Increase Engagement & Martech ROI With Inverta & PathFactory

Making the most of marketing technology is an increasingly important priority for B2B marketing leaders. The market is becoming flooded with more and more martech solutions. Finding the right one and using it strategically is becoming a challenge for marketers. This problem is expected to become more and more common in the coming years.

In 2023, 75% of businesses will increase their technology budgets. 60% of marketers will invest in new software, and 56% will update their data infrastructure. To succeed, marketing campaigns need to be highly strategic, technology-empowered, and operationalized across all marketing functions.

To help marketers unify their technology and activation strategies, Inverta and PathFactory have partnered up. This collaboration will enable marketers to develop customized, captivating, and conversion-oriented experiences across their content, martech, and strategy.

Let’s break down the challenges marketers face, how Inverta’s partnership with PathFactory addresses those problems, and the benefits of applying both Inverta and PathFactory in a B2B marketing organization.

The Challenging Intersection of Technology, Strategy, & Activation

The biggest challenge B2B marketers face today is marrying the full breadth and depth of their marketing technology to their strategy. Strategy and technology both need to inform the other. Still, without the right expertise and focus, it’s all too easy for marketing teams to fall into the trap of trying to activate a strategy without the right tools.

For example, personalization is an increasingly important aspect of content campaigns. Too many campaigns lack:

  • Strategy driven by a deep understanding of the martech stack.
  • Insights from relevant and robust analytics tools.
  • Efficiency, ease-of-use, or scalability.

In the current market, impersonal email campaigns and webinar invites aren’t driving as much value as they used to,” said Dev Ganesan, PathFactory CEO and President. “B2B revenue teams understand that their buyers want personalized and relevant content experiences, yet this is difficult to provide without the right tech stack.

That’s where Inverta and PathFactory’s partnership comes in. Together, we can help companies enrich their marketing strategies and drive revenue by closing the gap between idea and execution, technology and strategy.

The Inverta & PathFactory Approach

So, how does it work? Inverta and PathFactory work together by applying Inverta’s strategic expertise in strategy design and technology activation to PathFactory’s platform so marketers can deliver personalized and automated marketing experiences.

Inverta and PathFactory’s combined approach is unique in several ways. Together, we help B2B marketers like yourself by:

  • Content Strategy and Development: Without a solid content strategy, organizations find it difficult to effectively engage with their target audience, improve their brand image, and ultimately drive conversions. Inverta can assist by auditing what exists, identifying gaps and making recommendations that will create a content map that will effectively speak to their audience.
  • PathFactory Execution Services: Designed to help businesses get the most out of the PathFactory platform, our team will build, manage and optimize PathFactory tracks to ensure that they are delivering the desired results. Additionally, we will help develop use cases that integrate PathFactory into a company’s campaign planning process, which helps to make it a standard channel used across your team.
  • Building Your Tech Strategy: If you’ve ever struggled to prove the ROI of your tech investment, it’s likely because you lack the right strategy to leverage the technology in support of your GTM strategy. We can help guide you through auditing the tech you have, assessing new technologies, and building the use cases to integrate and bring your tech stack to life.
  • Helping With Enablement & Change Management: A fully integrated tech ecosystem, when operating at its fullest potential will require the team to change the way it does things.  So enabling the team on the new processes and investing in change management will ensure your teams fully adopt and put tech investments to use.

We work with clients to operationalize and optimize personalization across messaging, content, and the overall experience with a client’s brand,” said Kathy Macchi, Inverta’s Executive Vice President of Innovation. “Together, Inverta and PathFactory make it easier to bring a B2B marketer’s innovative vision and strategy to life.”

The Outcomes: Improve Engagement, Personalization, & Tech Insights

Ultimately, an Inverta and PathFactory partnership makes sense because of the improved outcomes and ROI that marketing teams can experience when combining the two together. After all, companies who invest in deeper customer data analytics and can apply their findings to strategy make better choices, save money, and come up with more innovative products and services that their customers want.

By applying Inverta’s expertise to PathFactory’s platforms, you can experience benefits like:

  • Increased engagement for your target audiences.
  • Accelerated revenue through personalized content experiences.
  • More audience insights, and content performance data that drives strategy.

