By: Les Barker, 1/7/17
So you’re the new marketing hire in the organization. When you applied for the job and accepted the position, you were full of energy and motivation. You were going to take the organization to the next level with a first class marketing environment.
Then reality sunk in.
They hired YOU to develop the marketing plan but had no technology in place to support you or a clue as to what a marketing technology arsenal is supposed to include.
No matter the organization, there is always some form of rich media assets to manage. It can range from simple logos and brand content to complex compliance documents.
One of the most important factors in determining what technology to implement will be driven by the importance and value your organization places on its assets.
So where do you begin? What marketing technology is out there that can offer you solutions? Have you done any competitor research?
Let’s do a reality check first though. Here are some questions to ask yourself before you develop that plan.
How are the assets used in the organization and what role do they play to carry out the daily marketing or other valued activities of the organization?
Discovery is the first step.
- Plan user group meetings. Uncover and engage the people in the organization from the top down.
- Ask some probing questions about workflow and document the process at a high level.
- Don’t be afraid to expose the good, bad and ugly of marketing technology nightmares in the company. You cannot implement an intelligent marketing technology without knowing the goals of the organization.
What are the pain points in the organization that are related to the access and management of the assets?
You really need to understand your organization to uncover these pain points before thinking about what technology will work best.
- Conduct a brief survey on how staff use marketing assets. Select an internal team from across the organization where their job involves developing and using content. These people will tell you their pain points.
- Ask about access to these marketing assets. Make it brief and ask about process, business value and technology used in daily workflow.
- Expose the requirements, desires and wishes of the users.
What are the immediate and long term plans for the organization when it comes to product or service marketing?
Choosing the right solution requires a thorough understanding of the landscape.
- What are the user requirements?
- A solid IT approach is the most important element of the marketing technology environment. Ask what technology is available in the organization. There are always hidden gems or landmines that will be exposed. Some unit may already own a license for a data-driven mail application, a large HIPAA document file system or even a host of offline storage of training and process workflow videos. Gathering the data is more than half of the discovery work.
- The size and magnitude of the organization. This will help guide and possibly determine the level of effort required to put a marketing technology plan in place.
So you know you need the technology. Assuming you have a more solid understanding of the requirements and pain points now, it’s time to find out what is out there. But where do you really start?
Here are 10 tips on what may work best to start the process and get you on the right track to choosing the solution that will work best for your company or organization.
#1 DO YOUR HOMEWORK. What is the industry using? Study your competition! Research industry content. Scrape the social content out there related to your business. Attend a relative conference or trade show. You’re not inventing or building this technology, you’re buying it.
#2 What is the technology behind the solution? On premise, hosted, cloud? This is crucial, as it will impact first and foremost the security of your assets and the budget for implementing as well. What is the user interface and experience going to be?
#3 Are you fulfilling the mandatory requirements developed by the internal team? Will the new technology resolve pain points and low hanging fruit out of the box within 30-90 days of pulling the trigger?
#4 Does the application have integration points to existing or planned applications within the IT infrastructure? Is it an open or closed system? Is there an API or toolkit for internal development activities? How well does it scale?
#5 What are the short and long term costs of implementation? What are the annual recurring maintenance costs? Do you have the resources in-house to feed and administer the system or do you need to buy long or short support services?
#6 What is the vendor’s support and training model?
#7 Once a few technology offerings are identified, visit installations, make phone calls, crawl web forums, user groups and blogs to gather more useful information.
#8 Look at total cost over a 5-year period and make the decision based on possible ROI. Consider the technology and required cost of doing business and communicate that to senior management.
#9 What touch points or efficiency gains can be realized by using a particular technology? There are obvious differences between vendor offerings, but go back to those requirements and review the mandatory needs. Address each requirement and how it will be resolved by the solution in question. Use a grading system based on your organizations needs to examine and grade the criteria.
#10 Develop a very rigid implementation schedule and make sure the budget will deliver the solution required. The last thing you want is to have to go back and ask for more resources and budget before the task is done.
This is just a brief checklist of the items to review before choosing the right marketing technology for your organization. For additional insights, read our eBook on marketing technologies.
About the Author:
“Les Barker provides strategic and tactical technology solutions related to the management of rich media content. Les spent over 30 years at World Bank Group, helping to reduce global poverty through technical education, sustainability efforts, and research and development. His current work involves creation of rich media assets for projects that include Augmented and Virtual reality content.”