Who's Involved in Buying Marketing Technology?
The following is an excerpt from Target Marketing and NAPCO Media Research's report "The Marketing Technology Buying Process," sponsored by IBM. The results are based on responses from 315 marketers surveyed in May, 2017. Click here to download the full report.
When it comes to who’s involved in the technology-buying process, you would think that complexity would breed more inclusion. The opposite turned out to be true.
The survey shows that most firms set out with a single person or a single team tasked with defining the technology selection requirements and criteria. Only 36 percent had multiple teams or cross-functional teams involved.
Looking at who was involved in the decision, again, the respondents limited it to the groups who needed to know. Only marketing, IT and the executive teams were involved in most buying processes. Sales and financial departments were the next most-likely to be involved, but still well below 50 percent (40 and 30 percent, respectively) of companies who responded include them. Few companies involved the product team, legal or customer service in technology selection.
Some of the “other” responses were revealing. One marketer noted that the departments involved changed depending on the size of the investment. “For example, Eloqua [was] a multi-year, multiteam investment.” Another said that marketing was responsible for gathering requirements from the other departments.
And one marketer cautiously warned that, “You can’t over-communicate internally regarding the process and have users (particularly those less technically savvy) involved in those communications/process throughout.”
So although the departments involved are limited to key decision-makers (marketing, IT and the C-suite), the company-wide implications of these purchases are clear to our respondents. And they are not taken lightly.
For example, one marketer said, “Make sure you have strong executive buy-in. Otherwise, implementation and support become a nightmare.”
For marketers buying technology, this means — regardless of who’s involved in the actual buying process — they must be sure the purchase is going to work well in the marketing stack and with the company’s technology, overall. Involving fewer departments in the purchase likely streamlines the process overall, but it does not absolve marketing of the responsibility for making sure the systems it purchases play well with others. If the technology does not work out, it could well mean a marketing leader’s job.