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Get These Answers Before Investing a Dime in MarTech

You know that house in your neighborhood with the “For Sale” sign that’s been planted on the lawn for months? All your neighbors are scratching their heads wondering why it hasn’t been scooped up. After all, it looks great from the outside but the price keeps getting slashed. 

Then you ask around and find out that the foundation is cracked, the electrical isn’t up to code, and the views are obstructed. 

Despite the seemingly thorough inspection before the purchase, once the owners moved in and realized the investment wouldn’t pay off, they decided to cut their losses and put the place back on the market. What does the house down the block have to do with your investments in marketing technology? A lot. The parallel being that when you’re investing in a marketing platform, no matter how much curb appeal it offers, without the right foundation you’re only throwing good money after bad. 

At a minimum, the platform should provide:

  • A 360-degree view into campaign performance across every channel. 
  • The ability for marketers to easily do analytics, run ad hoc analysis, look back into past performance, and gauge future performance without requiring IT or a data scientist to lend a hand.
  • Easy integration of different systems and applications without requiring lengthy and expensive upgrades or compromising the integrity of your data.

That last bullet is especially important as new tools and offerings hit the market and you want to extend or reconfigure your platform. From the marketer’s point of view, where the data resides shouldn’t be a show stopper, but it can be if the systems don’t talk to each other. (Learn more about the benefits of integration).

As you evaluate your options, spend a good amount of time understanding the foundation of your marketing platform because that’s going to be what shapes campaigns and drives outcomes. The discussion should address the following:

  • How much customization is required. Specifically, if the stack is designed to solve specific marketing issues or was built to be a more generic option that requires customization. For example, a technology stack can serve as the foundation for a variety of needs across the company such as HR, finance and marketing. Alternatively, you can look for a pure marketing platform that’s built to address the needs of marketing.
  • If the platform requires customization, factor in available resources when it comes to assessing the upfront investment and on-going maintenance costs. For example, if the technology stack requires expertise in specific programming languages, be sure those resources are available.
  • How easy it is to execute inductive and deductive analysis. It’s one thing to have the data tell you what happened and it’s another to be able to explore why something happened. That can mean the difference between spotting trends and gaining a first mover advantage or allowing the competition to take the lead.

In the ideal scenario, the underlying infrastructure should just work. Yet in a crowded market where slick interfaces can be distracting, it’s critical to know whether the foundation was built on cement or sand. 

Nitay Joffe

Nitay Joffe

Nitay Joffe is founder and CTO at ActionIQ. He started ActionIQ to explore his passion for innovations in databases, distributed systems, and big data. He was an instrumental engineer in Facebook’s data infrastructure initiatives, and a core contributor to open source projects HBase and Giraph.
Nitay Joffe
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