Balancing Technology and People: 3 Essential Elements

  |  March 1, 2012   |  Comments

Look inward and assess your company's strength, alignment, and concentration to determine how well your people and technology resources are structured.

In my column, I write a lot about leveraging technology to grow marketing's contribution to the overall organization. Technology can bring transparency, scalability, and innovation, which is critical given the role that the Internet plays in the buying process today. However, technology is not a solution in and of itself. Just as different types of vehicles (trucks, sedans, motorcycles, etc.) need the right type of driver; technology is only as good as the people behind the wheel. To succeed in marketing, you must find the right balance.

According to Dictionary.com, balance means "a state of equilibrium or equipoise; equal distribution of weight, amount, etc." But how do we determine the equal distribution of technology and people within our marketing departments? In addition, as needs change from day to day, how do we stabilize and keep balanced?

As you may know, I love practicing yoga and think there are many parallels between yoga and marketing. So let's turn to yoga once again to identify the three essential elements that will keep you balanced.

  1. Strength. Having the mental and physical strength to get into and hold a particular posture.
  2. Alignment. Proper alignment of your joints and muscles to ensure equal distribution of your weight.
  3. Concentration. To help you be aware of what needs to be adjusted and maintain balance.

When evaluating the best mix of technology and people for your team, let's leverage these three basic principles to help us find the proper balance. If it's good enough for the human body, can't it be good enough for our marketing departments?

Strength. When choosing a tool that is right for your team, you need to analyze the core features and capabilities to determine the type of tasks it can handle. For example, is the technology powerful enough to run reports on the volume of search keywords in your account? Or, can the technology be flexible enough to respond to the seasonality of your business?

Let's say the marketing tool you chose has the right "strength" for what is needed for your business. What good will it do if you don't have proper human skill sets to utilize all the features and capabilities? For instance, when thinking about automated paid search bid management capabilities, how will the technology know what goals are important to optimize against? You need someone "strong" who can set the strategy and plan, and, in some cases, someone with the technical know-how to drive the tool.

Bottom line: You need to find the technology and people with the right strengths; otherwise, you might not even be able to get your initiatives off the ground.

Alignment. Marketing supports the entire organization and different departments, such as sales or client services. Technology can help marketing integrate with these other teams. For instance, a marketing automation tool should be integrated with your company's CRM tool. This will allow you to see marketing's impact on the entire funnel. However, technology can never be the only solution for true integration. It takes humans to build relationships and define what truly matters to the company.

Bottom line: Humans need to take the initiative to build relationships and determine the best way to integrate with other departments and technology can help facilitate the communication and plan.

Concentration. In order to determine success, marketers should outline goals and stay focused on achieving them. Technology can help do this in a scalable way. When leveraging online and database marketing, there's typically a large amount of data that must be processed. Technology can be leveraged to watch for trends and data outliers that humans simply cannot do in an efficient way. Again, the technology needs to be balanced with the right people who know what to have the technology watch and help take the right actions to capitalize on opportunities or course-correct.

Bottom line: You need both technology and humans to keep an eye on your programs and react as needed to stay on course to reaching your goals.

Is your marketing well-balanced to reach or exceed its goals? Look inward and assess your strength, alignment, and concentration to determine how well your people and technology resources are structured. And remember to focus on progress, not perfection.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Stacie Levy

Stacie is senior director of marcom and PR at Kenshoo, a digital marketing technology company backed by Sequoia Capital, Arts Alliance, and Tenaya Capital. Kenshoo powers nearly half of the Fortune 50 and all 10 top global ad agency networks.

Prior to joining Kenshoo, Stacie worked as director of client strategy and development at Resolution Media, an Omnicom Media Group Company. In this role, she was responsible for overseeing the growth of key accounts, in addition to leading Resolution Media's account management practice. During her tenure, Stacie led relationships with brands like Bank of America, Gatorade, Norwegian Cruise Line, Restaurant.com, Sirius XM, and State Farm, while working with partner agencies to ensure all search programs are integrated into the overall marketing mix. Prior to Resolution Media, Stacie worked as an account manager at Nielsen Claritas. There she was responsible for managing and growing relationships with key clients, such as Sprint, US Cellular, Alltel Wireless, and Charter Communications.

Stacie graduated from the University of Wisconsin - Madison with a degree in Marketing. When she's off the clock, Stacie enjoys yoga, rooting for Wisconsin football teams, and exploring her new state, Colorado.

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