Marketing is not a static discipline. New trends, new technologies, changing consumer behaviors, and unforeseen world events. Every year seems to bring a new set of rules and a new playing field for marketers to navigate. If there’s one thing we in marketing can count on, it’s that marketing is constantly changing. If you’re not adapting or evolving you could be left behind. I was recently reminded of this by Social Geek podcast host Jack Monson, who advised, “The marketing landscape changes so quickly. If you are set on a particular marketing channel, you could be missing out.”
Here's one example of how our own marketing team here at Vya responded to changing user behavior. We noticed that the online forms we use for content marketing were not generating as many leads as they had previously. So, we began researching factors that might be contributing to this change in performance. We learned that as online forms have proliferated, the fill rate on forms has decreased. Indeed, most people (81%) have abandoned an online form after starting to fill it out (The Manifest, 2018). The insights we uncovered gave us some clues as to what may be impacting our online forms, leading to an understanding of how to adjust.
As you adapt your strategies and tactics to a changing marketing environment, how well are your vendors keeping pace? Often, we invest in technology partners specifically because they are better positioned to help us stay ahead of the curve when it comes to anticipating the latest tech trends and innovations. This is especially true for solutions that involve a significant investment in time and budget to become operational.
Below are some suggestions on how to assess a technology partner’s capacity for and commitment to keeping pace with the ever-changing marketing environment.
Marketing Portal Vendor Attributes to Look For
A marketing professional told me recently that they ended the engagement with their marketing portal provider because the vendor was not regularly updating its system. As a client, this individual kept asking their vendor, “What’s new with your system?” They kept being put off by the vendor, to the point that it became obvious the vendor was not investing in its product development.
When you’re evaluating potential marketing resource management solutions, assess the provider’s commitment and ability to evolve. Here are several attributes to look for in a prospective technology partner:
- Demonstrates robust internal development capabilities. When evaluating a vendor’s development capabilities, ask yourself questions like, “What development resources does the provider have?" Confirm that your vendor has an internal development team with control of the product roadmap to keep pace with the needed updates. Be wary of vendors that are reselling software developed by a third party. Look for evidence of strong development capabilities, such as a regular cadence of new feature releases and software and system updates.
- Cares as much about the end user experience as you do. In marketing resource management, continuous development of the user experience is vital to ensure those on the frontlines of your business remain engaged in using the system. Your investment in a good user experience for marketing portal users proves to frontline users that corporate cares about making their job easier and is committed to their success. A technology partner that is in tune with and proactively addresses UX issues identified by their development team or through user feedback and behavior, is likely one that successfully responds to a changing marketing environment.
- Delivers exceptional service and support. Marketing resource management is not a one-and-done solution. The most successful implementations are those that include a mutual commitment between solution provider and organization to ensure the system is embraced by users and continually adapted to support the organization’s evolving needs and changes in marketing. Having a good working relationship from the start will position the implementation for long-term success. In terms of support and service, having a designated, highly knowledgeable vendor team devoted to your system ensures you are positioned to adapt to innovative approaches and trends.
- Is in constant communication with you as a client regarding product performance and features. Establishing a reliable feedback loop with you is one of the ways a technology provider becomes a trusted partner, one who is aligned with your objectives and anticipates your needs and whatever might happen next in the field of marketing.
Effective marketing organizations continually measure and assess all aspects of their marketing operations to ensure they remain in sync with or ahead of the curve on what works and what doesn’t. The capacity for your marketing technology partner to keep pace with changes in the marketing environment can make the difference in how successful your marketing programs will be.