The 4 Biggest Challenges Facing B2B Tech Marketers Today (Part 1)

September 29, 2015

How to Solve Them? With Smarter Technology, Of Course


Nearly every industry today is affected by our increasingly digital world and has had to make adjustments – or in some cases, complete business model overhauls – to stay relevant. It is more important than ever before to connect with customers using the technology and channels that are now so pervasive in everyday life.

One of the more interesting industries to look at in the digital paradigm shift is the tech industry itself. How are the companies who are proliferating the spread of marketing automation, software as a service and enterprise infrastructure technologies marketing and selling their own solutions? The B2B tech industry faces similar challenges to marketers everywhere, but there is perhaps a higher expectation to be on the forefront of cutting edge marketing services and data analytics.

Harte Hanks works closely with many B2B tech companies who sell services and products to other businesses, and we’ve seen some common pain points consistently arise over the past few years:

  • How do I build an ecosystem that makes the most of available tools and technologies?
  • How do I make my data high-quality, real-time and usable to drive sales?
  • How do I maximize ROI with fewer resources and less investment?
  • How do I unify communication strategies across channels to drive customers through the buyer journey?

This four-part blog series explores these common challenges and provides recommendations for solving them. Read on for challenge number one and tune in for challenge number two…

 CHALLENGE #1: How do I build an ecosystem that makes the most of available tools and technologies?

 It’s true what they say: technology never rests. New technologies are emerging every day, leaving brands struggling to stay relevant and make an impact. From marketing automation, to customer relationship management, to data management, there is no shortage of buzzwords and platforms, but the question is how to optimize all of these different tools and have them work together in the most effective manner.

For the B2B tech marketer, this means managing new and existing channels in different ways. It can be a complex undertaking to determine the best ways to integrate and create efficiencies, and often times there is a need to outsource or find tools and data to help. Many B2B tech companies list complexity as a core challenge.

How to solve it

We’ve learned over the years that it’s really important to make more of the sales, marketing and IT tools and technologies that companies already have by connecting them with other areas, such as analytics. By building those bridges between functions and technologies, B2B tech companies can build a technology ecosystem that makes use of all of the elements to underpin data quality, improvements and more.

We recommend implementing a solution built on top of the marketing stack components – for instance, Harte Hanks has a Marketing Cloud professional services capability. This solution focuses on the core areas that affect B2B marketing teams, such as campaign management, content & asset management and data management. To implement this, you need to consider the following steps:

Strategic Design: Define the business objective at hand, and design programs and processes that allow you to use the technology tools at your disposal to accomplish it. At Harte Hanks, we generally help take over tactical execution of marketing activities on a given tool, such as campaign execution, content distribution or audience activations.

Planning: The next step is planning out how a particular tool can help accomplish the program objectives. Once the requirements are defined, you can look in-house at what you have, and then procure, invest and outsource where you need to grow.

Implementation: This involves the implementation of the tools for tasks like campaign creation, lead scoring set-ups, audience creation, content workflows, reporting set-ups and more.

Integration: This is the most complicated step, but it is key in making everything work together in seamless harmony. Efficiencies are gained from using integration points that vendors have included in their tools. Some on these integrations may be pre-built by the vendors (i.e. Oracle’s app cloud), but more often the tools will require a programmatic integration through the use of product APIs. This will require development skills that you can source internally, from the vendor or from someone like Harte Hanks.

With the Harte Hanks Marketing Cloud, we take it a step further and help our customers strategically design their cloud to support their customer journey requirements, implement existing components and integrate new components into their existing stack as necessary. The ultimate goal is to realize a more efficient operational environment that makes the most of existing tools by creating a technology ecosystem.

Tune in next for our second challenge: How do I make my data high-quality, real-time and usable to drive sales?