The 4-step plan to maximize your audience tech spend
Last updated: December 5, 2023
Audience managers in 2024 will need to do more with less. Good audience tech will put you in position to do that. The right tech stack gives you a single audience view, simplify workflows, and put you in position to succeed. (And it’ll save you some money too!)
But ineffective tech stacks create more problems than they solve – and they’ll cost more, to boot. And that’s where many businesses struggle, according to McKinsey & Company’s “Tech debt: reclaiming technical equity.”
Maybe their audience data is spread across too many tools — and they’re spending more time managing their data than activating it. Maybe their tools don’t integrate easily, forcing their IT teams to create complex workarounds. Maybe they’re just spending too much on solutions their teams don’t understand, can’t use to full capacity, or have overlapping functions.
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Whatever the cause, those costs add up over time. “Technical debt is basically the ‘tax’ a company pays on any development to redress existing technology issues, and it accounts for about 40 percent of IT balance sheets, according to our research,” the report says.
Worse, it leeches resources that could’ve been put toward revenue-generating work. “Companies pay an additional 10 to 20 percent to address tech debt on top of the costs of any project. Some 30 percent of CIOs we surveyed believe that more than 20 percent of their technical budget ostensibly dedicated to new products is diverted to resolving issues related to tech debt.”
Tech debt forces you to rob Peter to pay Paul — and sets your entire business back.
Imagine if your IT team could devote 40% more budget toward projects that build your business. Or if your company had 10 to 20% more resources – and a lot more time for every single project. Who would turn that down?
Optimizing your tech spend is optimizing your business, simple as that. In this post, we’ll tell you how to make the most of your audience tech spend and set your business up for success.
Signs of a healthy audience tech stack
Budgeting is always difficult. But it’s especially hard when you’re not sure what objective you’re trying to meet. So first, let’s settle on what makes an effective tech stack. That includes:
- Your teams can easily manage, access and activate audience data without excess time spent on “data janitorial” tasks
- Your tools integrate seamlessly with one another, allowing for the smooth transfer of data across teams and solutions.
- Your technology can scale alongside your business.
- Your teams can easily use your tools to perform their daily work functions. Technology empowers them rather than creating extra work.
- Your tools have minimal overlapping functions and minimize budget waste.
- You don’t experience excessive data breaches or cyberattacks.
- Your IT team spends less time resolving existing tech issues than it does on revenue-generating tasks
But creating an audience tech stack that’s budget-friendly and user-friendly, while also delivering high-quality data, is easier said than done. Below, we’ll tell you how to plan an effective tech stack:
How to make the most of your audience tech spend
1. Audit your spending
First, take stock of your current audience tech spend. Check your monthly and annually tech spending to ensure budget alignment. From there, connect each piece of tech with your desired business outcomes.
Ideally, you’ll have one piece of tech for each function without overlaps — and everyone in your business can use the tool to its fullest capacity.
But this usually isn’t the case: For instance, your ad sales team might use your CRM’s prospecting features, but your support team may not be able to use its support ticketing function. Or your newsletter team has a hard time using your CRM data to build marketing segments because it doesn’t integrate with your email service provider.
From there, you can identify redundant costs and adjust accordingly. In the case above, you might downgrade your CRM so you’re only paying for prospecting features — or conduct training so your customer support team can use tickets. Or to benefit productivity, you might choose another tool that integrates more cleanly with your email service provider.
What’s best in each situation will depend on your budget, staffing and audience. But this knowledge will help you identify your top priority needs and start planning your spend.
2. Pay attention to your data
Your tech stack determines how smoothly data can flow between systems — and how quickly your teams can turn audience data into actual campaigns. So your data quality is a bellwether for your tech stack as a whole.
If you can move data between systems without excess manual work, you’re probably in good shape. But if your data is siloed across solutions, it’s standing in the way of audience engagement and revenue.
