According to Conductor, 80% of marketing executives added one to five new pieces of technology into their stack during 2017. Walker Sands’s survey of marketers found that 27% of enterprises add technology once a year and 26% add technology every six months. Making a commitment to purchase a new marketing technology platform is often a daunting challenge and frequently accompanied by a great deal of stress.
First, you have to determine what type of tool you need, and then you have to create a list of products to assess. With a list in hand you can narrow your options through a feature comparison and road-map assessment. Believe it or not, that’s the easy part. There are many resources to use to support the front end of the acquisition process. Use CabinetM to find the right product category, build your product list, and manage your evaluation process. Then leverage technology review sites (G2 Crowd, Trust Radius, and GetApp) and reports from category experts and industry analysts (Forrester/ Sirius Decisions, Gartner, The Real Story Group) to help narrow your list. If you have the budget, you can even hire a consultant or one of the advisory firms to assist you in the search and qualification process.
A note about reviews: While reviews can be very helpful in narrowing down a list of products in a category, in most circumstances they should be considered as just one of many data points when evaluating a product for a number of reasons.
- In marketing, the assessment of how a product performs is impacted by the products that surround it, how it is integrated with those products, the quality of the campaigns running through the product, as well as by the technical expertise of the team members using the product. We’ve had many marketing leaders tell us that reviews are a good starting point for narrowing down a list of possible vendors, but unless a reviewer is operating in a virtually identical environment, it’s difficult to draw enough conclusions to actually make a product decision.
- Many of the review sites incent users to write reviews on behalf of their vendor clients. The result of this is that you are most likely to read about all the good things a product does and little about its weaknesses. This doesn’t negate the value of the review, it is always useful to hear what users like about a product.