Why you should stop buying technology and start investing in solutions
Living in today’s marketing world is a challenge. What will catch, and hold, a consumer’s attention changes daily. For that reason, marketing leaders are turning to technology to help them create new content faster and measure results with greater accuracy. The problem is that with the rapidly growing number of marketing technologies available, people all too often buy what’s new or cheap for a quick fix. If you want to get a positive ROI, you have to stop looking at it as buying technology and instead invest in a solution.
This is probably a stretch, but let’s pretend you are a marketer considering a Marketing Asset Management platform. You have researched products online, spoken to colleagues and developed a set of requirements. You are on the road to making a well-informed decision. Whether you approach the decision as buying a technology or investing in a solution will greatly change your buying journey though.
Let’s look at the first path – buying technology. In most cases, buying technology is as simple as listing a set of need-to-haves, some nice-to-haves, and some I-would-love-it-if-it-could-haves. You then set out to find the lowest cost technology that will deliver the greatest number of your must-have requirements. With a Marketing Asset Management platform, the must-haves probably include web-to-print capabilities, while nice-to-haves include things like email marketing. Help with launching the platform or driving long-term adoption probably don’t even make the list. This approach works when you’re buying word processing software. We are all deeply familiar with how it works and it doesn’t really change much from industry to industry. Marketing technology is slightly different though…
Now let’s look at the path to investing in a solution. The word solution is thrown around a lot. In this context it can be defined as “products or services designed to meet a particular need”. I think the key word here is “DESIGNED”. With this in mind, there are three key things that really make a solution different than a piece of software:
- It is configured to match your business.
- It continues to evolve with you.
- It involves a partnership with the provider.
Exploring each of these:
#1 – It is configured to match your business. A solution is not one size fits all – from either the buyer or the provider’s perspective. Unlike a word processing software, the way you use marketing technology can vary pretty drastically based on your business. The technology component of a solution should be configurable or customizable to match your organization. A good solution provider will request to go through an extensive discovery process during the sales process. You should expect them to fully understand your use case and be able to articulate how the value proposition matches your long term goals. In the case of a Marketing Asset Management solution, a good provider will want to know all about how you go to market, who your distributed marketers are, and what is and isn’t working in your program today. They will also be very interested in your future aspirations and vision for your marketing program overall. Which brings us to the next important component of investing in a solution vs. buying a technology.
#2 – It continues to evolve with you. A solution will provide ample opportunity for future growth. Take a look back at that set of requirements that you created earlier on your quest to buy a Marketing Asset Management platform. When you are investing in a solution, you need to not only look at what you need today, but what you will need tomorrow. Email marketing might be on your list of nice-to-haves today, but what about next year? Will it become a must-have? Investing in a solution means future proofing. You have room to grow and expand usage.
#3 – It involves a partnership with the provider. One of the most important components to investing in a solution is recognizing that it is much more than just technology. You need to trust that the people standing behind the technology understand you and your very specific needs. The implementation process should go beyond installing software or getting login credentials. A solution provider will set you up for success and then provide you with best practices and help you drive adoption going forward. Don’t expect them to do all the work for you though, when investing in a solution you should be ready to contribute to the process as well. With a solution there is a two-way partnership.
This is just a start on what to think about when looking at technology vs. a solution. In the end, the rewards – and returns – of investing in a solution will far outweigh the cost of buying a quick-hit technology.
Want more? Download this free guidebook that breaks down the process of launching a marketing asset management platform: Launching a Localized Marketing Initiative Guidebook