Move forward in the marketing landscape with a marketing technology strategy suited to your business needs.
Technology and marketing are not separate - and they never have been. That’s why every senior marketer today is tech-savvy and knows his numbers. The days of a scribbled headline agreed over a three-martini lunch are long gone.
But the skills of a traditional marketer – creative and customer-centric, with an instinct for the human condition – are still the norm in many marketing departments. And that’s suboptimal for delivering a marketing strategy, that relies on today’s process-driven technology and extreme automation.
What’s the answer?
The next challenge for marketers
With competition so intense, there just isn’t much truly bad software around. There are a thousand solutions for each RFP, and every one will tick the boxes on features alone.
But however broad their ecosystem, however established their brand, all marketing software platforms have strong and weak points. And to a traditional marketing mindset, those varying strengths and weaknesses aren’t obvious.
1. Seek best practice
In today’s broad and deep software ecosystem, making choices can be difficult. That’s why it’s a good idea to step away from the software – and look for examples of how companies are actually using the systems on your shortlist. From the trade press to case studies, you can see who’s using it, for what, and the value it returns in those areas.
Why is this useful? Because it’s a place Marketing and IT minds can meet: the success stories where a specific marketing technology strategy delivered. So look for best practice and share those stories.
2. Think frameworks, not features
A great deal of value for any marketing automation system is in the connections between the parts, rather than the application itself. How efficiently does it join up steps on the customer journey? How easily can decision makers get reports and insights from data? If the parts of the system aren’t talking to each other, the company can’t talk to customers.
One way to combat this is to look at frameworks first. It’s very rare to see a marketing department using only one application (or even one platform) for all its activities, and they shouldn’t be compelled to. What matters is whether the mix of technologies is delivering.
3. Turn customers into numbers
Of course people aren’t numbers. But applying metrics to customer data - like lead-scoring each fresh prospect in the sale funnel or gauging a customer’s readiness for his next action - are another area where ideas-driven marketers and process-driven operations types can talk business.
Because both groups know the importance of metrics, whether the audience is B2B or B2C. And when you see people from the two camps talking excitedly about KPIs and CSFs, you’ve got your departmental dynamics just right. Because it means they’re making decisions based on what success looks like: the outcomes for your business, rather than sweating the small stuff.
Summing up: teamwork makes tech deliver
You’ll note the above points have a common denominator: they involve people with different skills coming together. It’s why in so many successful companies the CIO and CMO work well together. They see each other as strategic assets, not silos. In fact 69% of CMOs recognise the need to align with IT.
But finding people with both skillsets is hard. There aren’t many of them on the job market, for one thing. So finding the common ground where marketers and technologists can work together most effectively is the next best thing.
Of course, another option is to engage a team that’s been doing it for years. (To get started, read, ‘Sales, Marketing and IT: Your cross departmental guide to designing a Marketing Operations strategy’.) Who knows, perhaps outside help with marketing technology strategy is your ideal engine of delivery.