Digital TransformationQuestions to ask martech vendors about personalization [examples]

Questions to ask martech vendors about personalization [examples]

How much do they invest in R&D? What type of organizational support do they give? Integrations, release documentation, scaling challenges, and more.

When it comes to incorporating personalization into a martech stack, what questions should brand marketers be asking of their martech vendors?

We spoke to Jason Grunberg, VP of Marketing at Sailthru, to get ideas on how to approach this type of conversation and what to make sure to address. 

Three main ways to incorporate personalization into a martech stack

First, consider what your approach will be for incorporating personalization into your martech stack. According to Jason, there are three main ways to go about this:

  1. Build the personalization capabilities yourself
  2. Work with point solutions
  3. Identify a multichannel provider that has embedded personalization capabilities

“If an organization is planning to build,” says Jason, “brand marketers must ask their tech partners what resources they will put against the build, what research they will do to develop capabilities, and what type of UI will be developed for marketers to be in the driver’s seat, and how the team plans to keep up with other solutions in the years to come.”

Example questions to ask martech vendors about personalization

Obviously you’ll want to tailor questions to your specific needs and use cases. But in general, here are a few examples of where to start.

1. What kind of organizational support will they provide?

How much will they work to understand your unique use case, support integrations, and build a proactive relationship?

Ask for examples of strategic customer support and request multiple references who can speak directly to this support. 

2. What is their long-term vision for personalization?

Here, you want to make sure to understand what their roadmap is and how it aligns with your brand’s future needs. Will they be able to be a long-term partner?

3. Are they privacy-compliant?

Compliance is obviously another important aspect to consider.

“Bolt-on solutions can lack robust capabilities around permissions,” says Jason. “Ask for evidence of explicit opt-in to data tracking and compliance with current and upcoming privacy laws such as GDPR and CCPA.”

4. How much do they invest in R&D?

Many of the legacy marketing clouds are very broad, deep products. Make sure you ask about what percentage of people and budget are tied to R&D specifically for personalization and AI capabilities. 

5. Are their personalization capabilities native to the stack or a later add-on?

You’ll want to know whether a technology’s personalization capabilities were built in as a native piece of the stack components versus something bolted on afterward. 

“Personalization engines and real-time solutions that bolt on to campaign management tools must be evaluated as a feature add-on or a long-term performance solution,” says Jason. “The data used plays a big role, and brands should understand what data across their organization and third parties can be used, how it can be controlled, scrubbed and stitched together.”

6. How will they deliver on your specific use cases?

Before you speak to the provider, brainstorm a wide range of ideal scenarios and use cases for how you’d like to incorporate personalization.

Ask each vendor to deliver a walk through of how these will specifically be met.

  • Where will the data come from?
  • What will testing and reporting look like?
  • What portions are available out-of-the-box, and which portions require additional investment in professional services?

“Multichannel campaign management providers often started with one channel,” notes Jason. “Does their depth in specific channels meet your priorities? Determine if the support will be thorough and relevant.”

7. What data do they have on uplift and ROI from using their platform?

Ask for evidence of their technology’s impact, both from individual case studies and in aggregate.

8. How do they integrate various types of information?

“Ask how they integrate not only product catalogs, but also offers and other content such as articles, blog posts, and videos, into the tool in order to surface personalized recommendations,” says Jason.

What examples can they give you of clients doing this today?

9. What customer profile capabilities do they have?

Ask to see an example customer profile with data centralized from each of the channels the vendor supports and details on how that profile data is democratized across the platform.

10. Can they provide any release documentation from the last year?

By reviewing their release documentation from the last 12 months, you’ll have another way to verify if your long-term goals align and how much they actually invest in R&D. Look for proof of if the company has been actively investing in areas that are important to your organization.

11. What scaling and system challenges have they had in the last year?

Ask if they have a public system availability with history to see what, if any, scaling and system challenges the organization has faced in the last 12 months. Again, this will help raise any red flags and make sure your long-term roadmaps will work together.

Thanks Jason for your insight and examples!

What other questions do you ask martech vendors about their personalization capabilities? Leave a note in the comment below!


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