Together, we can help your company have a smarter strategy, more connected technology, and accelerated revenue growth. Learn more about martech ROI and how Inverta and PathFactory can help your B2B marketing organization activate technology and improve your strategy. 

Learn More About Inverta

Is Your Martech Stack Effective? 6 Steps to Find Out

Have you ever balanced your marketing budget at the end of the quarter or the year and caught yourself wondering, “I’m paying for all this martech. But what am I actually doing with it? How do I ensure I’m getting the most out of it?”

If so, you’re not alone. Despite marketing teams dedicating over half of their entire budget on martech and in-house labor, 42% of martech stacks go unused. The solution? Taking inventory of your martech stack using a systematic and organized approach.

In this blog, we’ll break down Inverta’s 6-step process for inventorying your martech stack.

1. What Are Your Goals & Functionality Needs?

The first step to taking inventory of your martech stack is to get clear about your marketing and sales goals. After all, if you don’t know what you’re trying to achieve, it will be difficult to know what provides value or not.

After goals have been outlined and delineated, determine what technology functionalities exist to meet those goals. A few great starting questions to ask between the sales and marketing organizations include:

  • Is there duplicate functionality?
  • Is there functionality that isn’t well adopted?

2. Decide How & Where Martech Fits (or Doesn’t)

Next, determine how technology fits into your overall marketing strategy. Remember, strategy and technology complement each other. Considering one before the other can land you in two scenarios: You have a fully fleshed-out strategy but have no idea where to start, or you have a few digital marketing tools you use aimlessly without a clear end goal in sight.

Deciphering how technology and strategy coexist will help you decide which tools to keep and which to sunset.

3. Map Your Data Flows & Integrations

After deciding what tech to keep or to get rid of, the next step is to map it all out. This means making a visual representation of all the data flows and integrations that your martech brings to the table in order to build a single view of customers and accounts.

Why? This will help you know which sources take priority as well as see where any gaps from the previous steps still exist. Here are a few methods to visualize your martech stack:

  • Vendor category map of all the tech products you currently use.
  • Customer journey map of how a customer moves through stages such as, “discover, consider, buy, onboard, and grow.”
  • Back-end vs. front-stage map to show which tools enable the team’s efforts that the customer doesn’t see vs. what the customer does interact with directly.

Role-based map where you map which person on the marketing team owns what technology and where roles overlap.

4. Build a Maturity Model for Future Growth

Now that you know exactly what you have and how it plays into your strategy, it’s important to consider the future of your martech stack. At Inverta, we call this the Martech Maturity Framework. 

A maturity model outlines a clear path of where you are and where you want to be. For example, a framework could start by contrasting the capabilities, people, and processes with the technology required to achieve several increasing levels of digital capability: Operational, Digitalized, Connected, and Intelligent.

As your organization matures, you’ll have a framework to follow that keeps your martech organized and utilized the whole way through.Tip: Build your maturity model according to your organization’s goals and needs. Avoid comparing functionality parity with competitors or peers. Otherwise, you might end up with more unused tech and less budget to go around.

5. Outline Your Tech to Team Roles

An important but often overlooked step of taking inventory of your martech is considering the governance, or usage, component. After all, technology can introduce risks — security or otherwise — that are important to avoid. 

Document how each tool should be used and by whom so it’s clear to all users on your team who owns the tech and who will implement it. That way, you not only avoid security or bandwidth issues but also make it clear to end users which tools are available to them.

6. Train Your Team on Using Your Martech

Last, but certainly not least, it’s paramount to ensure that all staff is trained on how to use your selected martech tools. This may look like upskilling current employees or simply hosting frequent training sessions to ensure everyone is on the same page.

At Inverta, we help our clients through these steps in order to create a martech vision and roadmap. If you’re interested in learning more about how we can help you use technology more effectively, contact us here.

