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Measuring the contribution that marketing makes to your business is a critical element of every program, campaign, or event. As marketers, we’re well versed in the importance of measuring touches, click rates, engagement, and conversions so that we can better gauge what influences our customers and prospects, what they value, and respond to.

This wasn’t always the case. Not too long ago, marketers and advertisers had little to no insight into what was working and what wasn’t. To understand our effectiveness, we relied on more face-to-face interaction with customers. Today, thanks to innovations in marketing technology (martech) tools we have access to any kind of data point we need, in real-time, without leaving our desks. Martech has given us visibility into customer behavior and personas in ways that didn’t seem possible before.

Many times we use these tools for our own purposes instead of addressing our customers’ needs. Want to address poor sales, low margins, or shifting inventory? Well, as they say, there’s an app for that (indeed, probably lots of apps). These tools may help address those challenges, but are you using them to address your customer’s challenges and make your martech more customer-serving?

At the end of the day, we’re not serving our own businesses. We’re serving people.

Illustration of tech logos being served on serving platters

Now is your chance

All of these things are important, but if they’re the only things we’re focused on, we’ll miss a great chance to really connect with the people who drive our businesses. Instead of building martech stacks that try to solve our daily business problems, we should be creating stacks that support strategies designed to create amazing customer experiences.

As we pointed out in a previous blog, this takes real commitment from visionary leadership. But individual contributors can also have a big impact with bottom up change. Indeed, visionary leadership can start with anyone.

We can start by taking a moment to stop and think about the tools we’re adding to our martech stacks. How are those tools adding value to our customer commitment? Are they helping to drive that commitment forward? Are they supporting the overall strategy of placing the customer front and center and ahead of everything else? If the answer is “no,” maybe rethink whether or not they actually belong in your stack.

Find the true value

The American Marketing Association defines marketing as “the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large.” We can’t afford to lose sight of that definition. It helps us remember that, ultimately, we’re here to provide value for the people that depend on our organizations.

So while it’s easy to get wrapped up in cool tools and data, at the end of the day, we’re not serving our own businesses–we’re serving people. Getting strategic about your software investments can help you support this ideal and help you build authentic, meaningful customer connections. If you can do that, everything else–sales, margins, and inventory included–will be taken care of, too.