By: Dave Lawrence on July 22nd, 2020
How to Maximize Your Investment in Marketing Technology
The world of marketing has transformed dramatically in the last ten years or so — what used to be a linear approach is now a much more complicated, multi-channel beast — and this has led many businesses to adopt technology-based solutions to their problems. The number of different systems and software-based applications available today is overwhelming, ranging from digital asset management (DAM) and content management systems (CMS) to product information management (PIM). While the popularity of such technology-based solutions is undeniable, there are many businesses and marketing departments that are unknowingly failing to reap all the benefits from what they’ve purchased. What this means is that marketing efforts will likely be compromised and valuable opportunities, missed. Moreover, this often occurs without businesses even being aware.
There are six steps that businesses can take into account to ensure they are getting the most they possibly can out of their marketing technology investments.
Stay up to date
We all know that technology moves at an incredibly fast pace, continually evolving and advancing in line with consumer demands and the latest innovations. Naturally, this means that software-based solutions commonly used by marketers are frequently updated and upgraded to introduce new features and capabilities.
But unless businesses are committed to staying up to date, these features can go entirely unnoticed. Many seem to operate with an ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ approach to systems and applications. But on the flip side, it means they have no idea what they’re missing out on, such as additional state-of-the-art technology opportunities. There have been many instances where businesses have considered scrapping a certain system altogether because it is outdated or lacks a feature they’re looking for, only to discover that a simple update can address all of their needs.
Dedicate an internal champion
Many businesses have found that identifying an ‘internal champion’ can prove to be incredibly beneficial for two reasons in particular. Firstly, it makes it easier to achieve the goal of maintaining regular updates, mentioned above. This internal champion, who naturally tends to be an individual (or a group of individuals) with a genuine interest in the marketing technology, is responsible for keeping one eye on the latest developments and updating the system as soon as possible to ensure all users are reaping the benefits they should be.
Secondly, an elected individual who is knowledgeable about what each update includes is much more likely to be able to translate these benefits into a language that all users can understand. Being able to communicate this on a human level is also more likely to drive adoption of the solution in question (more on this further so, kindly keep reading.)
Remain ahead of the curve
Once a business decides to make a significant investment in a new technology-based marketing solution, they will naturally want to make sure that it remains relevant and useful for as long as possible. Of course, staying on top of software and firmware updates is a part of the process, but can also be helpful to create a dedicated development environment, where any new features or updates that a business might like to implement can be tested and experimented with - before they go live to all users.
This development environment should effectively act as a sandbox — users are not interacting with it regularly, but it allows a select few to install and play with specific elements to test their effectiveness. Having a proving ground of this kind can also help to save time and money in the long run, while also keeping any potential frustration from users at bay. With any new features extensively tested before going live, employees should be able to enjoy something that just works.
Another huge benefit of this step from a business perspective is that the financial investment required to build a development environment is minimal, and yet the long-term gain can often be significant.
Encourage solution adoption
People don’t like change — that’s a well-known fact of life. And, this also applies to change in work processes, so there is always likely to be pushback from users when a business decides to invest in something new. Is this a challenge? Yes! But it is often how the company chooses to deal with this pushback that can determine the overall success of their investment.
As mentioned earlier, having an internal champion can help to convert the more skeptical users by communicating the benefits and advantages of the technology in a way that is clear, coherent and more compelling than it would be if they were to read through some release notes directly. The dedicated development environment can also help to drive adoption — users are much more likely to continue using a specific tool or solution if they are shown how it works before it goes live and they’re forced to get to grips with it.
Post-launch analysis is key
It’s practically impossible to determine how successful the adoption of a specific technology is until it's in use for an extended length of time. Even if a business has decided to invest a significant amount of money into a solution that it feels incredibly confident about, there is never any guarantee that all users will also feel the same way.
Take note; this is why once the technology in question has gone live and enough time has passed for users to become accustomed to it, it’s vital to check in with these users about their experiences and how they feel about it from their perspective. It is often the case that people will provide valuable constructive criticism and raise important issues that have been thoroughly overlooked, helping the business to make appropriate tweaks — in a way it is the post-launch equivalent of a dedicated development environment. Once the wagons are in motion and the post-launch analysis has been carried out, businesses can then take this feedback to the third-party systems integrators to help update and further optimize the systems.
User Groups and Forums
Many enterprise technology solutions often have a dedicated group of passionate users that create a community specially designed to help each other get the most out of their solution. User groups and forums are an excellent place to get answers for challenges you may be experiencing and learn how others have used the solution in creative ways that could benefit your organization. Along with these groups and forums, it is also important to attend conferences where you can speak directly with solutions developers and other users face-to-face to discuss common issues, new features and product roadmaps.
When it comes to squeezing as much out of your marketing technology as possible, it’s important to rally the troops together and work collaboratively to make things as smooth and pain-free as possible. Users that express a level of competency around the solution should be taken on-board as internal champions, and the opinions of every single user must be taken into account when it comes to tweaking the solution both pre-launch and post-launch. By keeping the six above steps in mind at all times, your investment will go a lot further than you first thought.
To learn more about improving your marketing technology solutions and increasing the efficiency of your processes take a look at our free guide: Future-Proofing Your Digital Asset Management and Creative Production.
About Dave Lawrence
Dave Lawrence is the technical lead at IO Integration in the US Western Region. He is responsible for system support and troubleshooting both remote and on-site of large, high speed, high capacity UNIX file servers, data storage, networking and software for the printing, publishing and advertising industry.