October 6, 2015

Leadership’s Role in Selecting Marketing Software

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Tags: Marketing

This is a guest post from Jordie van Rijn. Jordie is an email marketing consultant and influencer in the world of MarTec and eCRM. He recently launched a new venture called Alfred Knows for finding email validation companies. 

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I recently met with the marketing manager of a retail company. He was brought in to transform the company from old style to digital, as well as introduce a new marketing philosophy. The new digital marketing outlook included operations, new business capacities, and the cultural changes that come with it. It is never easy to introduce those all at the same time, even when everyone knows something needs to change and sees the benefits of the right digital toolset.

Change is tough. In the boardroom, the big picture matters most. But for those on the ground, usability and other day-to-day considerations come into play. The leadership team must strike a delicate balance between these two perspectives when selecting marketing software.

Below are some tips to help you facilitate a successful move from old to new technology.

Bottom-Up Thinking Can Encourage Growth 

In the instance above, a big part of the issue was that much of the marketing machine was not moving smoothly before the marketing manager came onboard. Employees were frustrated by business process bottlenecks that resulted in unsynchronized data and a lot of time wasted in manual workflows.

So he simply asked what staff needed to get things done. This bottom-up approach to finding requirements encourages employees. It is empowering to solve the challenges they face and gets everybody on board. In this case, the main problem was a misaligned infrastructure. The marketing technology stack was built on specifications of previous needs. These clearly no longer met the business’ growing requirements.

In any organization, frustration kills enthusiasm, and micromanagement kills inspiration. With the introduction of new perspectives, a business can create the right environment for collaboration and growth. Instead of forcing down a decision, input from bottom up is always a good idea.

Expertise and Mentorship Are Necessary

Having the right tools, people, and resources is the key to a well-oiled marketing machine. Each one, by itself, contributes to the organization only to a certain extent. However, finding the right combination will contribute to creating the right environment for growth. And this is where the big picture from management is very important.

I’m often amazed at the disinterest that companies show when it comes to production aided by technology such as email marketing and marketing automation software. Some companies relegate these important platforms for use by inexperienced personnel or interns. Without proper expertise – or at least coaching and mentoring from experts who have already met with success – resources are wasted on mediocre efforts.

It is not just the tools that are important, it is the people and the resources. Many companies say that digital marketing is very important, yet fail to show it in terms of freeing up resources and making it a priority. Don’t be one of those companies — invest in the skills necessary to ensure your technology provides a return on marketing investment

A Vendor with Industry Expertise Is Important

Finding the right platform and infrastructure is also key to creating an environment for growth. A good marketing email platform can foster the right environment for sales and retention opportunities.

Email marketing vendors are accommodating their target market better. Your needs are more likely to be catered to if the vendor’s portfolio includes similar companies to your own. When evaluating a platform’s functionality, don’t forget to see if they have an industry focus. A function (like segmentation or reporting for instance) built for casual use isn’t the same as for intensive use.

I like to keep a close eye on what vendors have on their roadmap to release, in order to see how they will sync with the latest industry trends. For instance, GetResponse recently launched a send-time optimization function, which some third-party companies already offer.

At first glance, it might seem like a feature that doesn’t address main business challenges. However, their data shows an increase in open rates of 23 percent on average, which presents a very attractive proposition for SMBs looking to get a better return on their marketing investments.

Developments like these show that vendors are building functionalities useful to their specific audience. The boardroom’s responsibility here is to find a vendor that is on-par with the ambitions of the company — both now and in the future.

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In short, digital transformation does not happen overnight. The retail company I mentioned above has learned this. They aren’t there yet, but by using the strategies above, they have a head start with a management team leading the way. The right technology for your business is already on the market, but every business is different. It pays to research which platform will be the right choice and use the selection process as an opportunity to get everyone onboard.

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