5 steps to accelerate marketing ROI

This article is sponsored by e-Spirit.

The marketing technology sector is exploding. According to marketing expert Scott Brinker, the martech landscape has grown to 8,000 solutions – a 5,233% growth over a period of 10 years.

This dizzying array of tools, technologies and products presents digital marketers with an unprecedented opportunity to capture interest from potential customers. But in order to navigate the landscape successfully, marketers need to eliminate complexity, streamline execution, and manage compliance challenges, while delivering the right amount of personalisation.

Here are five steps marketers can take to improve their marketing efforts and secure a positive ROI.

Step 1: Get your infrastructure right

The adoption of advanced marketing technology has created complex stacks of integrated technologies that require management from both the marketing and IT departments. Technologies that are currently in use must be optimised and integrated in order to simplify the creation and execution of successful marketing campaigns. Tapping into the power and ease of use of a digital experience platform (DXP), which puts more capability into the hands of marketers without having to tap into IT at every turn, offers marketers the best experience, and companies the best ROI.

Step 2: Put strategy before technology

The biggest open secret in martech is that most customers don’t get anywhere close to full adoption or full value out of the martech tools they’re purchasing. At any point in time, IT operations may be running with 25% plus of software going unused, according to research firm Gartner. The key is to develop an enterprise strategy that involves input from key stakeholders within the company and fits the long-term vision of the company. Based on many years of working with companies spanning many sectors, here are a few questions that should be asked when outlining a new corporate marketing strategy that is supported by the right forms of enterprise software.

  • How will the technology change existing processes?
  • What new processes are needed to extract the maximum benefit from the technology?
  • Do we have the right skills and staff to fully take advantage of the technology?
  • What additional content, analysis, design, data, or other effort and production is needed to fully take advantage of the new tools?
  • What are the interconnections, integrations, and custom development required for existing solutions to fully work with the new ones?

Devising a solid, long view martech adoption and implementation strategy can seem daunting, but it can be broken down into seven straightforward steps:

  1. Create and agree on a clear digital marketing strategy, with buy-in from the top.
  2. Define and baseline the metrics and outcomes you are attempting to change.
  3. Identify the key inflection points that provide the highest opportunity for impacting those KPIs, and the tactics to apply to each of them.
  4. Buy only the technologies you really need. With an eye to ROI and agility, carefully select the fewest and simplest technologies for executing those tactics at those inflection points.
  5. Determine how new technology will integrate with your people, processes and systems to extract the benefit you are looking for.
  6. Develop an implementation plan that carries you from the technology purchase through to the set-up to the point you’re actually using the features aligned with your strategy.
  7. Test, evaluate and optimise the results to maximise the return on value.

Step 3: Build for marketing agility

Marketing agility isn’t just the ability to deliver a new campaign quickly. True agility is about combining four steps to create an unbeatable virtuous innovation cycle.

  1. Execution: Design your systems and processes to get new marketing, messaging, and assets to market faster than your competition by setting organisational standards for them and making sure your martech stack supports it.
  2. Optimisation: Measure results, then tune, personalise, or even discard poorly performing content or tactics.
  3. Extension: Once you’ve optimised new programmes, you can extend what you’ve learned across new segments, programmes, or product lines, mining value from your customer engagements.
  4. Transition: Based on what’s been learned, implement new programmes ahead of your competitors.

Step 4: Personalisation

AI-based personalisation is a key technology for digital marketers. Accenture states that 91% of consumers say they are more likely to shop with brands that provide offers and recommendations that are relevant to them. Personalisation provides marketers with a continual flow of customer data which can be used to deliver content that is targeted to each customer’s unique interests and needs. If you’re just getting started on this path, don’t hold back. Start small and add more later – even a small amount of personalisation will make a difference in conversions. It helps reduce the complexity of the marketing machine and, with most enterprise solutions, can scale over time.

Step 5: Focus on compliance and governance features

Every day, company, product and customer data is at risk. Data breaches, hackers, and competitors are all aspects of business that keep CIOs awake at night. Privacy regulations such as the General Data Protection Regulation and California Consumer Privacy Act provide end-users with more control of their data and are reducing the number of “cookied” visitors.

Accessibility regulations (such as the Americans with Disabilities Act) are enforcing compliance with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, the internationally established set of guidelines intended to make web content more accessible to people with disabilities.

While it may be easy for marketing executives to put the burden on the IT department to ensure compliance, marketing has a stake in the game as well. The digital marketing team must have knowledge of the regulatory environment and the right tools for safeguarding compliance.


Digital marketing executives live in a highly competitive world. Developing a strategy that meets the needs of each company (no cookie-cutter solutions allowed!) and following the steps outlined above will help increase the odds of generating positive ROI and ensuring customer loyalty.

e-Spirit’s FirstSpirit Digital Experience Platform, offered through a SaaS or on-premises model, helps businesses engage customers and increase revenue with personalised, content-rich digital experiences anytime, anywhere. Savvy digital marketers across all industry sectors rely on the FirstSpirit platform – which includes a hybrid headless CMS, AI-driven personalisation and omni-channel marketing capabilities – for individualised and synchronised content delivery across all channels to differentiate their companies and compel their users to action.

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