For technophiles, the idea of a constantly changing technological landscape is a dream. But for digital marketers who are trying to meet goals while keeping their efforts organized (whether with B2C or B2B technology), an expanding tech ecosystem can be a nightmare that presents more questions than opportunities. When, if ever, is the right time for your team to make a big transition to new software? Should your brand bet on the latest tech, or give it a year to see results?
A new study from Freeform Dynamics explores the impact that technology has on marketing, and the verdict is in: Tech continues to drive success for marketers, particularly within B2B markets—but only if marketers keep up with it.
Keeping up with the Joneses
In terms of keeping up with the market, tech isn’t just a gimmick. When asked about the effects of technology on their businesses, 49 percent of respondents said the latest tech contributed to customer satisfaction, followed closely by 44 percent who cited its effect on workplace productivity. With effects being both internal and external, the benefits seem clear. But how do digital marketers keep up with trends in B2C and B2B technology?
David Burrows, former VP of Marketing for Cinsay and now co-founder at Laundri (a 24-hour-turnaround laundry service app), told me his personal method: “I’m a big fan of CrunchBase. I watch for trends and new funding news to get an early feel of what technologies are about to pop. I’ve also created a list of marketing and PR experts I’ve curated on Twitter. I view the list weekly.”
Now, the ability to gauge the value of a new startup is definitely an acquired and difficult skill (it is, after all, one of the reasons why we need VCs. But even if you personally don’t want to make bets on upcoming technology of your own accord, familiarity with what’s out there will help speed your decisions when considering suggestions from tech disruptors.
As for constructing a list of disruptors, Zion Kim, founder and marketing lead at 99 Robots, (a digital marketing agency) echoed Burrows: “Creating lists of influencers, content contributors, investors and journalists in various industries on Facebook and Twitter [is] an easy way to digest headlines and see what’s going on in various industries. It’s important to ask yourself how this will impact your company or your industry and make sure you’re ready to capitalize on it.”
This last bit may not seem like much, but it’s actually vitally important. If you or your team are not in a place where you would be willing to make a tech change, then your time would likely be better spent working with your team to get to a place where that kind of innovation can happen. Don’t let your research be empty.
With an emphasis on adoption, Nathan Parcells, VP of Marketing for human resources company LookSharp, also weighed in on Zion’s thoughts: “Online blogs are great places to track the newest tech marketing trends. With online marketing, it pays to be an early adopter, as you can exploit new platforms to drive users to your site.”
Early adoption is both necessary and daunting for many brands. No one wants to make a bad bet on new technology, but allowing your team to constantly be six months or a year behind the curve on new trends will mean you always have competition with an advantage. In this, testing can prove hugely useful, even more so if you set goals for yourself ahead of time that must be met.
What Being a Tech Disciple Looks Like
Setting up a system of research will be vital to keeping your marketing sharp, regardless of industry. But when it comes to taking the next step in actually adopting new tech, here are a couple principles to keep in mind:
- Start with Your Bottlenecks: There’s an enormous variety of tech options out there to choose from, but just because a particular tool or piece of software looks appealing doesn’t mean it’s necessarily best or most cost-effective for you. Try to focus your search by identifying one or two highly inefficient steps in your workflow.
- Avoid the “Sunk Cost” Fallacy: Just because you’ve spent a lot of time or effort into using a particular piece of tech doesn’t mean you shouldn’t replace it. Consider actual metrics and ROI, rather than seeming setup cost and effort when making decisions.
The last thing to consider as you try to seek out B2C and B2B tech trends is to participate in marketing communities. Seeking out relevant LinkedIn groups can be a great way to put the research of others to work for you.
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About the AuthorMore Content by Kyle Harper