I want to understand more about marketing tech, but I don’t know where to start. The tools we use at my company, like Salesforce and Marketo, have so many functionalities and data that I feel like I might break something if I start playing around. The martech space moves fast, and it’s hard to get a handle on where the industry is going.
I’d feel more confident in my job if I knew how to get the best out of the tools we use, and understood the outlook of martech as a whole. How can I start to build that knowledge? Where do I find the time?
That drive you have to learn is a great thing, Martech Mark. When I first started out using Marketo, I wanted to be productive from day one. At first, I thought that meant sticking just to what we knew at our company; like you, I thought experimenting would lead to “breaking” things beyond repair.
I’m happy to say that wasn’t the case. Tools like Marketo don’t have the easiest learning curve, so you might not get it right away; that’s not the end of the world. Take a few hours each week to read up, play around with tools, post in communities, whatever grabs your interest. Here are some places to start:
- Free trials and versions: Many tools out there have free versions (e.g. Hubspot, Salesforce Lightning Platform) or at least free trials (e.g. SAP Marketing Cloud) to experiment with; so if you’ve got a certain piece of tech in mind, check out what build you can get on the house.
- Online courses: LinkedIn, edX, Coursera, and other learning platforms have a mix of free and paid courses to try out, covering a breadth of technologies.
- Product spaces: Official company spaces provide a range of free resources, from the videos and courses on Marketo University to the forums in Salesforce’s Trailblazer Community.
- Online communities: Chances are, the tool you’re learning has active communities on Github or Reddit—and dedicated MOPs communities can help you steer your course.
- News and blogs: Sources like MarketingTech and ChiefMartec publish news and analysis of the latest movements in the martech world.
Treat each resource like a sandbox; you’ve got free reign to mess around, trial and error.
Once you get going, document all the things you do and hear that are useful to your learning; the observations you have, how using a particular tool benefits your work (does it make a process faster? Improve analysis?). Even if the tool you’re learning doesn’t quite help you meet certain goals, note that down too—it’s a lesson the whole team can learn from.
As you say, the martech space moves quickly. Trends rise and level out, upstart tools get acquired, and if you’re exploring a new capability area, there’s no guarantee the tool you learn will be one the industry settles on.
For that reason, don’t stress about where the market’s heading; focus on the tech that interests you and helps to achieve your goals. You’ll pick up transferable skills that apply across technologies; like learning a language, it gets easier after the first one. Just keep going.
You’ve got this,