There are things that work and many more that don't. Let's discuss what we've experienced . . . not our opinions . . . but actually what our days and nights as marketers, business leaders, parents, people are teaching us. Please give us a hand. Tell us about your experience with this stuff.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

6 Criteria for a Marketing Technology Approach That Works

Many of us are fortunate to work for organizations which expect us to help build a better team, business model, business development process, etc which returns more profit to the shareholders.

However as our industry evolves, it still has a tendency to being reactive, faddish and unstrategic. So when it comes to making marketing technology decisions, we can get caught up in a dysfunctional process that eats up resources.

So with finite (in some cases shrinking) resources and growing expectations, how do we make marketing technology decisions?

Here's the criteria I'm using these days which helps me focus on what will deliver value in a lean and focused environment:

1. How will the marketing technology benefit our client? (Now wait Allen, isn't this about us. No, it is always about the client.) If we are an organization focused on serving clients and providing value for them and marketing / bus dev's chief function is to facilitate that relationship, then the technology has to be seen in this light.
Will the technology help us understand the client better? Will it help us focus better on their most important needs? Will it help us have a better relationship with them? And do the clients care about any of this?

2. How will the technology make our firm more profitable? Not more active or work more hours; how will it return more money to the shareholders?

3. Does the technology fill a hole, demand or fit the business process involved with executing our strategy? Not will it benefit everyone in the firm, but will it increase the value and productivity of our go-to-market strategy?

4. Will the technology integrate with the other firm technology? Will it work in concert with the firm financial system, the CRM system and all content management technology? No one needs a stand alone resource.

5. Does it make the marketing function more efficient? Can we do better work and do it more quickly? (In an environment where resources are shrinking, I would add that it be personnel neutral? Sometimes we don't have the extra personnel slots to manage new technology.)

6. Is is scalable? A holdover from my days at E&Y, we always want to make sure our technology fits in with most any reasonable growth scenario.

Oh yeah, and I guess you need to check if you can afford it. I don't list this only because you'll have plenty of help in this area.

Bottom-line is that we have to accept the arithmetic that marketing technology can't be about flavor of the month fads or what others are doing. Mid-tech and even low-tech solutions have their place (note: Southwest Airlines built the most succssful domestic airlines based on customer's simple needs and simple solutions). Figure out your criteria and stick to it.

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