Marketing Technology is More Than Just Vendors and Tools

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I love the field, the practice of marketing technology. However, marketing technology has been regarded largely as a collection of tools and vendors. From Scott Brinker’s outstanding MarTech landscape to marketing technology stacks, marketers have come to see marketing technology as simply a box of tools, a myriad of packaged solutions.

This is a dangerously wrong view.

Why? Marketing technology is a mindset, a way of thinking. It’s what I called the Plus Path in Leading Innovation. When we use the Plus Path, we add things together, combining things together in ways that make something better, something greater than the sum of its parts.

We combine peanut butter and jelly.
We mix art and science.
We blend marketing and technology.

When we think of marketing technology as a mindset – how can I do more in my marketing with the technologies I have – we become more capable. We indulge in curiosity, we build things for the sake of building them, we explore what’s possible.

Compare that to the vendor mindset, where we are encouraged to just buy more pre-packaged tools. Vendors certainly want to encourage that version of marketing technology, because it selfishly serves their needs.

The difference is akin to learning a love of cooking versus buying more and more processed foods. The former, a mindset of curiosity, exploration, and eventual delight, takes time. Learning to cook takes effort. We make a lot of mistakes along the way, but when we look back at our journey, we see how far we’ve come and what we’re capable of. The latter is a literal recipe for disastrous physical and financial health.

Don’t fall for the vendor mindset. Embrace a love of marketing and technology together, a love of exploration and creation. When you escape the vendor mindset, you’ll find a whole universe of amazing opportunities just waiting for you.


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Clarifying the Twitter App Family

Twitter made waves again recently with its launch of Dashboard, the latest app to join its already confusing app family. The intent of Dashboard and Engage appears to be to narrow down Twitter’s feature set for specific kinds of users. This is built on the premise that the platform overall is perceived as too difficult to use compared to Facebook.

The current app ecosystem looks like this:

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plus Tweetdeck on the desktop.

How do we make sense of this? By intent. Here’s how we should be deploying these apps.

For Marketing Technologists

Fabric is a mobile app analytics platform. Use it with your app developers in the same way you use the Google Analytics Mobile SDK. Business users can give it a pass; developers should be deploying it as part of a standard operating procedure.

For Business Users

Dashboard is aimed at the small business owner, but it’s useful for any social media manager for a very top-level view of the brand’s Twitter account.

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Throughout Dashboard are subtle hints to engage more, which are good for the business manager who doesn’t have a social media team. It’s bad if you do have a team, because spontaneous activity could disrupt an existing content calendar.

For Executives

Engage was built initially for “celebrities” and other prominent personalities, but its feature set is ideal for business executives and thought leaders, especially those who aren’t as familiar with Twitter.

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Engage shows what’s happening in real-time, which is nice if an executive wants to see how their actions generate engagement from their audience.

For Marketers

The core Twitter app and its video companion, Periscope, are for us marketers. We’re familiar with them. We know them. We know what we’re doing with them (mostly). While business users and executives could get great benefit from Periscope, it’s not the first app I’d put on an executive’s phone, not without coaching and training.

Ignore Niche; apparently it was a failed attempt at a consolidated social dashboard that never went anywhere.

The Glaring Omission

While Periscope may need coaching, the omission of live video in Twitter’s app ecosystem is a glaring one. Video is top of mind for everyone today. Facebook integrates video into each of its apps, so that embarrassing yourself live is always just a touch away.

Twitter should have done the same, if it wanted to keep parity in the video arms race.

Why the Mess?

Why did Twitter make such a mess of its app ecosystem? It actually makes a great deal of sense. They’ve essentially repackaged their core features for different kinds of users, which is better than trying to make one app be all things to all people. Executives and celebrities need different emphasis than business owners. Business owners don’t necessarily want or need the entire timeline first and foremost.

Attempting to re-imagine the core app to do everything and be what everyone wants would likely result in people disengaging even further.

For us marketers, our role in our organizations is to help match the right app to the right person. Knowing the ecosystem as we do, we select who needs what, providing them with the optimal experience on Twitter.


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Google Analytics + Google Sheets = Twitter Impact Analysis

A question I’ve seen various publications bat around recently is, “Is Twitter engagement/impact falling?” I’m honestly surprised that journalists are not given at least read-only access to their Google Analytics data to make these assessments themselves. If you do have access to Google Analytics, let’s look at how to determine Twitter’s impact.

First, you’ll need the Google Analytics for Google Sheets add-on. It’s free; obtain it here. Once installed, start a new report with it:

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Set up the basics in the configuration panel, then make the configuration sheet look like this:

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A few things to note above. I’ve set the precision to HIGHER so as to get more accurate data. Unless you’re a Google Analytics Premium/Google Analytics 360 Suite customer, all data is sampled, rather than complete. I’ve also chosen to filter on source and medium with a regular expression to match and sources or media with Twitter, tweet, or the Twitter link shortening domain, t.co, in it. If you have known tags that are Twitter specific, include them here.

What we get is a nice spreadsheet with up to 10,000 rows of data:

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From here, we can export to the visualization tool of our choice and make an assessment. Is Twitter’s impact – judged in this example by how many people Twitter sends to my website – declining?

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The multi year trend would indicate this is the case for me. This is a sample of n=1, just my website. Following the steps above, run this assessment for your website and make the determination yourself.

Also, this isn’t limited just to Twitter. By simply copying and pasting configuration columns, you can extract the same data for Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, etc. Here’s the start of the Facebook configuration:

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I encourage you to run this assessment for yourself. The best news is the Google Analytics add on for Google Sheets also contains a scheduler. You can set it to re-run the data daily, weekly, monthly, or other periods of time. There’s no excuse now for not knowing how your social media is contributing to your awareness and audience-building efforts.


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mautic is open source marketing automation