There are a lot of different Marketing Technology tools available. To support you in making the best choice for a tool, we have developed a comprehensive selection process that will help to achieve a well-founded decision, which will ultimately benefit your customers.
Welcome to the Jungle
Welcome to the Marketing Technology jungle. The marketing technology landscape is growing constantly and becomes increasingly fragmented. This makes selecting the best application a great challenge for marketing decision makers.
At Merkle we have a proven approach to this challenge which is centered around the consumers’ needs and the requirements of the client. Typically, we perform these selection projects with respect to the CRM domain (Sales, Marketing, Service) but the process is widely adoptable to a variety of technology selection scenarios (e.g. selecting analytics tooling or a DMP).
Often, we get approached by clients which already have a narrow set of possible tools in their mind and “just want to validate” their choice-set. However, we advise to start earlier in the process and think broader. Base your decision on the needs of the consumer and how (s)he is interacting with your organization; in the next section we will explain how. This will improve your decision making process because you are truly thinking from the customers’ perspective.
Also, there still is an ongoing discussion in the industry about the question of ‘best-of-suite vs. best-of-breed’. Arguments in favor of best-of-suite (having all solutions for your needs from a single vendor) are a consistent data model, a common user interface and integrated processes. Best-of-breed solutions (individual solutions for parts of the requirements) can offer deeper functionality as well as more flexibility and possibly tailored applications that fit best the needs of the clients’ organization. During the Merkle selection process it will automatically become evident which tool caters best to the needs of your organization.
The Selection Process
At Merkle we believe in people based marketing; this means innovating and creating more intimate moments with our customers by working truly data-driven.
First, we will work with you to develop a common vision and determine goals that you want to achieve with the tool. This is important to achieve alignment between all important stakeholders. The vision will help during the process to stay on the same page and evaluate progress.
Understanding the customer is key to selecting the right tool, but you probably already do have a lot of insights. We will use existing data and, where necessary, help you gain additional insights. These insights will enable us to make the right decisions during the process and focus on functionalities that impact your most important value drivers.
To ensure that the selected tool is centered around the real needs of the consumers, we continue our tool selection process with a deep dive into the customer journey. What does the customer experience look like and how do the consumers interact with your organization?
Based on the customer journey we identify a number of essential user stories that we will detail out in a blueprinting session. These user stories reflect the most important processes in your organization that deliver the most value to the customer. In the blueprinting session, we analyze each of the user stories from the perspective of the consumer and the client. We analyze processes, data & systems that are involved with the respective user stories.
Next, based on the collected input in the customer journey and the blueprinting session we develop and document requirements for the tool. In 1:1 interviews with the most important stakeholders (e.g. IT, Marketing, eCommerce, Sales, Customer Service, Finance, Logistics) the requirements are validated and rated regarding their importance.
We help you to create a Request for Proposal (RPF) document to approach relevant vendors. Depending on the number of possible vendors, we draft up a long and/or short list. Whatever your preference; we can act in the background or manage the whole RFP process.
Organizing presentations and Q&A sessions with a select number of vendors is key to the right choice. We help you with involving the right internal stakeholders and formulating goals for the demonstration of the tool so that you can form a well-reasoned decision afterwards.
We will then evaluate the RFP of the respective vendors based on the requirements, the demos and other factors that are important based on our experience with selecting tools (e.g. local vs global presence of implementation partner, future-proofness of vendor and partner, costs for implementation and service levels, development and release roadmap, cultural fit).
Convincing senior management and important stakeholders of the necessity of purchasing marketing technology and justifying the investment is a major challenge within projects like this. We help you with creating a compelling and exhaustive business case based on your KPI, our experience and benchmarks on the market.
When it comes down to the last vendors in the process, we also offer support with key negotiation arguments in order to achieve a favorable deal for all involved parties.
“We identified the implementation of a new Customer Relationship Management, Customer Data Management and Campaign Management solution as one of the key projects to become a more future-proof and customer-centric organization. However, making the right choice amongst the many tools available posed a significant challenge. Merkle helped us with structuring and facilitating the decision-making process. In the end, we chose a tool that fits the needs of our organization and will provide our customers with a better experience. A positive side-effect was that Merkle's way-of-working engaged many colleagues and stakeholders which are now enthusiastic about the upcoming implementation.” - Perijn Hoefsloot – Director E-commerce at Beter Bed
The marketing technology selection process is a standalone service that can support you with decision making. We offer this independently from a possible implementation. However, we can also support with the implementation of the selected tool to keep up maximum velocity.