Change can be scary, both in life and in business. To change often requires hard work and commitment, and most of the time the outcome or results of those efforts are uncertain. In business, technology is constantly driving change. While some industries are quick to embrace that change, others are slow to adapt.
The fast pace of adoption
Many in the insurance, financial services and manufacturing industries, for example, are typically traditionalists when it comes to marketing strategy – that is to say there’s a heavy focus on offline marketing campaigns as opposed to digital or online campaigns. Even still, a 2012 Gartner study found that digital marketing budgets in these industries were becoming competitive with what would be considered early-adopting industries like retail and media. This leaves leaders in insurance, financial services and manufacturing with two choices: let fear of change and technology paralyze their business, or embrace the opportunities they present to keep up with increasing digital spend by competitors.
Content marketing, conversion rate optimization, social media engagement, targeting and personalization, and mobile optimization were listed as marketers’ top five priorities for 2013, according to an Adobe survey, and it could be argued that there is at the very least a strong digital component to each of those priorities. The survey goes on to point out that 84% of respondents say using offline data to optimize online is important, and 85% say using online data to optimize offline is important, illustrating the need for effective integration of online and offline strategies to optimize marketing efforts. Further to the point, as this need for data grows, managing that data in a meaningful way will also become increasingly important, and that will require the use of digital marketing technology.
How to integrate technology
If digital marketing is the way of the future, how do businesses transition from traditional marketing methods to digital marketing execution? As noted in the survey, traditional marketing isn’t going away completely just yet. Direct mail, for example, is still a vital asset that continues to get results. However, technology, like marketing resource management systems, has made it a lot easier to incorporate direct mail campaigns into a comprehensive marketing strategy, one that includes digital elements like landing pages or social media engagement.
That’s the key to making the transition to digital marketing in a manner that feels comfortable to employees and executives alike: Don’t jump in, ease in. There are several ways marketing resource management systems can help you do that:
• Data collection and organization
• Online management of offline campaigns
• Brand management
By simply transferring some of the offline processes your businesses utilizes to an online platform, you’re not changing anyone’s goals or changing the campaign strategies they’re used to using and that may have served them well in the past. As the comfort level increases, more digital elements can be added to the actual marketing strategy beyond mere management, such as incorporating landing pages and social media, like in the example given above.
In order to find a system that works best for them, managers need to first address the following questions:
• Who knows the technology well enough to operate it?
o And how much will it cost to find someone that does?
• Who’s providing the technology?
o And can they be trusted with our data?
• Does this technology having staying power or is it just a trend?
o And how quickly will it become outdated?
• Who do I need buy-in from in my company to effectively use it?
o And how will it impact cross-functional relationships?
Once they have the answers they’re looking for, they can move forward with the implementation and integration of the technology into their marketing plan.
Marketing technology will be a necessity as industries shift from traditional marketing strategies to digital marketing strategies. How companies implement technology is critical in ensuring buy-in from individual employees and executives alike. With marketing resource management systems, companies can make a more comfortable transition from their traditional tendencies to digital dominance.