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Winning the martech procurement process

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Winning the martech procurement process

Procuring and renewing tech and services is a big part of martech management. Parts of that are enjoyable – finding out what capabilities you can add to your stack, for one. And parts are not – getting everyone to sign off on each step of the process, for example. While it may not be fun, getting those OKs is essential to getting your job done. So here are some tips on how to handle it.

At most companies, martech procurement goes through a formal request process involving reviews by legal, finance, procurement, other IT professionals and maybe information security. This is when buyers in procurement are your friends.

That’s why it is essential to foster positive relationships with people in the decision-making process. You’re not alone and need to partner with others. As Taylor Swift will tell you, it’s all about #squadgoals. 

To be sure, we weren’t placed on earth to shepherd requests through all of these bureaucratic hoops. However, it’s important to understand the organizational hurdles so they don’t stymy marketing. 

Many people need to chime in

While everyone on the team should have at least a passing knowledge of this process, it’s best to pick a couple of people to handle them. They can be the SMEs who understand the needs and quirks of everyone involved. In particular, they should get to know the various approvers in the process early on. That way, when there’s a rush request from a VIP stakeholder, they’re more likely to get a positive response. 

It’s also a good idea to get to know executive assistants and chiefs of staff. These folks can make a lot of things easier or a lot more difficult. They can also help track down the CEO mid-flight to approve or sign something. Something I’ve had to do!

Read next: How to leverage intent and engagement in the buying cycle

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Gather the essential information

Keep in mind, anyone working closely with a C-suite approver is bombarded with requests from people who want that top exec to do something. So, when you get in touch, make their lives easier by having all the information they’re going to want. That way they will prioritize your request ahead of the ones requiring them to do more work. 

The essential information:

  • What’s needed? For instance, does the executive need to approve and/or sign something?
  • The why. What’s the justification for the purchase?
  • Who has OK’d it. If your organization doesn’t have a procurement system, you’ll need to get creative with documenting previous approvals.
  • What’s at stake? Is this saving us money? If this purchase isn’t made, who can’t do their job?
  • Deadlines. Does the exec need to sign a contract within the next two hours to get the special vendor discount? 

This will let the assistant understand exactly what needs to happen by when and why.

While all this may seem ancillary to your “real” job, it’s anything but. Getting martech procurement approval at the right time can literally be the difference between success and failure. To paraphrase the old proverb: For want of a signature, the campaign was lost.


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Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily MarTech. Staff authors are listed here.


About The Author

Steve Petersen is a marketing technology manager at Zuora. He spent nearly 8.5 years at Western Governors University, holding many martech related roles with the last being marketing technology manager. Prior to WGU, he worked as a strategist at the Washington, DC digital shop The Brick Factory, where he worked closely with trade associations, non-profits, major brands, and advocacy campaigns. Petersen holds a Master of Information Management from the University of Maryland and a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations from Brigham Young University. He’s also a Certified ScrumMaster. Petersen lives in the Salt Lake City, UT area.

Petersen represents his own views, not those of his current or former employers.

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MARKETING

How marketers are preparing for the future of in-game ads

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Gen Z metaverse users are more trusting and willing to spend

As the IAB rolls out new ad standards for gaming, marketers at brands and agencies are preparing for the future of in-game ads. That’s because more consumers than ever identify as gamers (up to three billion globally), and with new technology and gaming experiences, they’re more reachable by brands.

One sign of how the landscape is changing, adtech companies like Anzu are partnering with publishers to provide dynamic ad placements in-game. This allows brands who don’t have a comprehensive gaming strategy to test and learn, and also to incorporate gaming into a broader omnichannel media strategy.

But the sheer size of the gaming audience – over 200 million gamers in the US alone – means marketers who get more involved can produce greater returns by tapping into this engaged population.

Lead with brand strategy. Partnerships between game publishers and adtech companies are making it easier for brands to find their audiences in-game. Brands don’t have to speculate as much about if their customers are playing specific games. And if a brand’s customers are already playing the game, marketers should dive in, too.

“We don’t necessarily have a gaming strategy,” said Paul Mascali, head of games and esports for PepsiCo. “We have a brand strategy that gaming can help. We do this by leveraging data with third parties or internal data to reach those consumers who are consuming the content.”

Read next: PepsiCo’s strategies for marketing via online games and esports

Understanding the community. Also, brands should be consistent and show that they’re invested in the gaming community, Mascali said.

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That’s because the gaming community – or, more specifically, the communities built around specific games – are multi-faceted.

For instance, gamers aren’t just plugged into the gameplay. They soak in the culture around the games on streaming platforms like Twitch. But just because videogame fans are passively watching another expert player on a streaming video doesn’t mean they’re not engaged and listening attentively.

“Twitch streamers are a great example of modern day gamers,” said Sarah Ioos, head of sales for the Americas at Twitch. “Non-gaming content has erupted — it doubled during the pandemic in year one. Gamers are not a monolith, they’re multifaceted. We see Twitch streamers bringing more of their whole self into their streaming.”

More lifestyle categories. As PepsiCo has demonstrated, there is a natural crossover between gaming and sports, which leads to traditional sports categories like beverages and snacks.

During the pandemic, when everybody, including gamers, were shut in, gaming content expanded. Gamers were sharing more about their lifestyles, including exercise routines, cooking, fashion and other interests.

This holistic perspective on gamers opens up more opportunities for brands that want to connect with Gen Z and Millennial consumers.


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Many touchpoints. Another interesting aspect about Twitch is that desktop is still the preferred device for their audience, according to Ioos.

Consumers are engaging with gaming content on many different devices and in different contexts, and this allows marketers to finetune their mix. If hardcore gamers and Twitch watchers are on desktops at the home, other more liesure gamers might be playing on mobile while commuting or shopping.

Why we care. All of this means that the strategy has flipped for marketers. Instead of finding a subset of gamers within their audience, they can now look across the billions of gamers and find their audience and subsegments.

Addressability for in-game advertising is still in the early stages, but now there are more opportunities, according to Keith Soljacich, head of innovation at agency Publicis Media.

“More data means more actionable places to find our audiences,” said Soljacich. “[Publishers and tech partners] are building that intelligence for audiences at the same time that opportunities are becoming available to us as marketers.”

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About The Author

Chris Wood draws on over 15 years of reporting experience as a B2B editor and journalist. At DMN, he served as associate editor, offering original analysis on the evolving marketing tech landscape. He has interviewed leaders in tech and policy, from Canva CEO Melanie Perkins, to former Cisco CEO John Chambers, and Vivek Kundra, appointed by Barack Obama as the country’s first federal CIO. He is especially interested in how new technologies, including voice and blockchain, are disrupting the marketing world as we know it. In 2019, he moderated a panel on “innovation theater” at Fintech Inn, in Vilnius. In addition to his marketing-focused reporting in industry trades like Robotics Trends, Modern Brewery Age and AdNation News, Wood has also written for KIRKUS, and contributes fiction, criticism and poetry to several leading book blogs. He studied English at Fairfield University, and was born in Springfield, Massachusetts. He lives in New York.

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