Check out Strategy With Accountability: How Good Martech Affects Program Strategy

A Tale of Two Cities: The Good, the Bad, and the Random from last week’s Marketo #MKTNGnation and Oracle #MME2017

It was the best of times for Eloqua and Marketo users who were looking forward to convening over their respective marketing automation platforms at the two largest marketing automation industry events in the country: the Marketo Marketing Summit (hosted in San Francisco) and the Oracle Modern Marketing Experience (hosted in Las Vegas).

It was the worst of times for the technology vendor and partner community who were forced to play a game of planes, trains, and automobiles between the Bay area and the City of Sin. Due to some unfortunate scheduling: both shows overlapped by a day. For those trying to attend both, the networking opportunities and invaluable chances to catch up with industry friends (who feel like family) were cut short.

This lady would like to propose a gentleman’s agreement between the Marketing Nation and the Marketing Experience: let’s create some space between the shows next year, huh?

The Good, the Bad, and the Random from Marketo Marketing Nation Summit 2017:

Good: James Corden.
Anyone who has sat through a celebrity appearance at a conference knows how badly they can go. These conference delegates are savvy, and their affinity for a celebrity will always take a backseat to the pride they have for marketing technology and the modern marketing discipline.

Corden’s authenticity and the candid way he described the Internet’s role in his show’s success brought many of us back to digital content creation fundamentals.

I would be remiss not to offer some kudos to new Marketo CEO Steve Lucas who held his own amidst Corden’s gentle jibs and jabs, allowing us to laugh without feeling uncomfortable.

Good: The Balance of Sessions.
ABM took a backseat to AdTech, along with case studies, social, content creation, martech, leadership and change management. The Marketo team did their due diligence of packing the breakout session agenda with relevant topics for all (a challenge, no doubt, when the conference description boasts best practices for marketing, advertising, IT and services). There were also some motivational sessions on day 3 (if you had to go to #MME17, sorry, you missed them) delivered by Andrew Davis and Jay Acunzo that allowed marketers to step away from their essential functions, think big, and enjoy a couple colorful tales of innovation and success.

Bad: Moscone.
I have a love/hate relationship with the Moscone Center. Its hugeness reminds me of how my beloved industry has exploded in the last ten years, but when you have up-to 11 simultaneous breakout sessions set for 700 each – many of them are going to be less-than-half full. Empty chairs are like black holes, sucking energy from the room.

Bad: Confused culture.
Many Marketo-faithful expressed to me some disappointment in the level of energy and buzz at this year’s show. Not surprising, as Marketo is no longer the scrappy underdog who corners the small and mid-market. Founders Jon Miller and Phil Fernandez no longer hold leadership positions in the company, and last year saw additional role changes in finance, administration, and operations. Boasting clients like CA Technologies and Citrix – Marketo has grown up: a firmly entrenched enterprise player with seasoned executive leadership. I suspect Marketo will double-down on customer experience in an effort to reestablish the loyalty and passion of its user base – something that its competitor Eloqua failed to do following the acquisition by Oracle.

Random:
You know more songs by the band “Train” than you think – go figure.

The Good, the Bad, and the Random from Oracle’s Modern Marketing Experience 2017:

Good: Intimate Breakout Format:
In effort to create some more conversations, Oracle offered “Breakouts from the Breakout:” Mini-theater setups for thirty or so people in the partner expo area and around the conference center in hallways. They ran these during the two hour lunch breaks, during the keynote, and breakout sessions times.

Good: Focus on Best of Breed:
Despite the conference host, and the universal vendor predilection toward integrating acquisitions and patenting new “clouds” – there was a prevailing interest in exploring products outside of Oracle (or any other marketing cloud suite for that matter). It’s no surprise: marketing technologists are becoming more savvy and skeptical of too-good-to-be-true integrations.

The Bad: Product-focused Sessions:
Take note vendors: Delegates want case studies, not product pitches! There were early exits from sessions when it became clear that the product, not the user, was the focus. Similarly, it’s critical to know your audience whether or not you’re presenting a breakout or keynote. While Mark Hurd had the challenge of setting the tone for the conference with his keynote, some of his examples of bad customer service with car rental and airline companies fell a bit flat.