An example: Say that your email marketing manager needs to pull reports from your CRM, website analytics solution and other solutions just to build one marketing segment. Since the stakeholders for each solution use different labels and naming conventions, she has to budget more time to standardize, clean and format the incoming data. Then she has to check the list for duplicates and inactive accounts.
Oh, and after all that, she can finally start creating the campaign. And by now, the audience has probably moved on.
Workflow issues aside, data silos also make your business more valuable to data breaches and cyberattacks. So eliminating silos is mission-critical.
Start by asking each of your teams how much time they spend transferring and managing data between systems. Do they need to standardize, clean and reformat their data all before starting new campaigns? Are their databases riddled with duplicates or incomplete profiles? Are they able to segment and personalize their content based on the most accurate customer data? More importantly, can they do this quickly?
If the answers come back negative, chances are you need to simplify your tech stack.
3. Consolidate your tech stack
Bloated tech stacks lead to bloated budgets and bad data. So once you’ve identified overlapping functionalities, workflow issues, look for opportunities to consolidate tools.
The benefits can be massive: According to research from Bain & Company: “The savings to be gained by reducing IT complexity can be huge. For example, a global financial services company calculated that reducing its application count by just 1 percent would enable the businesses to bank approximately $20 million in savings.”
But it’s not just about the bottom line. With a streamlined tech stacks, you can also:
- Create a single view of everyone in your audience, so you can identify, address and personalize messaging to each person’s biggest needs in one glance
- Build campaigns based on audience data more quickly and efficiently
- Divert budget from resolving technical debt to investing in new content, campaigns and partnerships
- Free up your IT team for revenue-generating tasks
You might not be as big as Bain. But you can probably benefit from centralizing a few of your tools. That’s why Omeda combines a customer data platform (CDP), email service provider and subscription management and billing tool into a single solution.
This empowers you to:
- Take in audience data from every touchpoint — minimal manual work required! Once you set up the automated workflow, data flows into Omeda’s customer data platform via nightly file sweeps and API drops. From there, data is standardized and cleared of dedupes. Each audience member’s profile is updated and they’re added to new segments based on their underlying information.
- Create a single source of truth for every audience member that encompasses every channel — and updates in real time. See how your audience is engaging across every corner of your brand — from email and website to print, offline and events — all in one place.
- Fine-tune your strategy and stay ahead of the competition with improved audience insights.
- Create new email marketing segments immediately based on real-time updates to customer profiles — no manual data transfers or uploads required.
- Engage and drive revenue from your audience through targeted cross-channel automated campaigns covering email, website and display ads. Personalize your messaging based on someone’s engagement and subscription history.
- Increase audience engagement, conversions and subscription revenue by grounding your content in the most accurate, relevant audience data.
- Attract more lucrative sponsorships by giving your advertisers the most complete, current and predictive view of your audience.
- Increase satisfaction, reduce involuntary churn and generate more revenue by connecting subscription management to your database and email. For instance, on Omeda, you can create a segment for anyone with a credit card that will expire in less than 30 days, then create a monthly automated email reminding those people to renew their information before the next billing date — all without leaving the platform.
4. Implement tech strategy reviews
Proactivity is the best prevention for tech debt. Once you’ve redesigned your tech stack, conduct regular reviews to make sure your tech strategy still aligns with your business objectives, both from a financial and workflow perspective.
Don’t limit them to your tech and leadership teams either, as they won’t have a firsthand view on how each team uses their tech, what they prioritize most, and how those priorities might change in response to evolving technology and business needs. For best results, include stakeholders from every team in these reviews.
Beyond that, encourage managers to ask individual contributors about how they’re using their tech — and if they spot any opportunities for improvements. This way, you can track how your tech is performing in real time. And you can resolve any issues before they impact audience growth or revenue too seriously.
Also confirm that your organization is keeping up with new data privacy rules – and preparing your tech stack to accommodate these new demands. (For instance, does your customer database make it easy to apply opt outs to someone’s profile across every channel? Or do you need to manually log into each system to register someone’s opt-out?) Regulations are evolving quickly, so we recommend doing this quarterly and monthly to stay up to date.
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