Just as the promise of technology in marketing is undeniable, so are the challenges many companies face when integrating it with their marketing. In many organizations, marketing teams aren’t reaching their potential in digital marketing, frequently due to technological obstacles, whether internal or external.
Some of the common digital marketing obstacles we see when working with clients are:
Disappointing Customer Experiences
Consumers are increasingly using technology in their daily lives as it becomes faster, cheaper and more ubiquitous. This challenges marketers to meet customers’ high expectations. Over the last few years, user interface design, the level of personalization in everyday interactions and the “smart” device revolution have drastically increased consumer expectations of how they will interact with technology. When your competitors, or even companies like Google and Apple, have a significantly better experience than you do, customers will no longer wait for you to adapt — they simply move on.
Regardless of what you, your team or your IT department is doing to effectively market and retain clients, you will need to meet their expectations. Many IT organizations are especially behind in this regard as they prefer to focus on features and functionality over user experience (UX) and customer experience (CX).
Disjointed Customer Experiences
One of the worst UX sins is surprising your user, according to the Principle of Least Surprise. We’ve all experienced this when purchasing a product on an otherwise modern website is like crossing back to the early 90’s. Or, the site lets you order online, but getting support requires actually calling someone.
When users arbitrarily cross between segments of your digital marketing and receive noticeably different experiences, this is jarring and off-putting. Providing inconsistent experiences and messages during customer interactions causes confusion and frustration.
Another common technological obstacle is fragmented data. Marketers have a wealth of data available to them, but this data is often locked into different silos within their organization or worse, within their vendors. Without a consistent means to combine, reuse and leverage data from these various sources, it is a significant challenge to effectively provide a personalized, relevant experience to users.
E-mail, print, mobile, desktop, social, TV – there are countless ways to reach consumers today. Because of data fragmentation, it’s even more difficult to understand who a person is across multiple channels. With the immense proliferation of engagement channels, there have never been more ways, choices and confusion on how to reach consumers.
Further complicating the situation, these channels have vastly different engagement and measurement characteristics and interfaces.
So how do you transform your technology obstacles into opportunities?
Embrace Digital Marketing
Many companies only dip a toe into the waters of digital marketing or wall it off from the rest of their marketing efforts. Digital experiences are now so woven into daily marketing activities; there really is no true differentiation. It’s time to bring it into the fold!
This also includes the technology behind the marketing. A good marketing department works with IT and ensures it has the expertise to intelligently evaluate IT solutions and propose reasonable compromises. By getting away from an “us versus them” mentality and truly embracing digital marketing, you can be more effective and reduce the internal churn and conflict. Now all that’s left is to decide who owns the budget…
Bring in the Experts
Some companies try to build everything with their internal team. While having experts on staff can certainly help increase project success and reduce costs, your company probably isn’t Amazon, a digital marketing agency or a technology integrator. Seek the help of experts to lead the charge, and make sure to integrate your team so you can support, maintain and expand. Keeping a balance between the extremes of outsourcing everything and doing it all in house allows you to build your own internal expertise without creating stagnation and internal bloat.
Good Enough Beats Perfect
A good thing, which launches on time, is better than the “perfect” solution, which never launches. A problem I’ve witnessed over and over again is the perfectly integrated, infinitely scalable solution that no one really understands and really isn’t used. Keep things simple. Then follow a crawl, walk and run method of continuous improvement to get yourself started, make improvements and eventually get to where you want to be.
Choosing simple to use, integrated solutions will enable quicker adoption within your team versus complex proprietary tools, which have a steep learning curve and features no one will ever use. Furthermore, getting a good solution out there will satisfy customers faster than a long wait for your overly complex mega-solution.
Be Open, Not Closed
Be open! Use open source and open standards. Embrace integration-based solutions versus closed solutions. Open solutions allow for more agile, organic growth and lower costs when integrating with existing systems. Open does not mean that a vendor can’t offer integrated solutions, but the best integrated solutions leverage open standards and can be integrated with third parties.
You know which technology obstacles you need to tackle, but one of the hardest parts about executing your strategy is getting started. Perficient’s upcoming webinar “Overcoming 5 Barriers to Digital Transformation” can help you start transforming these obstacles into opportunities and put you on the best path to Digital Transformation.
Dan is a certified Adobe Digital Marketing Technologist, Architect, and Advisor, having led multiple successful digital marketing programs on the Adobe Experience Cloud. He’s passionate about solving complex problems and building innovative digital marketing solutions.
Dan is a PMC Member of the Apache Sling project, frequent Adobe Beta participant and committer to ACS AEM Commons, allowing a unique insight into the cutting edge of the Adobe Experience Cloud platform.