The Bad: Marketers are not ready for AI:
After viewing the case studies, several marketers confessed to us that they felt behind with AI (artificial intelligence, machine learning, you-name-it) – even the fundamentals. AI, while exciting and visionary, still feels out of reach and especially out of budget.

The Random:
For Eloqua-long-timers, the most valuable meetings and networking events were informal: most commonly held in cabanas by the pool. The original marketing automation generation is finding the content for MME less and less relevant.

“It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done;”

Both clients and vendors are beginning to acknowledge the immenseness of the digital transformation, and how technology and tools intersect with each part of a digital-first organization. Both Marketo and Oracle Eloqua have seen their annual shows grow in size and subject matter, trading specificity for breadth. Most organizations won’t deny that “customer experience,” or “leading in the engagement economy” are important, but neither Marketo or Oracle have succeeded in creating 3 days of relevance for the many audiences they attract.

If it were easy, wouldn’t everyone do it?

4 “easy” areas where marketing technologists can fall short

I was a sophomore in high school, anticipating my first-ever “session.” A session is a term used to describe 20-30 minutes spent playing a musical instrument, by yourself, in front of your music director to be assessed a chair in the school’s band.  (Oh, and former band-geeks – I am looking at you, because you know exactly what I am talking about. Don’t hide). This harrowing collection of minutes was made even more terrifying by the fact that your “chair” represented how skilled you were at your instrument. First chair = the most skilled. Last chair = the least skilled.  In Manchester, NH at the ripe age of 15 – the stakes couldn’t be higher.

I’d spent hours practicing my scales as well as all the prepared pieces (to this day, I find the best cure for anxiety is preparation), and I was thinking I had a terrific shot at first chair.  On the day of my session – my parents wished me good luck and I skipped off to the bus, hopped on and made it all the way to school.

Without my clarinet.

The moral of the story is this: it doesn’t matter how well you execute the hard things if you can’t get the easy things right. By easy – I mean common sense, non-strategic tasks. Clever offers are can be rendered useless by poor deliverability, and real-time personalization becomes irrelevant for mobile users when websites aren’t responsive.

Below are my top four ways that marketing technologists forget their clarinet:

Lead Routing

The first time a credible lead is misrouted (or worse, not routed at all) to the follow-up function – your reputation takes a crippling roundhouse to the gut. You don’t get unlimited chances to get lead routing right, so don’t roll it out until it’s fool-proof.

Speaking of foolish – many organizations base their lead routing on legacy business rules that are nearly impossible to automate. The best thing you can do is intervene before an error occurs and have a frank and honest conversation about this with a sales management or operations function.  One of two things typically occur: the rules are slowly modified to something that’s more standard and easier to automate, or human intervention is permitted to ensure better accuracy.

Naming Conventions

Chefs, you can’t cook an epic meal in a messy kitchen and expect to serve it on time! Naming conventions, while not the sexiest topic to tackle when you’re bringing a new piece of technology into the fold, are critical to the productivity of the application’s users. Come up with an intuitive convention that will meet the needs of the users, and be reasonably self-explanatory to those who are not intimate with the application and teach it as part of your training and/or onboarding process. If you don’t, two years from now you’ll be staring down the barrel of a massive renaming exercise and trust me, your time is better spent.

Forms

I could probably write a whole post on how forms can be mishandled, but this is about getting easy things right. So – integrate your forms to post to the marketing database first, and let the marketing database automation standardize some of the submission data prior to updating CRM. It doesn’t take a long time, and you’ll thank me later when you don’t have 150 leads named Mickey Mouse in Salesforce.com.

Also, use some field validation for both required fields AND field formats. Don’t want @GMAIL.COM or @YAHOO.COM? Prevent submissions with these addresses. Want phone numbers in XXX-XXX-XXXX format? Use validation to set the formatting prior to submission.

If cleaning up your incoming data sources is still getting the best of you, our friends at Integrate can REALLY help with challenges like duplicates, invalid companies, incomplete fields, bad email addresses, invalid phone numbers and the like.

