The 5 Steps Marketers Find Most Valuable When Choosing Technology

I’ve already talked about “The Marketing Tech Buying Process” research we released a few weeks ago, but I wanted to take this week to call out something I thought was really interesting: The steps marketers found worthwhile when they were choosing what to buy.

I’ve already talked about “The Marketing Technology Buying Process” research we released a few weeks ago, but I wanted to take this week to call out something I thought was really interesting: The steps marketers found worthwhile when they were choosing technology to buy.

This is not our clearest chart, I’ll admit, so you might want to click on it to make it more legible:How valuable marketers found different steps in the technology buying process when choosing tecnology.What we did here was ask marketers to rate on a scale from 1 to 5 (along with a “do not typically use” option) how valuable these steps are in their technology buying process. One was the highest, “extremely valuable,” those are the red bars above. Five was the lowest, “Little to no value.”

I was really surprised by how this chart turned out. Obviously, there aren’t many steps that our marketers found “not valuable” when choosing technology. But content and recommendations from vendors, third party advisors, professional associations and analysts were all seen pretty much the same: Long light-blue bars.

That’s the middle answer, “valuable,” which might as well have been “meh.”

In other words, outside guidance from various kinds of “experts” was not seen as that valuable. Peer/community recommendations, product testing/reviews and Independent technology articles all fared better.

What really stood out were processes that empowered the marketers to make their own decisions — steps that help them build either their own knowledge base or experience with the products available.

5 Most Valuable Steps for Choosing Technology

Here are the five processes that our respondents said were the most valuable when making a technology decision (those receiving the highest combined percent of “extremely” and “very” valuable responses):

  1. Product “Test Drive” or Extended Demo Implementation: This is an opportunity to use the product that goes beyond just a usual demo, perhaps even installed on your own network. A combined 72 percent found this step either “extremely” or “very” valuable. This is by far the most desirable level of vetting vendors can offer.
  2. Product Demo: Perhaps it’s no surprise that the straight product demo fared well, too, as 69 percent found this step “extremely” or “very” valuable.
  3. Self-Driven Online Research: It’s such a simple step, something you would expect literally every technology buyer to do. Yet our respondents hailed it as one of the most valuable, with a combined 68 percent — and 35 percent gave it the highest rating, “extremely valuable.”
  4. Peer or Community Recommendations: This actually had the same combined score as self-driven online research. But only 28 percent called it “extremely valuable,” while40 percent said it was “very valuable.”
  5. Product Testing Reports, Reviews and Buyer’s Guides: It should come as no surprise, with self-driven research ranking so highly, that the most rigorous forms of technology coverage were most valued by marketers. They don’t want opinions, they want facts, comparisons and experience, and these types of content deliver that most clearly. The combined “extremely” and “very” valuable score was 59 percent.

So when you’re considering your next marketing tech purchase, take a minute to think about what steps will be most valuable to you in making that decision. You might be able to keep the time investment to a minimum.

And if you want to see more about how marketers are buying technology, click here to download the complete report on “The Marketing Tech Buying Process.”

How Do You Buy Marketing Tech?

We talk all the time about marketing technology and how marketers are becoming more and more responsible for buying technology and building the marketing tech stack. But what’s the best way to do that? I have a way for you to find out.

We talk all the time about marketing technology and how marketers are becoming more and more the people who buy marketing tech and build the technology stack. But what’s the best way to do that? I have a way for you to find out.

"Shut up and take my money!" Is this how you buy marketing tech?
Is this how you buy marketing tech?

Tech buying is not a skill they teach in marketing school, but it’s become essential for almost all marketing executives today. This is the year, after all, that Gartner predicted marketers would control more IT budget than IT departments.. You need to be able to build the tech stack to do all these amazing things — personalization, retargeting, predictive analytics and more — that make marketing what it is today.

Building the Best Practices

I have looked for a good set of guidelines to point reader to, but haven’t found any that I feel give good, actionable answers. What we need are best practices, and what I’ve seen are more vague steps, like “Know what you need.” I don’t think they’re helpful.

So we’ve launched a new research project — the “Target Marketing 2017 Technology Buying Process Survey” — and I’m hoping you’ll help me make it a success.

Just click here to take the survey.

Our goal with the survey is to build a set of best practices based on the steps that marketers — our readers and beyond — use to make sure the technology they buy actually meets their needs, their budgets, their culture (how often do you buy a tool just to watch it go unused?) and delivers the ROI they need to justify the expense.

The survey isn’t long, but it approaches this by asking respondents to check off the processes they use, to rate how useful they are, and talk about the advice they’d give to other marketers making a similar purchase. It takes less than 10 minutes, but I believe it will help us get to the answers you need.

The Report

I’ll be writing up the report on it myself, and we’ll release that as a free pdf to download, just like our Media Usage Surveys. And of course, a summary will run in the magazine. I sincerely hope that publication will help you better understand how to make sure your next tech purchase is a success.

Also, you can be entered to win a $100 gift card just for taking part.

I hope you’re as interested in seeing this research as I am. Just click on the link to get started.

And if you have any other comments on how you buy tech, or the survey itself, I’d love to talk about them in the comments below.