It’s a great time to be a digital marketer. The marketing technology landscape is packed with choices, as evidenced by the latest LUMApartners Marketing Technology LUMAscape and the Gartner Digital Marketing Transit Map.
However, the marketing technology landscape also offers its share of risk, with offerings that might not deliver on the promise and companies that may not offer the level of financial health you need to help you feel comfortable about entering into a relationship.
Exploring the financial health of a marketing technology company is often best left to the professionals, like your CFO. However, in some cases, it might make sense for you to do a little digging before you get that CFO involved. If there’s one thing a CFO hates more than an IRS audit, it’s having his or her time wasted.
Choosing the right marketing technology partner isn’t much different than researching a company before you buy stock. There are three things you can examine from a high level to help you decide if deeper analysis (and a trip to the CFOs office) is warranted:
I’ve never seen a company lead, compete, or prosper where the management team, across the enterprise, was less than stellar. Do the people you’re talking with openly disparage their company or leaders? How long has the salesperson been with the company? What about the executive team – how long has each of them been with the company – is there churn in the executive suite? Are the leaders active in the industry vertical their company lives within? Do they speak at conferences, sit on panels, or author white papers?
Michael Porter coined the term “competitive advantage”, of which there are two types:
- Cost advantage – is the marketing technology partner delivering the same features and benefits to the marketplace as competitors, but at a lower cost to the consumer?
- Differentiation advantage – is the marketing technology partner delivering features and benefits to the marketplace that are better than the competitors’?
How does the marketing technology partner you’re considering measure up as far as competitive advantage is concerned? Ask your salesperson.
If you called six of your colleagues in the IT space and asked them about the prospective marketing technology company, would they know the brand, product, or service by name? Would they have an opinion? What about the trades – is the company favorably reviewed and discussed in the trades? Are they known for their innovative technology, approach to marketing technology, great customer support, SLAs, or pricing?
For me, due diligence for choosing the right marketing technology partner starts here. What about you? Please share your thoughts in the comments.