After nearly a decade of stability, recent Gartner research found that 44% of marketing leaders reported budget cuts of greater than 5% this past spring, with many seeing cuts of more than 15%. That number grew to 59% by the summer. With the pandemic still in full force, it’s easy to imagine that even more budgets will be impacted in the months ahead.
Adding to the strain is that innovation is the top priority for marketing leaders, according to Salesforce’s latest State of Marketing report. Marketers are under tremendous pressure to use next-generation technology to create personalized and digital-led customer experiences that stand out.
So, marketing leaders are in a tough spot: How can they innovate while also cutting costs?
The answer lies in vendor consolidation, a strategy in which a company reduces the number of vendors it works with and chooses a select few to fulfill its needs. Businesses tend to increase their number of vendors as they grow their offerings. While external partners can be helpful, the fees add up, and you still need internal resources to manage them.
That’s why vendor consolidation should be part of your business’s digital transformation initiatives. However, to make it work, you need a marketing platform that helps drive growth, reduces time to market, and enables quality customer experiences. Simply put, it must do it all.
Here are seven things to consider when evaluating if your messaging platform can support personalized experiences and drive vendor consolidation benefits for your company.
1. Cost savings
Evaluate technology spend across your tech stack to determine how much money you can save using an integrated platform that serves many areas of your business, from marketing, to sales, to service.
Ask your organization: Can we achieve net savings by consolidating spend across fewer vendors?
2. Improve time to market
Evaluate if consolidating systems and processes will decrease time spent gathering data, segmenting audiences, engaging with customers, and analyzing results for insights. The time you save will enable your team to work on other projects.
Ask your organization: If my marketing team reduced its existing processes by 10%, how could they use the extra time to deliver more value with campaigns?
3. Save resources and operate efficiently
Reducing the number of technology partners leads to increased efficiency around data management, system integration, and related maintenance. It’s also easier to manage across procurement and legal issues.
Ask your organization: What resources will become available if we consolidate solutions that support multiple departments under a single vendor?
4. Consistency in brand experience
Take a look at your brand experience across the different vendors you use for messaging. For example, retailers have different systems for in-store versus digital. Franchise business models may lack consistency between corporate and local market communications.
Ask your organization and vendors: Is my brand providing a consistent customer experience across all marketing channels? This includes transactional and marketing messages, online and in-store customers, and self-serve and managed accounts.
5. A single platform for data and analytics
Consider the number of data sources your marketing team uses and how long it takes to access that data and pull insights. When consolidating vendors, think about how you can activate data across the organization for insights more efficiently.
Ask your organization: How many data sources does it take to execute a personalized campaign? How could a marketing platform that’s integrated with sales and service bring that number down? If you had a 10% increase to your marketing budget, where would you spend it to get the best return on investment?
6. Stronger deliverability
As organizations grow and consolidate their digital marketing technologies, there are substantial benefits to sending emails from a single platform and a consolidated number of Internet protocols. If your organization isn’t already sending from a single vendor, you’re potentially missing out on connecting with promising prospects.
Is there room to improve deliverability performance across your messaging platforms?
7. Reduced compliance/security risks
Managing all customer data in one platform helps to reduce security risks that occur when data moves between multiple sources. It also creates a single source of truth for managing compliance risk.
Ask your organization: How is your organization prepared to manage compliance risks and adhere to privacy laws like General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and California Consumer Protection Act (CCPA)?
Learn more about vendor consolidation and its role in digital transformation:
Marketing Cloud offers solutions for digital marketing, email marketing, social media marketing, customer journey mapping, marketing analytics, marketing automation, and B2B marketing to help you personalize customer communications across every digital touchpoint – from anywhere.