By: James Word on December 14th, 2017
Five Best Practices for Rolling Out Marketing Tech
"Keep communications open" says James Word, Business Analyst at IO Integration. Digital platforms have transformed marketing. What was once a straightforward, production-centric world of wealth is now a complex, multi-channel, multi-screen multiverse on a tight budget. Thankfully, technology has evolved to manage these complex initiatives. More than ever, marketing teams are taking control, maintaining focus, and quantifying their results. But with many options on the table — project management, digital asset management, and content management — how do you choose the best solution?
My advice is to stick to the following five best practices when considering, purchasing, and rolling out any marketing software. These considerations provide the necessary structure and built-in checks for project success.
Here Are My Top 5 Best Practices for Rolling out Marketing Technology
1. Know What you Want to Achieve
No one solution will be the answer to every issue under the sun. The most important thing you can do is make a short list of top priorities, share that list, and start talking about it. Are you trying to create a branded asset portal, speed up production, or develop a client showcase? Are you trying to address security and governance, quantify your efforts, or automate processes? Knowing what you want to achieve and opening up channels of communication
will be your first key to success. Through this process, you may discover that one team’s needs outweigh another’s. Getting this information into the open will not only help set expectations, but it will also set the stage for creative problem-solving. If you do this step correctly, you will gather a clear set of requirements and friction points. You are now in the best position to review your options.
2. Find the Right Product
Your requirements, and software flexibility should dictate product fit. Talking to a systems integrator that has experience with multiple products will be of great value here (even if you only decide to purchase one product). They know exactly what can and can’t be done “out of the box” and how much product can be customized or integrated. They can also tell you if a product truly meets your set of requirements and help you create a roadmap for addressing those friction points. Finding the right product can be as emotional as it is functional. Marketing teams can be finicky when it comes to how a product looks and feels. It’s important to gather recordings of live demonstrations and screenshots, and share them. Make sure your team(s) like what they see.
3. Set Expectations
Managing expectations is an art form. Once you make a product decision, it is essential to explain to all stakeholders what the product will and will not do for them. This is particularly important for terms that were interviewed for requirements. Some of their conditions may have been intentionally omitted during the process of choosing a product. It is critical to talk openly about this. Again, an integrator can be of great help. They can explain to your team why some functions are chosen over others and help explore options. Sometimes a requirement is less critical in a different context, and sometimes all you can do is place the element on the roadmap. Setting expectations by way of open communication will help you avoid tensions during rollout.
4. Create Training Videos
The importance of training is often overlooked. Yes, software should be intuitive in the first place, but no two organizations operate in the same way, and your specific requirements will be met with a particular design of system and configuration. Training is now your best opportunity to show employees how to follow your new procedures. It’s important to not bombard employees with too much detail all at once. I suggest creating a series of ten-minute short videos, each covering only a few procedures. Then create a self-serve help page that lists each process with a link to each video. Now you have curated a set of training videos for onboarding new employees and a reference for current employees. This ensures that everyone is using the software in a consistent way and following process. Self-guided video training also dramatically reduces the number of time administrators needs to spend training new users.
5. Drive System Adoption
Perhaps the most critical and most overlooked part of the process. You need to strategize and temporarily spend a lot of effort to drive system adoption. When you deploy your new system, employees will naturally gravitate towards doing what they’ve always done, not using the new system. It will take time and the right approach to change their habits without causing a mutiny.
At this point, marketing organizations shine. Start a campaign. For the first few weeks, keep interest high by offering lunchtime Q&As, hands-on workshops, and trickle campaigns to raise awareness and convey tips-and-tricks. Give away swag. Encourage champions to walk around, start conversations, and inspire people to use the new system. Develop a strategy that’s appropriate for your organization, keep the fire burning steadily for a few weeks, and before you know it, everyone will be using the system — and learning from each other.
The common thread in each of these five best practices is open communication. That will be your key to success. Commit to be open and communicate with all parties during each phase and you will be amazed at the results.
Yes, there will be some difficult conversations, but buy-in from all sides is essential, even if all wants are not met. A smooth rollout will secure more resources for future needs.
About James Word
James has over 25-years of experience servicing the content lifecycle needs of advertising agencies, corporate marketing groups, retailers, and the entertainment industry. His depth of implementation experience provides a well-rounded understanding of real-world uses of digital asset management, content management, work management, creative production, and automation. He is a multi-product expert with deep technical knowledge on how to design integrations that drive business value.