Marketing Technology: What – or Who – Is Really Creating Value?

Sep 23, 2014

Jay Brokamp

It wouldn’t surprise anyone if I said technology plays a big role in our daily lives. We spend most of our days staring at a screen of some sort, whether it’s in our office, on a bus, train or airplane, walking down the sidewalk, or just sitting on the couch. And as we become more comfortable with technology, we’ve placed more of our responsibilities in the hands of technology. This is as true of people as it is business.JayBlog_9-23-14_NoWords

And that’s a problem.

What may surprise some people would be to hear the CEO of a technology company advocating for more “people power” (for lack of a better phrase) when it comes to business execution. And that’s exactly what I’m doing. Let me use an example that’s near and dear to me in marketing automation technology. There’s a stigma attached to that word “automation” where people assume you can just “set it and forget it”…the technology will do the work for you. It will, to an extent. But with marketing automation and a lot of other SaaS programs, people are what make the technology work.

You can have the best technology in the world, but it means nothing without the right people. Going one step further, the right people have to be working at both ends of the technology: on your end and the vendor’s end. In order to really create value through technology, you need to keep the following in mind:

On The Business’s End
Don’t let technology and automation replace initiative. It’s still up to your employees to ideate and conceptualize. Specifically, marketing automation enhances marketing processes; it doesn’t execute initiative. At a higher level, someone has to own that execution and manage the talent responsible for it; give it direction. Too often, businesses lose sight of this human element, especially in the excitement of the implementation phase of a new automation platform.

On The Vendor’s End
The vendor needs to deliver value beyond just the primary SaaS platform. The vendor representatives you work with should understand marketing principles, your goals, and of course their technology. If they do that, they can deliver a better solution built to meet your needs. This will increase and improve usage within your organization of the solution and drive adoption – relevance will generate value, just as it almost always does.

Technology is a great resource, but it’s not the best resource. At the end of the day, business success ultimately comes down to what it always has: the talent you surround yourself with. A quote from a recent Forbes article by John Ellett says it best: “It is a fast changing world indeed and virtually impossible to know it all. So hiring resources, either internal or external advisors, who are dedicated to understanding the technologies needed to execute your marketing strategies and build better customer experiences is a prudent investment to make.”

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Tags: marketing leadership, marketing technology, marketing technology vendors, marketing technologist, marketing talent, local marketing automation

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