This is the year to take back control of marketing technology and unleash the number of opportunities there are to create a positive impact on your company's bottom line.
The benefits of technology are clear - or are they? The Internet and the rise of digital have irrevocably changed the path of humankind, but when you consider the digital age is arguably the first "industrial revolution" to destroy more jobs than it has created, do we all agree that its influence is wholly positive?
Clearly we're not yet at a point where humankind is at risk of being overpowered by Artificial Intelligence, as depicted in countless sci-fi movies. However, what we are facing is a real struggle to harness the full power and potential of technology. We can be its slave even if it can't think for itself.
From a marketing perspective, the pace of change has largely been beneficial to the sector, as new technologies have presented exciting opportunities and capabilities for marketers. But the question we must ask ourselves is: are we really in control of our marketing technology?
As marketers, we should consider whether we are simply adapting our marketing strategy and approach to meet rapid technological advancements, or if we are actually identifying the technology that best services our needs. Where does this leave enterprise marketing automation? Is best practice possible if you're changing the fundamentals of your organization and its objectives to suit the technology?
Regardless of whether you are investing in a single marketing technology or several, it is imperative to clearly establish your target audience and consider whether the new technology makes them more accessible. If it doesn't, immediately question its role.
Make sure you have prioritized your target sectors and defined what each is looking for, as they will inevitably have different ambitions and needs. You wouldn't book a flight if it didn't take you to where you need to go, and implementing any kind of new marketing technology should be no different - make sure you are heading in the right direction, especially before you make the investment.
It's fundamental to define the sectors you're trying to reach and to implement the technology that will enable you to do so. A bigger challenge lies in developing an approach that is truly innovative and will enable your brand to stand apart from competitors. There are many ways you can achieve this: create stunning content that will hit your target audience right between the eyes and develop impactful messaging that will grab their attention; don't be afraid to try something different if your current strategy has become overly safe, or stagnant, or is not wielding results. A good vendor should contribute new ideas or ways of thinking during this process, too, and help you to develop a program that is bespoke to your organization. Furthermore, always be receptive to expanding your skill set and knowledge base, so you can ensure your marketing approach continues to meet your customers' needs.
It's crucial to measure the impact of any new tactics you're planning to implement, so it's essential to benchmark your current activity so you can understand the impact of any new technologies you put in place. Identifying how many suspects turn into prospects before a new technology platform is implemented will provide you with a benchmark by which to measure the success of all future activity. Once an automated solution is in place, it is important to conduct regular reviews of the program to understand how successful it has been and establish how the outputs compare to previous models. On this basis, it's vital that marketers take their time to ensure all necessary measurement capabilities are in place and avoid rushing into any buying decisions until they are.
To have the best chance of meeting your marketing objectives, it is vital that you are in full control of the technology available to you and that you are maximizing its capabilities. Take the time to do your due diligence and understand what your various audiences are looking for and, therefore, how you can reach them. Implement a technology that meets your, and your customers', changing needs and select a vendor that provides consultancy and overall service rather than software in isolation.
2014 is the year to take back control of marketing technology and unleash the number of opportunities there are to create a positive impact on your company's bottom line.
And who knows, failure to do so and marketers may be facing their very own march of the robots....
Hasta la vista!
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Denner is the co-founder and director of Adestra, and is highly experienced in developing email solutions, having headed up teams responsible for bringing four separate email applications to market. A veteran of 13 years' experience in the industry, Denner has worked with many organizations on delivering technical solutions to real business challenges and goals.
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Hong Kong, April 2015
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