One mistake to avoid when moving to a new marketing technology platform


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I often speak to organizations that are considering moving their marketing infrastructure from a proprietary database and marketing platform to an open, relational one.  The reasons most of them are undertaking these initiatives usually center on a few key pain points:

  • The functionality and flexibility provided by the campaign management tool is limiting their ability to execute campaigns.
  • Adding new data elements to the database schema is either very time consuming or not possible at all.
  • There are many patches and “workarounds” that have been put in place and this makes for inefficient  processes and too much time spent reconciling and verifying accuracy of the data.
  • Their internal IT group will no longer support the application or the database processes.

These are all good reasons to move to a new platform.  Engaging with today’s consumer requires the ability to quickly adapt to changing patterns and behaviors.  Proprietary systems can make this challenging and less effective.

So what’s the problem?  It’s usually in the strategy organizations in this situation employ when they begin implementing the new solution.

The biggest mistake I often see these companies make is to try and replicate the current marketing database environment into the new solution.  This is a very big temptation, but one that must be resisted.  Many of the inefficient processes inherent in their current marketing environment have been established specifically because of the limitations of the proprietary platform.  Building these inefficiencies into a new solution does not eliminate them, in fact it can have the opposite effect, making the organization “more efficient at being inefficient”.  This often results in failed implementations, missed deadlines and expensive fixes.

So how do you avoid these pitfalls when considering a new marketing platform?

  • Before you decide on a new platform, take the time to carefully evaluate your overall customer engagement strategy.  Understand how you want to interact with your customers and through what channels.  Determine what you will need to know about your customers and how you will want to measure the success of your efforts.
  • Look at the process of marketing at your organization.  Is the process driving the infrastructure development, or is it the other way around?
  • Get some advice.  Either from your own IT staff, or from an outside expert.  The technology that supports marketing changes rapidly.  Working with an expert can help you find the technology that’s right for your organization.
  • Resist the idea of duplicating your older processes into your new solution.  The more complicated your marketing processes are, the less likely this will result in a successful implementation.

Finally, proprietary systems can work just fine for some organizations.  There are many sophisticated marketers making highly profitable use of these tools.  If your organization finds itself questioning whether your current technology is enabling or inhibiting your marketing efforts, take the time to carefully evaluate your options and plans for implementation.  You will be glad you did.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Michael Burke
Mike has more than 17 years of business development experience in the database and direct marketing industries supporting both B2B and B2C organizations. As a well-regarded thought leader, Mike has published articles in DMNews, Direct Magazine and other industry publications, and has spoken at industry conferences such as NCDM and the Travel Industry Association conference.


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