Personalization

Personalization is different than dynamic content in that it typically occurs at the field level. Therefore, field formats and hygiene on fields used for personalization as well as overall restraint is critical! Stop me if you’ve seen this one before:

Dear ASHLEY ,
Management/consulting can be a tough business. We help companies of your size 0-10 employees all the time. Give me a call if you want to discuss the different ways that we can help. I’ll also be in BOSTON, MA next month if you’d like to meet up!
Sincerely,

etc. etc.

Sincerely? Really? Because there is no way a human wrote that message.

Personalization is backfiring all over the Internet because Marketers don’t keep merged fields tidy, don’t use restraint, and don’t test their personalization at scale.

Now it’s your turn: which ones did I miss? What are your biggest headaches?

(This post originally appeared on the Integrate blog. Check out more great content at blog.integrate.com/.)

Unpacking the Stack

I’ve spent the better part of my career helping clients and colleagues solve important problems with marketing automation and marketing technology and I’ll tell you right now: it’s naïve to think that what worked 10 years ago still works now.

So… how does one keep all the marketing technology options straight?

One thing is for certain – there’s no single solution out there that solves every marketing problem. And for every problem, you can be sure there are multiple vendors that can solve it in their own way. Don’t invest in a solution because it’s the latest buzzword or ‘everyone is doing it.’ Take the time to understand your own needs.

If you’re having trouble unpacking the stack, and Chief Martec’s landscape is a little too detailed for you – here is a more simplified way to organize martech solution types:

1. Predictive
Technologies that fall in this category enable organizations to identify their target customer(s) by:

  • Creating an ideal customer profile based on a series of successful deals or other behavior
  • Taking that profile and marrying it with a rich database of intent data to reveal the important criteria that defines that ideal customer.
  • Identifying new accounts, or scoring existing accounts, contacts, and leads that are lookalikes to the ideal customer
  • Determining whether or not certain accounts, contacts or leads have a higher propensity to do something (purchase or convert) based on the important criteria.

Clients use this technology primarily for:

  • Uncovering areas of their database they might not otherwise pursue
  • Growing their database with records that are likely to behave in a desirable way (buy, convert, etc.)
  • Getting more precise with ad targeting and display
  • Adding more accuracy to the lead scoring discipline.

2. Orchestration
The biggest change for me in the martech landscape was the discovery that most marketing automation platforms have become the orchestration engine for other martech solutions. This is big because as early as 5 years ago, MAP used to be one of the only marketing technology investments that an organization would make.

I’m not downplaying the importance of orchestration – these tools keep the trains running on time and on the track.

  • Orchestration tools are known for:
  • Centralizing activities from multiple channels and multiple solutions in a single environment
  • Being rich in integrations with powerful, data-driven automation engines
  • Allowing for the planning and execution of multi-channel campaigns with multiple, integrated technologies.
  • Providing light analysis to show users how their integrated efforts are performing.

3. Content Experience
Content experience solutions focus on the sequencing and personalization of content to create a unique, compelling content consumption experience for the user. This involves different content visualization methods and consumption channels which appeal to a user’s desire to self-educate.

Content Experience Solutions are used most commonly used for:

  • Nurture – They adapt to the recency and frequency of a user’s interaction with marketing content
  • Websites and Microsites – Easy organization for digital properties dedicated to a specific offering
  • Reporting – Great for understanding audience’s patterns of content interaction

4. Data Management and Analysis
It’s easy to oversimplify this category because there are many different answers to the question, “How do I best maintain the integrity of my data and have it deliver the insights I need to make good decisions?”

Let’s break this into its two subcategories:

  1. Data Management – The data management tools collect, organize, store, and normalize data so it can be used to deliver insights and segmentation from a variety of different sources.
  2. Data Measurement/Analysis – These technologies allow you to measure the impact of an activity or help you answer a business question.

In short, both data management and analysis are needed to define marketing audiences and measure the impact of a program or campaign – but you won’t always find data management and analysis in the same tool.

I’ve attempted to break down the areas that have been most relevant to me in my journey, but there are countless other ways to think about the marketing stack. In my next posts, I’ll explore some of the solutions and vendors that fall into these categories.