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Keep Your Guard Up: Staying Current with Martech

by | 16.Oct.17

Every few months or so, it’s likely that your cell phone alerts you to a new operating system update. The updates range from minor bug fixes to major system updates with result in a fresh interface, revamped applications, and tons of new features.

This narrative is not different for marketers. Updates to your martech platforms are continuous and span from simple performance improvements to significant modifications that uproot old practices and change how you use your systems. However, unlike with a cell phone update, these changes don’t require consent. And at the swift pace of the changing martech landscape, it is increasingly evident why it’s so important for marketers to stay up-to-date.

Taking ownership

Within your marketing team, are there designated owners of the tools and platforms in your martech stack? If so, how often do the owners actively check for system updates? For many marketers, answering these questions might be difficult. When the average marketer uses 12 different tools and systems, keeping up can be a seemingly impossible feat among the endless to-do list and office “fires” you encounter daily.

HubSpot data graph the illustrates the number of marketing technology tools organizations use

In most cases, systems updates are well-received. Your marketing automation platform (MAP) gets added features that make campaign building more efficient. Social media platforms increase character count allowing you to share more in-depth posts with your followers. Popular email clients begin rendering responsive emails allowing for more advanced email design. Except, what happens when a platform or system update impacts your customer’s experience?

You’ve got (broken) mail

Let’s take a look at email marketing. 2016 was a big year for email as most of the top email clients had updates that have had a lasting impact into 2017, including Google’s massive update to Gmail which initiated the support of responsive email rendering. It was exciting news for email developers, designers, and marketers – more advanced, creative and consistent emails.

However, the effect of the update was Gmail ignoring all styling elements that contained directives for non-Gmail specific vendors such as Microsoft Outlook or Apple iOS mobile client. So, emails with more advanced design elements like multi-column rows or modules with multiple elements render improperly. Imagine the frustration a customer might feel when opening a broken email with misaligned text, missing images, and broken links.

Microsoft Outlook, another major email client, has a long history of causing headaches in the email world. A quick Google search and you’ll find numerous blog posts and articles citing Outlook rendering issues and corresponding hacks. For instance, the arbitrary 1-pixel line which appears within tables on emails built in Marketo.

When system maintenance, testing templates, and tracking updates are not high on the priority list, it’s easy for even small updates to cause big problems. What worked last week, might not today. And your ability to deliver rewarding and exceptional customer journeys diminishes.

Don’t waste a good mistake

Mistakes happen. “Dear {{lead.First Name}}” emails get sent. A prospect receives two different email promotions simultaneously. A row of content disappears from your email upon sending. It’s even easier for mistakes to happen when we let our guards down.

When is the last time you tested your old email and landing page templates? How much time do you typically invest in understanding the technical implications of your martech system updates?

Having specific people on your team dedicated to the upkeep of your many systems can eliminate the oh so embarrassing email blunder before it reaches your customer. Plus, choosing a few select sources to follow like the Litmus blog, Martech Today or TechCrunch, makes it’s easier to track the newest developments in technology.

Next time you come across a critical martech update and want to get and stay ahead of your customers, take a proactive approach. Cultivate an internal culture of consistent testing. Establish a process that sends your email (and landing page!) templates through periodic Litmus tests. Commit to continuous improvements and you’ll ensure that nothing hinders your customers from receiving a seamless experience.

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