in combination with your existing technology to meet customer expectations? And how do you do that while still reaching your revenue goals?

The best way to align your internal organization for this technology change is to set a strategy and define a roadmap that will deliver on your key KPIs. Easier said than done, for sure, but with a well-balanced framework and these tips, you can provide pave the path to success on several levels.

1. Decide on a capability framework

To best understand how your current marketing platforms and data are working for or against you, you’ll need to evaluate them based on capability. For example, audience segmentation and management is the capability, while Adobe Audience Manager is the platform. By focusing on the key set of capabilities needed to drive your marketing, it allows you to accurately and objectively evaluate where you are in maturity and gauge what’s missing without any bias toward a particular platform sneaking in.

2. Gain internal alignment on current capabilities and gaps

Once you have evaluated your current stack and understand where you excel and where you fall short, it’s important to align with the greater organization on your findings. This is best communicated by providing a set of implications on why these gaps matter to your organization, for example: “If we continue to work this way, goal X will not be achieved because we are missing Y and Z capabilities.

3. Identify the future for your CX vision

Understanding your gaps is good, however the key piece here is to understand your gaps relative to what you want your future state for customer experience (CX) to look like. For example, if you want one-to-one personalization on your website and today you have zero personalization of any kind, you can assume it will be a bigger endeavor to achieve your future state vision. Obtaining clear alignment from your team and leaders on the desired future state capabilities and vision is crucial to setting your strategy.

4. Articulate clear solutions to achieve future state vision

Define the solutions and initiatives that bridge your gaps. It’s important to avoid doing too much at once. Instead, focus on a handful of recommendations that will match your capabilities to your future-state goals. For each recommended initiative, be sure you can articulate a clear business value that will clearly eliminate your capability disparity and provide a pathway to  your ideal future state.

5. Prioritize your recommendations

Once the core set of initiatives are defined, a scoping exercise can be used to prioritize how they fall on your roadmap. This prioritization exercise will rank each recommendation in terms of feasibility and potential benefit which will help you decide how to sequence them over time. Key factors for prioritization include:

  • Effort – the amount of work to implement the recommendation
  • Impact – the effect the recommendation will have on the organization (i.e., revenue, cost reduction, efficiency, etc.)
  • Dependencies – does one recommendation need to come before another?

6. Gain internal alignment and cheerleaders on the plan

With an established roadmap created, this step is perhaps the most important, as selling the strategy is almost as important as building it. This is the time to get internal stakeholders and executives on board with your strategy. Having internal momentum and cheerleaders will ensure that the organization makes the effort and prioritizes the recommendations from both a monetary and project standpoint.

7. Re-evaluate every 6-12 months

This is constantly evolving world. Technology changes and shifts in the market will hopefully continue to make our marketing easier, but you must be flexible and be ready to shift or rethink your roadmap. The best strategy is not “Set it and forget it,” but rather, “Create and iterate.”

To discover more, check out Merkle’s Martech Session, on 9/14 at 3pm, where I will present with DICK’S Sporting Goods’ (DSG) Jason Williams about the success of this process and how it enabled DSG’s technology transformation roadmap. 

Want to learn even more? Reach out to us here and set up a Martech Assessment.

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