Good morning, readers! Today, we’ll talk about ways to bring your global market closer, will find out why Forrester says the social listening market has a way to go before it’s ready for the big time, and will get some advice on things we should consider after we’ve decided that we’re getting a new marketing automation platform but before we’ve decided which one.

Embracing a global marketing mindset

These days, you don’t have to be a Fortune 500 business to have a global presence. Is your business already working in different countries, or are you thinking about expanding your markets? Regardless of where you currently stand when it comes to global marketing, says Daniel Incandela in Martech Advisor, there are a few key things to keep in mind.

One example Daniel suggests is that video is far greater than audio when it comes to collaborating with your global teams. There’s something to be said for a video conference being able to capture a smile or a colleague enjoying a cup of coffee to help build up the sense of teamwork and cohesiveness—and that’s something that a bunch of faceless voices on a conference call just doesn’t do. Though it may take a little more preparation and may incur a bit more cost than traditional voice conferencing, it will pay dividends in creating a more productive work environment. Check out all of Daniel’s tips for navigating global challenges here.

The search for stellar social listening continues

In the market for a single social listening platform not only gives you great audience analysis and data visualization tools, but also integrates with your call center and/or marketing performance data and offers clear options for what actions to take next? According to Barry Levine in MarTech Today, the newest Forrester Wave quarterly report suggests you shouldn’t hold your breath.

(Download the Q3 2018 Global Social Listening Platforms report; registration required)

The study found that while coverage among tools is expanding beyond networks, there’s little to differentiate between one tool and another—a limitation that Forrester initially pointed out in 2016 that appears to remain unresolved. Additionally, the data within these tools remains siloed, and while brands may combine social data with digital ad targeting, audience segmentation and market research, other rich data sources like call center transcripts, traditional ad targeting and in-store data is never or rarely integrated with social data. And the data sources themselves tend to be similar across vendors; because all vendors are drawing from the same social networks and the same third-party aggregators on social content websites, there is bound to be overlap between information available through different vendors, which Forrester says ends up making each vendor “largely look the same from one to the next.”

Overall, Forrester expressed disappointment in the entire category. But where does that leave you as a marketer, right now, if you’re currently in the market for a solution? I think it puts you in an amazing negotiating position! First, read all of Barry’s article to get an overview of the whole report, then read the report, including Forrester’s synopsis of which vendors are in the lead and which are performing well. Determine which vendor’s current offerings and product roadmap best appear to fit your needs, then work to negotiate a deal to fit your marketing budget.

DIY tips for choosing a new marketing automation platform

Congratulations! You’ve made the decision that it’s time to move to a new marketing automation platform. Now it’s time to get down to the business of gathering the technical requirements necessary to make an informed decision about which platform will best serve your needs. And though your martech consultant is in the best position to help you make a good choice, Jonathan Brown in ClickZ has put together a pretty comprehensive starting point that can get your team thinking in the right direction.

Jonathan suggests that after you’ve gathered your stakeholders, first outline your business requirements. How important is functionality at scale? With what existing CRM software, sales processes or other tools will your new marketing automation platform need to integrate? Will you be handling your marketing analytics in the same data warehouse or separately? Your answers to questions like these will help you determine which platform may best serve your organization now and into the future.

Read on for the rest of Jonathan’s tips, and if you start to feel the least bit overwhelmed (because yes, this kind of decision is important, and marketing goes so much smoother when you make the right choice the first time! ) please get in touch.