Marketing today is a technology-powered discipline. There are an endless number of tools to speed up processes, automate messaging and boost conversion rates. While the technological options can be incredibly useful, deciding which marketing tool is the right fit for your business can be a daunting task. Making a choice that will benefit your business is only half the battle; making sure that it integrates well with your other technology and that employees are on board and trained on extracting the maximum value is the harder half.

Here are some things that at TangoCode we advise clients (and potential clients) to consider when choosing new marketing tools:

1. How well does the tool fit your current internal processes?

When excited by a demo of new technology it is easy to overlook whether the tool supports current business processes or will require a complete overhaul. For instance, will the tool allow for custom reports or different configurations for different clients? Your agency or department organizes, tracks and allocates resources to projects different ways. Most marketing tools are designed to support pay-per-click efforts, search engine optimization and other common efforts. However, you may need to track a budget for one client by cost-per-lead and for another by overall marketing spend. You may need to track and report on information by sales funnel, channel or product to make sense of and optimize results. Carefully look at your processes and ways of operating and how the tool will support them.

2. How well will the tool integrate with your current marketing stack? What development or configuration is needed?

There are hundreds of possible tools that you may be considering as an addition to your marketing stack. Odds are different companies created the various tools using different underlying platforms. Even some systems sold together do not integrate easily. Often, this is because one firm purchased another one’s tool and sells it now as part of their offering. When looking to achieve growth an integrated technology platform that communicates and accomplishes tasks seamlessly is key. You also need a structure that will deliver the right analytics and performance for your company. Overall, you need to make sure your choice will integrate well with your other technology investments or how much development is required to maximize results.

3. What percentage of the features will actually be needed?

People are enticed by appliances, gadgets and software that accomplish a variety of tasks, put out attractive final results and have the cachet of being the “latest thing.” Your firm needs to figure out what percentage of the new technological tool will really be used and whether or not it is cost-effective to pay for extra functionality. Conversely, buying an older version or tool that does not do everything needed may also be a waste, particularly if it will not be supported for years to come.

4. What training is needed and available when introducing the new tool to existing staff and on an ongoing basis?

People resist change. If the new tool requires changing processes people are comfortable with or considerable training, you need to recognize the impact in productivity for training and getting up to speed. If the technology is commonly used, it will be easy to require it as a skill for new employees. If not, you need to figure out when training is needed whenever a new employee comes on board.

5. Will this tool help you differentiate your agency?

Getting a new tool should help your firm better serve clients, perform tasks more efficiently, offer additional services, and drive better results for your clients and your firm. The investment should add value to the agency and clients, and be a marketing tool for your firm.

With so many types of marketing tools available, many companies need to step back and weigh the advantages and potential ROI before making a decision. Bringing in consultants with expertise in implementing and integrating marketing technology tools can help. Additionally, the consultant should be able to help develop or configure the tool in with the rest of your marketing stack.

Chicago-based TangoCode helps clients in varying industries implement solutions that integrate data from disparate systems. TangoCode can help agencies build their own integrated tools or ensure the tools being considered will be scalable and help drive bottom-line marketing results. 
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