Article

Sylvia Jensen
Sylvia Jensen 5 February 2016
Categories Technology

13 Barriers Slowing Down Your Marketing Technology Deployment

Marketing technology can only be successful when there are no barriers slowing it down. Find out which 13 are hindering your progress and how you can break them.

Every marketer understands the need for marketing technology. Unfortunately marketers are not always technologists and the technologists may not understand the marketing requirement, often leading to conflicted behaviours throughout companies. To avoid this, it’s important to understand the specifics of what can go wrong. Recent research found numerous instances of where the mismatch can cause harm and where martech deployment barriers exist. 

By establishing that these potential mismatches or barriers can occur at any stage, businesses can create a map of where and what problems can occur, as well as be equipped to deal with them.
 
These commonly perceived barriers to deploying martech can be classified under the following general areas.

1. When to deploy 

Most organisations can accept the need to improve their marketing efficiency through the deployment of marketing technology, however the difficulty lies in deciding when they should do this. So many organisations wait until they’re fire fighting, whether it’s because they’re losing ground to the competition or because there’s an obvious problem with outdated technology. A measured, strategic approach before a problem is evident might sound like a luxury, but it really isn’t.

2. Understanding the implications of budget and ROI 

When brand new technology is being deployed across a business, it is understandable that there is often a relative failure to define the implications on budget and ROI. This can remove the certainty that businesses are used to having in their decision making processes. It can often also be the case that deployment overheads are not transparent, leading to issues when attempting to create a clear and compelling business plan. When this is considered alongside the common ‘fear of failure’ factor evident in many organisations, it can become an obvious and significant barrier to deploying new marketing technology.

3. Will your current systems be easily integrated? 

When decisions are being made about marketing technology, it can often be the case that the team driving the project lacks the technological oversight required to understand how the new technology will mesh with existing legacy systems and the implications that this will have on the business. As experience has shown, integration between new technology and legacy systems is more likely to be problematic than not. 

4. Creating a valid and credible specification process

Managing the marketing technology implementation process can be fraught with misunderstandings.This is primarily due to two issues; first marketing teams traditionally do not have extensive experience in specifying technology and lack the degree of understanding that helps ensure incomplete declarations are made at the specification stage. Secondly, when talking about new technology, the teams of any type that are charged with introducing it do not have enough experience of that technology to know what questions should be asked at this early stage of the project.

5. Managing the implementation process

This barrier contains several elements. The first relates to the actual processes surrounding project management. While this is an area that is being increasingly understood, a skills gap still exists. This gap is commonly found between the approach of what might be considered a traditional technical project manager and the skills of a marketing project manager. Between these two approaches there is the perception of a level of disconnect between (a) those defining the user cases or user experience and (b) those likely to be doing the actual implementation.

For example when asking, ‘how long does a configuration take?’ personnel accustomed to dealing with, say, an SAP implementation, will be happy with a system taking a couple of years before it’s running completely. This will be alien to a marketing department whose idea of a project works in months rather than years. 

6. Configuration 

As we mentioned above there is a perception that deployments of marketing technology on a large scale often take a large amount of time - be that months or years - to mature to a level where they provide consistent value for the client. This is particularly true if a team doesn’t fully understand how the technology they are implementing works. 

7. Training overheads and cultural impact 

The impact of new tools on the team can be a difficult thing to understand and to quantify. When deploying new technology, it is essential that new workflows are both created and embedded into a team’s processes. The successful creation and embedding of these new workflows is a vital part of the success of the deployment of new technology. It can also be one of the greatest considerations. These changes, even relatively small can have a profound impact on the team, whether this is in their daily work or around their core roles.

8. Ongoing management

The tools implemented will be technically sophisticated and the end user in the marketing department may need extra support to get the most out of it. The end user might feel alienated by the technology or frustrated by the time it takes, and this is where some sort of intervention can be invaluable – it’s often a matter of mindset rather than actual technical limitation.

9. Ensuring the tool delivers
(a)what it was brought in to do

Ensuring that the tool delivers what it was brought in to do is one of the key factors in deploying new technology. The issues described above can combine to create an atmosphere where organisations will struggle to believe that the technology under consideration will deliver on what is required. In order for the technology to be seen as a success it has to be clear that: 

  • There is a clear understanding of how ROI will be delivered.
  • The specification process is closely aligned with ROI.
  • The implementation process brings together both users and those responsible for implementation in a clearly defined manner.
  • There is a clear understanding of the cultural impact that the tool will have.  

(b)Ensuring the tool delivers what it has the potential to do

Breaking through the ‘belief’ barrier is important. Often in the past, companies have bought tools that didn’t do the job, and whereas technology professionals will often be excited by a new system, marketing personnel can come ready-disillusioned by previous experiences before they’ve even seen the new offering. Getting people to understand the full potential and to make the most of the potential ROI can be a real struggle but one that’s worth working through.

There are also several management considerations that need to be addressed. These perceived and actual barriers can be broken into the four following main categories.

10. Oversight issues. 

Successful implementations have distinct and effective senior champions in businesses where silos have been broken down and people are identified by function rather than title or department. Whether being managed by a single person or by committee, the project management process has to be clearly defined. Relationships between stakeholders and the protocol for communication between these stakeholders also needs to be identified.

11. Technical project management skills. 

As the project passes through various phases it switches from involving end users to technical users and back again repeatedly. Both parts play an equally important role in understanding the technical implications and the implications of user experience of the project and both these areas should be covered in the management team.

12. Overview of information architecture and technical context. 

For any deployment to be successful it is essential to understand the technical aspects of how and where the technology fits into existing legacy systems. In order to understand this the key questions that need to be addressed are:

  • How does the new tech integrate with old data and does this improve insights?
  • Does the new tool present insights in a way that can be consumed by the organisation?
  • Does the new system require a substantially different environment in which to operate?
  • Is the tool scalable?

13. Cultural acceptance. 

How the new technology integrates or reflects with existing workflows is a vital consideration. However it is also important to consider relationship between the use of the technology and the users KPIs to ensure that cultural impact is minimised, poor training management and user experience can cause the best planned projects to fail.
 
If you take one thing away from this post then it’s that the IT and marketing departments need to talk to each other more fluently and comprehensively than ever before. Most of the problems are to do with culture and comprehension, and can be overcome relatively easily with some forethought.

Takeaways

You need to select the right tools and ensure they are implemented correctly.
The organisation needs to be prepared for cultural impacts and even shifts in responsibility.
Projects need the correct oversight from teams who understand the project from the get go and can ask the right questions at set up.
It is more important than ever for marketers to become technologists and for technologists to understand the marketing requirements of projects.
 
Discover more on the barriers that may be preventing your success when it comes to marketing technology deployment by downloading: Digital Doughnut: Transforming Marketing Technology

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