Most marketers view a demo of a software solution and make a decision about what they prefer based on what they see – thinking that is what they get. But the truth is it’s more complicated than it appears. Here are some of the things that you should watch out for when choosing and implementing data-driven marketing technology. These tips will help you avoid the icebergs that will bring your project to a halt or sink it:
Integrating data sources is ALWAYS complicated and costly. Making sure you and the solution provider examine your requirements, data sources and other factors impacting integration of data during the pitching process, will help reduce the risk (though not remove it) of complications in integration causing major issues in your project.
2. Vendor capability
We tend to choose vendors because of the software they provide, but the company that provides the software (or the partner/reseller) can be just as, or more, important. If you are fixed on one software solution, make sure you check out the company that provides it. Are they fast-growing and struggling to resource implementations? Are they expert in your vertical if they are a reseller or partner? If necessary, carry out a two stage selection process for software and then software partner to make sure you are examining the company’s capability and not just the software’s functionality.
3. Internal resources
Most organisations vastly underestimate how much time they need to give to an implementation. This isn’t something that someone can do alongside their day job. An external resource from the client side to get the implementation done in a timely manner can be a big help, but even then, you will need to make time for business leads, IT and other resources to be focused on your project. Get solution provider input early on as to what they can/can’t provide and what they expect from you. Most organisations cause major problems in their own projects by not resourcing it properly from their end.
Recognising the range of skills needed to deploy data-driven marketing technology effectively is important to the project’s success. You’ll need business users’ knowhow, IT and then specialist skills such as project management, business analysis, preferably with specialist knowledge in this software space. Generically skilled internal staff are valuable, but recognising the special areas of risk in deploying data-driven technology solutions will enable you to plug the gaps with external resources and this will be needed by all but the largest organisations.
These are the key areas that you should consider in reducing risk in your project. Avoid those icebergs and your project will be smooth sailing.