IMV15 Panel: Master Marketing Technology in Service to Customers
Technology should empower the marketing organization to better serve customers, but many times, we find that the organization is mastered by the technology. Decisions are made not because they are good for the customer, but because they are possible in the existing tools.
Getting out in front of this potential rut was the focus of a great discussion I was humbled to join for the closing session of IMV 2015, a virtual conference put on by Target Marketing earlier this month. (Free access to the archive is available with registration through September 2015.)
The key, I said in the session, is to think of technology as being less about pure systems and more about PEOPLE. Technology is about utility and purpose -- and that has to factor in the needs and abilities of the people who use it, the people who are reached by it, the people who are interacting with it. Really, technology is only there to enable marketing at a personal level.
Most marketers do not have a technology problem. They have more technology than they can use well. Instead, most of us have a training, integration, process, poorly aligned strategy, competing goals problem. Automation of a bad strategy only gets you to the FAIL faster, and does nothing to improve your customer experience or level of connection.
Moderator Thorin McGee, editor-in-chief of Target Marketing, said it well in his intro, "Technology is essential to modern marketing, but gaining control of it is something many marketers have not yet mastered. The question is how to take advantage of technology without having it take over your marketing world?"
In evaluating a new technology, it's important to consider both the utility of the existing stack and investments, in addition to the future objectives, said fellow panelist Adam Bravo, executive director of loyalty marketing for MGM International. "Ask if your business has the capacity to adopt a new technology, and if your organization has the capacity to change what you are doing," he recommends.