By Mike Stiles on Jul 08, 2014
A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about the growing necessity for brands to have someone filling the role of Marketing Technologist. Obviously, this wouldn’t be a growing necessity if marketing technology weren’t literally overwhelming management teams.
It’s not that these management teams are unaware, inexperienced, disconnected, aren’t digital natives, or didn’t finish high enough in their class at Harvard. The speed at which technological change is hitting us has everyone back on their heels…including the consumer. How many times have you heard someone say they aren’t on certain social network because they “just can’t handle them all”?
And yet, maybe even unfairly, the public increasingly expects their brands to flawlessly execute the predictive meeting of their needs, instant response and gratification in customer service, and 100% relevancy in the content they’re served…and on whatever channel they might be, 24/7/365 globally.
Yeesh. No wonder there’s the urge to employ new marketing technology as fast as it comes. But because it does come so fast, and because there are so many companies in the space, with disparate products & components of the digital marketing solution, many a corporate eye is glazed over with confusion and doubt. Confusion and doubt leads to not moving forward. Many brands have expensive tech they aren’t even using.
As my great grandfather Stiles never once told me, “Son, too many choices will make your head explode.” So as you’re trying to decide what marketing technology to embrace, consider these things:
- Whatever tech you adopt, it’s probably going to call for change in strategy, processes, personnel, and budgeting. It’s not like getting a taco from a food truck.
- You generally get what you pay for. There are plenty of cheap choices out there that will keep you in the minor leagues.
- Things on the rapid rise like the volume of consumer data, mobile, Internet of Things, cloud, collaborative purchasing (social friend recommendations on steroids), etc. means you can’t sit and wait “until the dust settles.” You will choke on dust.
- How much fun is a 1000-piece puzzle if none of the pieces fit together? Look to a vendor that has all the integrated pieces you can add on as you grow. It’s the only path to seamless cross-channel customer experiences.
- Shy away from buying the product without the service. Maximize what you get.
- Establish an innovation lab for testing or piloting potential new tech products like the one Mayur Gupta has at Kimberly-Clark. It lets you date before you get married.
The proverbial journey of a thousand miles begins with that first step. Get in touch with your biggest pain point. What’s currently causing the biggest disconnect between your brand and your customers? Since marketing is becoming dominantly about user experience, that’s as good a place to start as any. Then resist chasing squirrels. Examine potential marketing technology vendors not just for what they offer today, but whether or not they have the big picture integrated parts of the whole you’ll need as you build.