CTO, Partner @ Marena Cosmos overseeing all technical decisions and consulting & advising clients regarding websites & martech. My LinkedIn
Brand power continues to show its might with no sign of slowing down. According to a recent Forbes article, Apple, Netflix and Amazon continue to be some of the most popular U.S. brands. The pandemic may have shifted consumer behavior, but it has not changed consumers’ love for brands, as illustrated by McKinsey & Company.
With communication channels broadening and increasing marketers’ expectations, how can a CMO, brand manager or marketing director keep their branding, MarCom and digital marketing efforts unified? How do they keep this up despite human capital and financial limitations?
Under the hood of an enterprise marketing and sales organization, there are several moving parts. The marketing team needs to supply the latest branding assets like logos, content, corporate communications and marketing materials. The sales team needs to prospect and upsell existing customers while developing new ones through a personalized approach. The quality and consistency of the brand are at stake, and they depend on how well these parts collaborate. Very often, the underlying technologies are suboptimal simply because they do not integrate or are redundant, preventing organizations from achieving the holy grail of artificial intelligence (AI) marketing and sales.
Many younger, more nimble organizations that use AI technology are gaining a competitive advantage over those that do not. These companies use proprietary APIs and Ivy League data scientists, engineers and developers to integrate their CRM, ESP, social media and marketing automation systems at scale. However, most large enterprises fall short of this type of integration. There are many reasons, but I want to focus on five significant challenges to overcome.
Old Way Vs. New Way
The internet revolution has gone through three massive changes over the past 30 years and will see more with the rise of AI and quantum computing. Change is hard to implement, especially when it requires updates to systems, platforms, networks and programming language. Making these changes often requires changing out human skill sets or, worse, changing out colleagues you may call friends. I believe laziness, complacency and lack of R&D are often the main factors. Finding the sweet spot of bleeding-edge versus depreciated returns on legacy technology is not easy, but waiting for the best technology to show up isn’t going to happen, either. Rolling out a pilot program on smaller, more agile teams is a great way to dip your feet in the pool without building an entire ocean or data lake.
Too Many Teams Involved
Many global organizations have become big and bifurcated, with departmental silos becoming the norm. Successful marketing campaigns require cooperation between marketing and sales teams, slowing down workflow. This can result in duplicated work, wasted resources and poor customer experience. Integrating a cross-departmental automation solution can allow teams to improve communication and share information for a more efficient workflow.
How Do We Justify Cost?
When a large technology purchase includes marketing, sales, IT and accounting, cost becomes an issue. A brand or marketing management platform’s goal is to help sales sell more, marketing to be more efficient and accounting to account for expenses in real time. Who is going to pay for it? How will it be expensed? Shared? Why not? Start by identifying everyone who will benefit. Recruit key project champions, then work on quantifying the benefits for the project together.
How Do We Get Users To Buy In?
According to Ascend2, a recent MarTech stack optimization study found 52% of marketers were not satisfied with the “ease of use” of their technology. Companies are spending money on technology only to see it not meet expectations or exceed project budgets. My recommendation is to create a prototype and have teams test its efficiency before investing. A strong technology partner should be willing to create a prototype.
How Do We Measure ROI?
ROI can be tough to measure. With multiple solutions, such as content, sales, promotion and more, it becomes difficult to measure the ROI of an entire MarTech stack. The usual metrics are decreasing marketing costs and revenue growth. Go beyond the usual and include employee productivity, user satisfaction and adoption levels. Factor in how many more campaigns were sent, leads were converted and impressions made as a result of automation technology. In my professional opinion, marketing automation and digital brand management can significantly improve corporate bottom lines.
Key Factors To Implementing Automation
Integrating marketing automation can feel overwhelming. At Marena Cosmos, we have found focusing on five key factors makes the transition easier and yields the best results:
• Identify Needs: Take inventory of your brand marketing, corporate communications and advertising needs. Having a clear understanding of the needs of each team (marketing, sales and accounting) and how they intersect will allow you to narrow down your platform choices.
• Software Capabilities: Break down key enterprise marketing components — brand guidelines, templates, media channels, workflows, reporting, ESPs and budget management. These are just a few functionalities; focus on your brand’s needs. Make sure the software integrates with your current stack.
• User Case Stories: Define the most important goals and create user case stories. User case stories identify the benefits and limitations of automation software for specific components. This makes for more productive planning sessions and allows for last-minute functionality updates.
• Create A Prototype: Design a prototype of a marketing automation platform before moving forward with deployment or coding. Testing a prototype shows users how the platform works, allows users to provide feedback for improved UX and shows the flexibility of your potential technology partner. Often, software firms (especially SaaS providers) require you to work within their default UI/UX. Test multiple automation technologies to avoid a failed software adoption.
• Support: Marketing automation can be technical and challenging for small and large enterprises. Look for a provider that has a knowledgeable team, training materials and personalized customer service.
Providing your team with a seamless transition and positive user experience will be integral for the successful integration of marketing automation.
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