Why Agile Marketing Teams Think Ahead and Open… [April 10, 2015]
By David Mennie
As all those who work in marketing are aware, it is no longer solely a business discipline. Marketers need to be both business savvy and technologically adept. The rise of the technical marketer is the new reality. There are almost 2000 marketing technology companies in operation today, double that of last year. The rate of change in digital marketing is phenomenal and as such marketers are under pressure to both stay on top of these changes and make wise decisions about the technologies in which they invest their hard-pressed budgets.
Marketing teams are faced with two distinct options when navigating the increasingly complicated technology landscape in their mission to become truly insight-driven and customer-focused. The first option is to invest in a proprietary ‘marketing cloud’. Marketing clouds are a suite of marketing tools comprised of a number of technologies that promise to provide an integrated solution and cut the hassle of individual IT procurement processes. This may seem to be the answer for marketing teams that are already stretched and struggling to stay ahead of the tech curve.
The problem is that marketing cloud solutions offered by large vendors are closed. Often these vendors have acquired specific technology companies and their products, integrated them into their marketing cloud and then offered them back to the customer. The products acquired might be more effective than others and may not be well aligned with the other tools in the suite and, more often than not, will have different architectures. True integration between the technologies may take years and while vendors are spending time and effort doing this, their customers are not able to take advantage of newer or “best of breed” technologies.
Companies that invest in marketing clouds are held to the vendor’s roadmap and become committed to the systems that the vendor chooses to integrate. This approach doesn’t allow for agility within organisations, as teams are made to fit their working practices around the technology, when really the technology should be working for them.
Another option for marketing teams is to find a way to leverage their current marketing tools in a better way. Open Marketing is based on the fundamentals of open source software, allowing for custom integrations with existing systems. The tools being used are the same ones a team will already be familiar with, but with the added advantage of a common view of their customers across all marketing technologies. Also, by integrating the technologies, customer data created by each can be put to use and intelligent decisions can be made based on it.
Stretching the Budget
For most organisations, closed marketing clouds require starting from scratch with a whole suite of new technologies. Couple this with the time and costs associated with re-training the department on the new technology and they become a very expensive solution.
Open marketing enables companies to unlock data and add value immediately. Marketing teams can add new technologies or replace legacy ones whenever they choose or have the budget available to do so without the up-front costs of having to buy a whole costly suite all at once.
Moving with the Times
With marketing technology evolving at a rapid pace, the ‘best’ solutions are always being overtaken by newer, more efficient market entrants. Marketers invariably will want to update and change the tools they are using to take advantage of new innovations that the market has to offer.
Open Marketing does not restrict the technology that marketers can select, they are free to switch in and integrate new technologies as they begin to use them. They are also free to test new technologies more easily.
This approach allows marketing teams to not just keep up with the pace of digital marketing but to also look ahead to the technologies of the future. As the Internet of Things, location aware and wearable technology move into the mainstream, marketers must be prepared for how they will develop. By taking an Open Marketing approach marketers will not be held back.