Ever bought something then instantly regretted it? Maybe it didn’t work the way you thought or the cost wasn’t worth the hype. It can feel the same way when purchasing marketing technology tools. As you can guess from the title, it’s not the technology that failed you but what did or didn’t come before the tool’s implementation.

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Strategy Always Before Implementation

You wouldn’t make a major purchase, like a car, without doing some form of research, either through peers or online ratings and reviews, right? On some level, we’ve all been swept off our feet by the bells, whistles, and promises a product claimed to make. It’s so easy for the same thing to happen when choosing marketing technology tools – this one lets you A/B test everything, that one has flexible real-time reporting on beautiful dashboards. How do you keep up?

Take a look at the chart below from Salesforce; it shows characteristics of high performing marketing teams. Of the highest ranking performers, 83% said their executive team was committed to the overall marketing strategy. It is the highest ranked metric followed by the current use of CRM tools. What’s interesting about the use of CRM tools is that the underperformers ranked it as their top characteristic. Their second-ranked characteristic is commitment to a strategy. The major differences between the two groups are the high performers understand that strategy must come before tools, although they have a clear understanding of their importance.

Why It’s Not the Technology That Failed You

If you’re thinking to yourself – “we’ve already invested so much into what we have,” then don’t make it a priority to invest in more tools. If you do you’ll only end up in the same predicament. Think about the current tools in your stack and how to leverage them to work for you. I’m going to tell you a secret. The reality is, many tools on the market do the same things. The only things that change are the user experience or interfaces, their scale, and the nuances they have.

It takes time to adjust to using any new tool, even with proper training. The more you use it the more you’ll understand how to navigate it. If you’re thinking – but the tool really doesn’t do the important things I need it to – I hear you! There’s still usually a way around the problem. For example, if your tool doesn’t generate great data reports look for a smaller inexpensive tool you can integrate or get creative with advanced finds and searches.

Combating Buyer’s Remorse

There are a few ways to ensure you don’t end up with tools you dislike or don’t work the way you thought. Here are four tips on overcoming the challenges you may face with your current marketing technology tool stack.

1. Take Preventative Measures – the best way to not feel like you’ve wasted time and money on bad tools is to do the research before purchasing. Replacing bad systems will only cost you more in the long run. If you do the legwork from the start you’ll thank yourself later.

2. Work with what You’ve Got – you may not be able to purchase a new set of tools but chances are you can make improvements to the ones you have with upgrades or integrations. Check any options you may have for improving the tool. It’s mostly the most cost effective option. Tools like Zapier make many integrations possible.

3. Strategize – even if you’ve already purchased tools, a good exercise is to map out how the tool works for you currently. Then you can discover what you really need them to do. Your IT team may be able to come up with temporary solutions until you have the time and money to invest in something better later.

4. Commit to the Strategy – it sounds simple enough but often times we get distracted by things outside the scope of our overall goals. Even if the tools don’t ideally work the way you would like, they most likely still work. So, once you have your strategy stick with it and use the tool to the best of its ability.

Marketing Technology Alignment

One way to ensure your team isn’t jumping the gun and purchasing a tool that may not be a good fit is finding a technology partner. Often times organizations already have an idea of the tool they want to implement so in some ways they’re boxing themselves into one of many options. Working with a partner can help steer you in the right direction. They’ll work with you to develop a plan of action for a tool choice. A good partner will have a specialty but will still be able to remain agnostic.

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For more information check out the ebook below! It will guide you through the steps to take in digital transformation and how to avoid the new shiny tool syndrome.

Kayla Merritt is the Digital Marketing Assistant for Arke Systems and loves all things marketing! She is a recent graduate from Georgia College & State University where she received her bachelor's degree in marketing and minor in psychology.