Technology systems are not a silver bullet: as much as they provide a means to efficiently manage the many moving parts that make up marketing, there’s more to your success recipe. In fact, there are two completely different definitions of “systems” necessary to achieve all that your marketing technology promises.
Systems thinking is as essential to your success as any whiz-bang technology system. Yes, just as much, or more! Thinking systemically is about taking a holistic viewpoint. It’s about connecting the dots between related things, ideas, places, people, etc.
To get the most out of your technology investments, think systemically and start with strategy.
Here are a few tips to get started:
- Systems must align with corporate strategy and roadmaps. Start with C-level priorities and tie marketing technology outcomes to them.
- Know your stakeholder needs and challenges, so you can create pathways for common goals and uses of overlapping data repositories.
- Create synergy in the way data is captured and shared across the organization.
- Develop your data taxonomy – how the data will be organized to generate desired insight and actionability.
- Inventory your current systems, including what data is collected where, why, and how is it used
- Determine what systems work with or rely on data from other systems.
Success requires collaboration with your colleagues in IT, Sales, Support, Finance and Legal (and that’s just for starters). Together, you need to dig deep into your organization’s technology silos.
The goal is to create company-wide insights on what information is collected and why, who uses it for what, and how will it be shared. By considering how this knowledge is used you can create a technology system where common data needs can easily be shared and leveraged across multiple organizational groups.
When integrated thoughtfully, marketing technology can empower the marketing organization to work like a well-oiled machine. Imagine having the ability to realize the elusive vision of closed-loop marketing:
- Standardize work flows
- Improve productivity by automating most manual tasks
- Unify data across your entire technology ecosystem
- Equip regional partners with content that supports both local and corporate needs
- Reinforce business intelligence and fact-based decision-making
- Provide insight to align Marketing and Sales efforts
- Enable agility to quickly respond to market and customer opportunities
- Measure investment value in Marketing programs, initiatives, portfolios and customer lifetime value
- Leverage in-depth data on customers, lifecycles and cost of ownership
Done well, the effort yields impressive rewards. Re-engineering your Sales and Marketing technology systems with a holistic view lays the foundation for new levels of marketing accountability, alignment and agility.
CMOs who take the systems thinking reigns are in a strong position to guide strategic direction and demonstrably impact enterprise growth. Carpe diem, fellow CMOs. This is one opportunity you – and your company – can’t afford to miss.
This is second of a 2-part article: see Span Marketing System Silos to Create Competitive Advantage.
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