Ensure your marketing technology actually delivers on its promise


It’s a recurring nightmare for too many CMOs. An exhaustive evaluation has led to a recommendation to acquire a big name CRM, an industrial-strength CMS  and an incredibly capable, but complex, marketing automation platform. The executive winces at the cost but, swayed by the promise of customer experience miracles and massive increases in efficiency, approves the program and the acquisition proceeds.

Fast-forward 18 months. The first phase of the CRM has gone live, but only the basic modules. There are multiple challenges with the integration of the marketing automation platform and CMS. The marketing team is increasingly frustrated with a system that is delivering a fraction of the capability it promised, the original cost projections were demonstrably inadequate and everyone from the senior executive to the Chairman is becoming impatient.

At this point, there’s enough invested that no-one wants to abandon the project but, at the same time, the executive and board are nervous about further investment. The project slows and festers until, usually, new executive appointments are made and something changes.

It’s the very definition of CMO purgatory.  

There’s a better way.

Marketing technology 2.0 – shifting focus from tech to engagement

Remember when building a website required an army of code cutters? Now, there are sophisticated off-the-shelf website platforms that enable really powerful websites to be built by marketing and UX professionals with minimal technology restraints.

The same kind of advances have now been applied to marketing automation. ‘Off the shelf systems’ now bring together CRM, CMS and marketing automation in a single, integrated package. And while implementing marketing technology still requires insight, skill and time, the purely technical requirement is now at a level that is both predictable and manageable.

Similarly, the approach to acquiring marketing technology has evolved. The tech itself costs very little (usually a scalable subscription). Costs to implement and operate depend partially on in-house capacity and how compelling the  content needs to be.

Further, the way marketing automation is deployed has also evolved. Rather than simply manage the lead conversion process, the new discipline of Inbound Marketing now addresses every stage of the sales funnel - from demand generation to customer onboarding.

This is an important factor as it reshapes the business case for investing in automated lead generation and management. 

That’s all cause for celebration. But there’s a caveat (as always).

While the tech is the enabler, the prime determinant in its effectiveness is how you use it to tell your story.


BTN (Brand True North) – driven communications

Marketing technology is all about mass customisation and the drive to become increasingly customer-centric with each successful connection. This is powerful when the resulting series of connections combine to build a sense of trust between the consumer and brand. When a brand speaks authentically and consistently about its value and values and each communication ladders up to a brand ‘true north’ that adds strength to the overarching customer value proposition, that’s tech-enabled marketing nirvana.

So, by pushing your creative, marketing and sales teams to work their magic within a carefully developed and tested brand True North, organisations can ensure they get a strong return on the increased intimacy of connection enabled by marketing technology.

Great art + great science = great results

Marketing technology can be a force for evil or good. So consider these two priorities when facing a marketing technology review or implementation.

  1. Adopt a second generation tech suite that is the most intuitive for your team to manage. You’ll rarely use all its capability anyway, so most of the shiny bits offered by vendors will never count for much.
  2. Apply the time and money saved on integration to ensure your story is unified, full of integrity and superbly compelling. 

That’s the stairway to heaven when it comes to marketing automation.

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