You asked:"In a time of slashed budgets, what should I include in my martech stack to enhance my marketing efforts and increase ROI on spend?"
Yext answers: The global pandemic has seen storefronts shutter and online delivery services skyrocket in an effort to both meet safety guidelines and consumer demand. For most businesses, the digital experience has always been important, but in 2020 digital is really the only experience.
But with GDP showing an annual rate decrease of almost 33% in Q2 of 2020, marketers are slicing and dicing their budgets. The first things on the chopping block? Software services that don't serve current business needs. That's why your martech stack needs to be optimized to deliver the best digital experience for your customers so you can ensure your business doesn't skip a beat.
That's how Doug Pollack, CMO of ID Experts, is approaching it. He says, "Now, more than ever, is the time to be extremely diligent about all the technology we put into finding and engaging with our customers. But that should be the point of our tech stack — if it isn't enabling more outreach and more engagement, don't bother."
The global pandemic has created a lot of uncertainty, so you should focus on what you can control: how you interact with your customers. To ensure a better customer experience, you have to ensure your martech stack is up for the challenge. Here are three things to consider to guarantee it is:
1. Focus on your end goal
When your business is disrupted, you can't hold on to existing strategies. COVID-19 has forced just about every business to rethink their marketing strategy in order to optimize for nearer-term end goals that will keep revenue flowing and costs under control. For example, a restaurant chain might reallocate its point-of-sale budget to web design in order to optimize for online ordering and increase conversions. Alternatively, an enterprise software company might invest in a chatbot to humanize its brand and help reduce support costs for basic questions.
There is no cookie-cutter martech stack solution that works for every company or industry, so keep the end goal in mind and work backwards from there. Whether you need to increase conversions or reduce support costs (or both!) in an effort to maintain business continuity, determine the tools needed to ensure you can achieve that quickly and effectively — and put everything else on ice.
2. Consolidate and connect to improve efficiency
Consolidate whenever possible, and look for solutions that give the most bang for the buck and easily integrate to help remove barriers along the customer journey. You'll likely be amazed how many software solutions you've amassed over time — many of which you might not even use anymore. A software subscription might seem innocuous in isolation, but in aggregate these subscriptions can quickly become a big percentage of your overall budget. In a crisis you have to react quickly, but then you need to prioritize so that you can maintain your "new normal." As MarTech Advisor notes, it's much harder to remain agile and connected when your channels of contact are siloed and disconnected.
The best bet? Run a tech audit to make sure your tools don't overlap or compete. When data flows across your software — or better yet, is stored in one place — you mitigate the risk of losing track of important information and can rest easy knowing you're getting the best return on your investment.
You can also think of your solutions as a way to automate employee efficiency. In other words, find automated solutions that free up your best and brightest to ideate, focus on important projects, and provide high-touch service. Making your stack smarter lets you leave the human touch to the, well, humans.
3. Focus on customer experience
If you thought your customers were discerning before, the global pandemic has only heightened their expectations. The economic effects of COVID-19 have made customers far pickier about where they spend their money and allocate their budgets. They're choosing companies, products, and services that are tried and true, enjoyable to use, and provide obvious value. At the same time, they expect a top-notch experience with every business they choose to interact with — even if a digital experience is the only option.
That's why one of the best marketing strategies is to focus on what you can control: the customer experience. In fact, 88% of organizations that have adjusted their technology to adapt to the pandemic cite digital customer experience as their top priority. Investing in technology that provides your customers and potential customers with an outstanding experience will give you the best ROI.
Turn your constraint into opportunity
Budget cuts are an inevitable fact of business life, but that doesn't mean you can't provide your customers with the high-end experience they have come to expect from you. It shouldn't take a global pandemic to take a good, hard look at your martech stack, so if you haven't yet made any adjustments, now is the perfect time. It will only result in a more efficient workflow and a more valuable return on your investment.
For a deeper dive into these and other martech stack insights, check out 5 Requirements of a Modern Martech Stack.