Marketing is nothing like was 5 years ago, let alone 10. The ubiquitous use of the internet, and social media have changed the game forever. Now with so many tech-startups attempting to create the next latest and greatest marketing solution, it is very easy for the modern marketing department to fall into technical chaos trying to implement the right solution. PlazaBridge Group has extensive experience helping clients navigate the byzantine labyrinth of marketing technology, and we offer you a few tips to help you trace the pathway as well.
Know the nomenclature: Understand the differences and similarities between solutions
I have chosen to name this blog post Enterprise Marketing Management Systems (EMMs) for one simple reason, it is broad and all encompassing. When you talk about an enterprise solution you are considering a wide-reaching and integrative solution. I don’t, personally, believe there is one system on the market currently that can seamlessly meet all of the enterprise needs of a modern marketing department. I am sure there are those out there that would challenge that statement. I welcome a demonstration of the one truly holistic solution. Until that day comes you need to understand the different types of marketing solutions available.
Digital Asset Management (DAM) – The management of digital assets. This includes their “ingestion, annotation, cataloguing, storage, retrieval, and distribution.
Media Asset Management- A largely redundant distinction in my opinion, considered to be a subset of DAMs. It focuses on digital photos, videos, animations, and audio.
Marketing Asset Management (MAM) – Also sometimes considered a subset of DAMs, MAMs specifically focuses on the management of branded marketing assets.
Marketing Resource Management (MRM) – Claims to be more than a mere marketing asset management platform. An MRM automates a marketing workflow managing people and processes for “print, digital, social, and mobile mediums.”
Distributed Marketing Management – Is a multi-channel marketing automation platform that claims to house all sales and marketing assets in a centralized location (like an MAM), and organize and improve workflows (like an MRM).
Rise above the chaos: Have an enterprise strategy
It is crucial, especially if you are the marketing department of a large corporation, to take stock of your current technology landscape and ascertain if it actually works. It is often the case that CMOs and VPs of Marketing and Sales are stuck with legacy systems that are a decade old, and processes so old that they papyri they were written on have crumbled to dust. There is a tribal memory in the most senior members of the marketing department that voices the driving imperative: Do it this way, this is how we’ve always done it. The first step that any senior level manager absolutely must take once they come on board, perform an assessment on your department. Be brutally honest. Because, if the technology is not the most efficient for meeting the required marketing outcomes, and your processes are antiquated and resource intensive, then you must take action to correct these gaps in your capabilities.
You must consider the entire enterprise, because everything in a modern company touches. Sales and marketing have always had a close (if not antagonistic) relationship, but now you must consider analytics, the web team, and a myriad of other touch points that don’t readily come to mind. You want to build the core capabilities of your marketing technology solution around a platform, since there is no true holistic system you will want to choose a platform that does several things well. For example you could choose an MRM that streamlines your workflow, or an MAM that allows agencies to deposit raw art files into your repository for storage and editing on the fly. Around this core solution you will then want to consider closely your point solutions, each one must be chosen carefully to add value to the platform and fill a gap in its capabilities instead of adding unnecessary redundancies.
Figure 1: An Enterprise Strategy
Do your homework: Find the right solution to meet your strategic needs
Once you have assessed your department—identifying the legacy programs, marketing technologies, and processes that are not working for you– and established an enterprise strategy on which to build your new solution, it is time to do your homework. It is imperative that you do not skimp on the requirements collecting process. This is where you will interview all potential stakeholders in the introduction of a new platform, listen carefully to their requirements and then roll them up into a complete list. Choose a scoring system so you know which requirements are “required,” “nice to have,” and “added value, but not necessary.” This process may take several weeks to several months depending on the size of the company, and the amount of stakeholders that have been identified.
Once you have your requirements you will want to do your due diligence investigating solutions that are out there. You want to match their features with your requirements document to find the best fits. Often there are options to configure a particular solution to your needs, but you want to avoid heavy customization which has the potential to stick you in the mire of development, and making it inefficient and cost prohibitive to move to a different solution. Once you have selected your short list of platforms, you can begin making contact with the companies and scheduling demonstrations. Any company that cannot demonstrate their software for you should be cast out, something is amiss from the start and you do not need to be part of someone’s beta test.
The demos should provide you with all the information that you need to narrow down your short list. Once you have two or three solutions in mind, you should draft and issue an RFP to the vendors. Be specific with your requirements, use cases, it is important to identify if you want a local solution, SaaS solution, or some other configuration at this point. Be sure to include specific use cases to give a sense to the vendor what type of situations you expect the platform to be able to handle. The RFP will yield your core solution, for the specific point solutions that you may need to fill the gaps in the platform can follow the same steps. Be as thorough with them as you are with the platform, because they are as equally important in an enterprise strategy where nothing is ad hoc or tacked on.
 “7 Things Your CTO Should Know About Distributed Marketing Management Technology.” Saepio Technologies. 2014.
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