Managing Your MarTech Stack: Lessons from New Relic

AVG NUMBER OF MARTECH VENDORS FOR EACH MARKETING DEPT RISING, 2012 TO 2015

MarTech Solutions per Customer

Source: Econsultancy, Tealium and Marketing Land

Even as data nerds, New Relic’s marketing team is not immune from the challenges that face marketing departments when it comes to marketing technology (MarTech) and big data. Like many, we can also get overwhelmed by the flood of opportunities, data and new MarTech vendors (according to Scott Brinker of ChiefMarTech, there are now around 3800 MarTech vendors on the market). At New Relic, we have taken a very proactive approach to MarTech, developing a rigorous technology selection, procurement and implementation process, as well as an audit approach for our MarTech tools. In this post, I hope to share a bit on our approach and help out my fellow MarTech nerds.

Start with the big picture: I have heard from numerous marketing colleagues how easy it can be to get lost in the sea of complexity around their big data and MarTech options. At New Relic, we first start with defining the role of MarTech. What goals are we trying to achieve with MarTech and big data? Our Marketing department’s capabilities not only depend on tools, technologies and data, but on people and processes too. We strive to be very goal-oriented with all of our MarTech decisions, and ask questions like:

  • How do we get more out of our existing technologies?
  • How do we choose the right technologies to add to and enhance our stack?
  • How do we partner with the rest of the business to leverage each others’ technologies – with a focus on security and compliance – and foster positive vendor relationships?

Use a technology evaluation framework: At New Relic, we’ve developed a MarTech procurement process, which includes both a MarTech spreadsheet (i.e., inventory of all existing tools at New Relic – built on Google Sheets) and a MarTech request form (i.e., a centralized process to review new tool requests before completing purchase). This procurement approach adds a process layer, but helps avoid inefficiencies, lack of coordination, and wasted dollars. If we already have a technology in-house that someone wants, we can simply connect the requester with the admin for the relevant technology. If we do not have the technology, we speak with a few relevant vendors to understand expectations and required support. We then negotiate with the preferred vendor after this initial assessment.

This process also makes planning around integration and security issues easier. We plan up front to understand if integration resources are required to integrate a new technology with our existing data and broader marketing stack. We also work with Legal and IT/InfoSec before we complete the purchase.

Build an implementation and enablement plan to help ensure a new technology will be successful: At New Relic, we develop an onboarding plan for every new technology. Some technologies are easier than others, and only require a 30-minute phone call with the account manager prior to a successful rollout. Other technologies, especially platform technologies, are more demanding, and require a number of internal stakeholders to come together, as well as periodic check-ins to make them successful. Sometimes these more demanding technologies also require engineering support for integration. Many of the new technologies require that we develop plans around the following:

  • Working with the IT organization to implement Single Sign-On (SSO);
  • Whitelisting third party sites or APIs with InfoSec for smoother operations; and
  • Training, documentation, and often re-training, especially for the more complicated platform technologies.

Conduct regular internal MarTech audits: At New Relic, we conduct regular audits of deployed Marketing Technologies to assess how they perform along criteria such as:

  • Criticality – Importance of technology to business operations and goals;
  • Fit – Degree to which technology meets user needs;
  • Data – Creation, consumption and governance of data within a technology;
  • Risk – Probability of loss or uncertainty applied to technology or data it stores;
  • Scalability – Capacity of technology to meet current and future business needs;
  • Integration – Sharing of data and business processes among technologies or data sources; and
  • Engagement – Recognition and maximization of the value of a technology.

In order to maximize efficiency for reviewing various technologies, we take the following approaches:

  1. Sit down with key technology leaders; and
  2. Conduct an audit survey. For each category of tools, we ask a) How would you rate the value for solving business challenges (aka, functionality)? And b) How often do you use this tool to solve your business challenges (aka, engagement)? We also ask if a user is thinking of evaluating/purchasing new marketing technologies.

Each of New Relic’s 20+ Marketing Technologies are then placed in a evaluation grid, based on these survey results:

MarTech-Evaluation-Grid

The grid’s categories include:

  • Extend – We are seeing a lot of value out of this technology. Users are both engaged and seeing good functionality. We will consider ways to expand the number of people using that technology.
  • Empower – We are seeing good functionality, but limited user engagement. We will consider additional training for users.
  • Evaluate – We are seeing low engagement and value. Can engagement and functionality be increased? If not, we will consider disengaging from the vendor.
  • Enhance – We are seeing people frequently using the technology, but it is not providing a ton of value. We will talk to the vendor about purchasing a higher tier of service, or look into ways of integrating the technology to make it more valuable.

The highest scoring technologies along the value/functionality and engagement attributes are usually associated with platform technologies:

Engagement-Functionality Grid

In conclusion, the New Relic MarTech strategy is based on creating and leveraging resources to achieving business goals by enabling people to execute processes with the right tools. To do this, we have developed a technology selection, procurement and implementation process. We have also developed an audit approach for our MarTech tools. Please comment below or reach out to me over Twitter @isaacwyatt to share your thoughts.

Isaac Wyatt is Director of Marketing Operations at New Relic. James Riseman also contributed to this post.

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