Why marketing operations technology isn't the final solution

MarketSphere

MarketSphere looks to bridge the gap between IT and marketing. The company provides a specialised set of skills around understanding the application of technology to all aspects of the marketing function, including team, process, technology and results-driven tasks. MarketSphere has consulted for 20 of the US’s top 80 advertisers using its Control the Chaos methodology.

What if you bought a new car but never did any preventative maintenance? You skip the oil changes, never rotate or replace the tyres, ignore mysterious noises when they pop up and lend it to people who don’t know how to drive. It’s hard to imagine that car lasting as long as one that’s well maintained and taken care of. The same can be said for your Marketing Operations (MO) technology investment.

When you decided to take the plunge into an MO solution, you got your organisation on board with the investment. You determined your needs, selected an MO software provider, went through the implementation, worked with employees on change management and had a successful launch. Now’s the time to sit back, relax and enjoy the fruits of your labour, right? Well, yes – and no.

One of the probable reasons you decided to invest in MO software was to help you keep up with the changing marketplace and customer demands. You may have even replaced a legacy system that was no longer useful, but at the time of its launch more than fit the bill. While not every software has an infinite life expectancy, the goal is to get as much value out of the system for as long as possible. That involves ongoing maintenance – not only of the software itself, but of your people, processes and results.

While the ‘heavy lifting’ of the MO implementation may be complete, a continued focus on your people, processes and results is needed to ensure that the solution continues to work properly and meets your changing needs. After all, you want to maximise the impact of an investment that required quite a bit of time and effort (and budget).

To do this, we broke down what factors you should continue to focus on after your MO software implementation to ensure a long, happy and successful relationship with your MO solution:

People

Hopefully, you focused on change management throughout the MO implementation process and you probably had some extensive training before the launch. While those steps were critical as part of the implementation, it’s also important to offer ongoing training as part of your change management strategy to ensure your team is fully using all the MO software’s capabilities. In addition, offer a strong system of user support, so that any issues or challenges are resolved quickly and don't become a barrier to usage.

Also perform frequent checks to ensure user adoption is high. There’s always the chance that the ‘doing things the way we’ve always done them’ mindset may creep back in, and you want to address it head-on before it derails the effectiveness of the solution.

As the MO technology is adopted and used, you may also need to go back and review organisational alignment, roles and responsibilities again. You may find that some additional refinement is needed to ensure your team is being used efficiently and effectively now that the system is in place. Continue to do periodic check-ups on all these fronts to ensure the MO system continues to meet your team’s changing needs.

Processes

Just like the alignment of your people may be in order after implementation, the same is true for your processes. You will hopefully find many of your processes become streamlined with your MO technology. You may even find that some can be eliminated because the solution handles it for you (for example, streamlining or eliminating steps in approval processes or ensuring digital assets such as images and copy are used correctly). The technology can also help streamline compliance oversight, reporting and analysis. Again, it’s important to periodically revisit how these processes are working with your new technology to ensure that they continue to be effective.

Results

With any new implementation, there’s bound to be a bug here or there that needs resolving. Make sure you have a strong issue resolution procedure in place for your team to report issues and ensure they are resolved in a timely manner before they become major headaches or a barrier to usage. Also, additional software enhancements and upgrades will be available. It’s important to make sure these are all tracked and implemented quickly so that you can continue to ensure your MO software works effectively. There should be an administrator overseeing the updates, issue resolutions and enhancements, as well as maintenance and best practice usage.

While it’s tempting just to sit back and let the MO technology take over once it’s implemented, an ongoing focus and feedback loop for your people, processes and results is critical to ensuring the MO solution continues to meet your organisation’s needs for years to come. That helps you focus on what’s ahead on the open road, instead of on what’s taking you there.

Tags: managing technology, CMO/CIO relationship. data-driven marketing

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