A Three-Step Approach to an Effective Marketing Technology Audit

More than ever before, today's marketer needs to stay current with what's happening in the technology marketplace and help their organizations properly react to threats and opportunities. In this post, we'll outline steps to define the scope of work and identify an effective list of activities that can help drive an accurate audit of your marketing technology landscape.

Step 1:  Secure your audit sponsor and identify what they want

Your sponsor will help secure participation in the audit by making it a priority for your organization. In working with your sponsor, we recommend an approach that utilizes a top-down business perspective. You’ll first need to understand material business needs and then identify technologies needed to address them. For example, your organization needs better ROI measurements for email programs in order to drive improvements in program planning. In this example, the challenge focuses our audit criteria on technologies involved with email execution, disposition tracking, website tracking and the ability to attribute e-commerce purchases.

 

Step 2: Construct the assessment scorecard

This is the lens used to evaluate the technologies and how they capture, integrate and consume information. Merkle's Connected CRM framework is a great resource to leverage here. The scorecard for your assessment should span desired functionality, best practice capabilities and business goals for the future. For instance, a preference management center handles customer permission and preference data and makes it available across the organization’s ecosystem. Here, a top-down view might look through the "Capture" and "Integrate" lenses to see whether it’s capturing valuable and compliant data and the "Consume" lens to confirm that the system has been integrated with all the other systems that rely on permission and preference data.

 

Step 3: Perform the audit

Typically, in rough order, these steps include:

  • Identifying the applications and business functions that are in your audit scope.
  • Performing discovery sessions with business and IT employees to build your understanding of what’s currently in place, what’s being built and how it all performs, relative to your scorecard. Interviews and surveys are valuable tools.
  • Rationalizing your notes into findings, conclusions and recommendations. Preliminary system context diagrams and data flow diagrams are helpful here.
  • Reviewing your findings and work products with the discovery session participants to confirm accuracy, gain input and secure buy-in. This is best done in a workshop format.
  • Creating your final audit artifacts such as EcoSystem maps and scorecard heat map.
  • Delivering and reviewing final audit conclusions and recommendations with your sponsor.
  • Agreeing on next steps for action with your sponsor.

Another way to perform your audit is the bottom-up “kitchen sink” approach. Here, the Marketing Technologists are guided more by technology scope and can examine all sorts of business activities. It is much broader than the top-down approach, requires creative thinking to uncover new ways to get value from systems and data and typically involves a lot more workshops along guided lines of discussion. Look for my next post, where I’ll cover the bottom-up approach in more detail and walk through how to proceed that way.

 

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