Is your marketing plan aligned with your technology?
A technology platform that addresses the needs of clients across multiple channels must take the objectives of your marketing plan into consideration.
While aligning the objectives of marketing and technology makes good business sense, there is often a disconnect between the two processes, says Caroline Grimont, vice president of marketing at Excel Funds Management Inc. in Mississauga, Ont.
Your marketing initiatives could be based on applications that do not mesh with your office technology. Alternatively, your technology might be designed to deliver solutions that are at odds with your marketing plan. For example, your technology might be focused on using social media while your marketing plan targets older clients who are not inclined to using social media.
So, you must have a plan that integrates your marketing goals and technology goals to make your practice more efficient. Here are some tips:
> Identify processes to be automated
“If you don’t map out your requirements and take the time to understand the end goals, you will likely run into big hurdles,” Grimont says.
Take a systematic approach to integrating your marketing platforms such as email, web analytics and web content management.
“Make sure that your marketing automation system fits well with your [client relationship management system],” Grimont says.
“You must understand your audience, how they want to interact with you and the systems you put in place to enhance customer experience.”
Pay special attention to your website design, making sure tools are easy to use and navigation is straightforward.
> Set priorities
A wide range of marketing processes can be automated. They include multichannel marketing, marketing analytics, lead management, mobile marketing, and many others. Prioritize the processes you want to automate and design a plan to do so.
“We have a good understanding of where our audience consumes information,” Grimont says, “and spend a lot of time checking, analyzing, tweaking and testing our processes.”
> Involve all stakeholders
To ensure that the objectives of your marketing plan and your technology are aligned, you must involve all stakeholders, including back-office and front-office personnel as well as those involved in sales, marketing and technology. They must all be aware of the objectives and timelines.
“You have to plan it out, sketch it out,” Grimont says, and make adjustments when necessary to make implementation easier.
> Be aware of challenges
One of your biggest challenges will be the cost of technology. You have to budget according to your plan and make sure you have the resources to put your plan into practice.
The greatest challenge from a marketing standpoint, Grimont says, is “ensuring that checklists are adhered to in terms of branding, compliance, and messaging.”
From the standpoint of technology, the top challenge is “an ongoing process to optimize its use.”
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