What to Consider When It’s Time for New Marketing Technology

What to Consider When It’s Time for New Marketing Technology

Marketing automation tools. In many cases, the changes companies need to make don’t even require new technology. “Companies often adopt new technology and keep bad processes,” Peg says. We know how to market, not how to buy and implement technology,” Peg says. The people using the tools must see what’s in it for them. Don’t get yourself tangled up with a tool that makes it seem you’re going to need an administrator and you’re going to have to do all this work to make the tool perfect. What is our access to support teams, service teams, and other resources? What kinds of content do you provide?

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Marketing automation tools. Social media tools. Collaboration tools. As a marketing leader, you’re faced with a crushing number of marketing technologies to consider: almost 5,000 of them, falling into some 75 categories. When it’s time to consider new technology, how on earth do you know what all to consider?

B2B Marketing Academy co-founder Peg Miller has some guidance. Peg talked at the Intelligent Content Conference about Your Next Marketing Technology Implementation: How to Survive, Thrive, and Keep Your Job. In this post, I sum up what she had to say on three points:

  • Prioritize people and process over technology.
  • Seek as simple a solution as possible.
  • Ask questions from multiple perspectives.

Prioritize people and process over technology

The people-process-tech model, which puts technology at the end of the decision-making process, has been around for decades. Still, companies often rush into marketing-technology decisions before they understand their current processes or lack of processes.

I like the way Peg made this point in a CMI article earlier this year:

To prepare for any technology implementation, document the holes or weaknesses in your processes. This knowledge will help you eradicate poor processes before you replicate them inside of a new technology.

Monitor and document your processes until you fully uncover the way your teams do things today, Peg says. Find out where you lack processes and where you need to do things differently. Improve your processes as much as possible before you buy.

In many cases, the changes companies need to make don’t even require new technology.

When you need technology as part of the solution, address process issues and pain points before you move over to new tools. “Companies often adopt new technology and keep bad processes,” Peg says.

For example, one company she worked for bought a tool, staffed up, hired an integrator, and did all the things the way you should do it. After a year, “we realized, wow, we’re still churning out all these email newsletters, batch-and-blasting. We had ported our email service provider into a marketing automation system. We fell into that trap of using old process in a new tool rather than using the new tool the way it should be used.”

In a nutshell, “plan long and execute short.” Don’t be in a hurry to get a new tool in place. Whenever possible, avoid pulling out what you have – the rip-and-replace approach. Migrations, Peg warns, are usually painful.

Get agreement from your executive level – whoever is signing off on this decision – as to how you will measure success of any tool you choose.

Finally, work with your IT team. “Marketers love to bring in new technologies and break things. We know how to market, not how to buy and implement technology,” Peg says.

For any technology you’re considering, evaluate – and promote – the user payoff. Successful implementations are fueled by payoffs.

For example, even if you bring a technology to improve reporting from an executive’s standpoint, keep in mind the people who must use the system to create that great reporting. How will you convince them to use this technology? Will it save them time? Are they going to have better reporting for themselves? Are they going to have easier access to content they created? Can they reuse their content in new ways? The people using the tools must see what’s in it for them.

Seek as simple a solution as possible

When you’re considering new technology, look for ways to keep things simple. As Peg suggests:

  • Plan no more than one year ahead. No one knows what martech tools will be capable of three years from now. Get comfortable with planning quarterly and annually, and…

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