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Build vs Buy: The Case Against Homegrown MarTech

Many major consumer brands already have access to a world-class team of software developers—so when it comes to MarTech, it may seem like a no-brainer to invest in building your own proprietary platform.

With engineering resources at your disposal, you could create a fully customized MarTech stack that’s aligned with your business needs. But is this genuinely the best way to spend your company’s R&D budget?

If marketing automation isn’t a core part of your product or service, all signs point to no.

The odds are against building a successful digital project

Take a look at the failure rate in technology investments: a Genpact study found that of the nearly $600 billion invested into digital projects, nearly 70% of the projects fell short of expectations and failed to deliver ROI.

If you have a genuine business case for a truly innovative digital product that will help you jump ahead of your competitors, it may be a risk worth taking—by investing heavily in mobile, for instance, Starbucks capitalized on consumers’ desires to pay by smartphone; mobile payments now account for 30% of the company’s sales and have contributed to a 5% average increase in stores that have been open a year or longer.

If your R&D dollars aren’t being invested in innovative measures which position you as an industry leader, you’re likely better off looking toward commercially-available solutions.

Marketing automation doesn’t make sense for DIY

While the majority of brands have now recognized the importance of adopting growth marketing technology, building a proprietary solution may not make sense in this situation.

Best-in-class marketing automation requires a sophisticated feature set, including the ability to deploy consistent messaging across all channels, including email, mobile, web, social, and even direct mail, and to personalize that messaging to each individual subscriber.

Despite its complexity, it must also be intuitive for your marketing team, so that you’ll feel comfortable experimenting and optimizing campaigns on your own.

In this case, you’ll need a fully-featured solution that can compete with the enterprise-grade platforms currently on the market that have had millions of dollars invested into them, and are regularly upgraded with new functionality. That means building an entirely new business unit to support development, management, and ongoing maintenance and operational support.

In order to develop a solution that can compete with these powerhouses, it will take not just budget, but time. By the time your team has developed a product that’s comparable to currently available growth marketing platforms, those technologies are likely to already be light years ahead.

If your solution doesn’t quickly deliver exceptional experiences that your customers demand, the fallout from the failed product can have a huge negative impact on your bottom line.

And even if the product is successful, it may rely heavily on the proprietary knowledge of its founding development team—if you lose access to that intellectual capital if they leave the company, those remaining may not have the knowledge to adequately provide ongoing support, or make the necessary updates to keep the product competitive in the market. Without realizing it, you’ve built an incredibly arduous silo inside of your own organization.

Homegrown MarTech solutions can be incredibly expensive, time- and resource-intensive—making them highly impractical for all but the largest of enterprise companies. Instead, the vast majority of brands are now looking at scalable, cloud-based software that can easily adapt to fit their needs.

Turn to a trusted solution

Instead of taking the do-it-yourself approach of building your own MarTech stack, focus on doing-it-right by seeking out a scalable platform that serves the business needs of your brand—both now and in the future.

You’ll need a solution that can grow with your company, even if you’re starting from a relatively small subscriber base. To that end, choose a platform that will allow you to elevate your own marketing efforts from first use.

Ensure that you’ve also selected a platform that’s marketer-friendly, with a strong UX that will be intuitive for all of your team members to use without additional support.

Make sure it can integrate with the tools that you frequently use, and can send campaigns across all the channels you currently use or plan to use in the future—89% of customers are retained by companies with omni-channel engagement strategies.

For most, once they’ve considered their business goals and weighed the short- and long-term ROI, it makes sense to select a top-notch commercially available solution. This will enable your engineering team to stop stressing about developing the best growth marketing platform—and give them the agility to focus their time on innovative projects that will help them to build the strongest possible business.

To learn how your favorite brands, like Zillow, Eat24 and Runkeeper, are delivering the omni-channel experiences that you’ve come to love, request a demo of Iterable today.

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