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Technology: A Positive Enabler For Businesses

by Timothy Bay, - VP-Digital Marketing, Wilton Enterprises July-2018

Challenges in Implementing Technology

From a digital marketing perspective, technology has allowed us to learn more about the consumer than ever before, which enables us to provide a more personalized experience for them. I think the biggest challenge is how to make all of that marketing data work for us. It’s easy to be overwhelmed with the amount of information that we have access to – it’s like trying to drink water from a firehose. Those solutions that make it easy for average business users to leverage the data are the ones that will be most quickly adopted. That could be everything from using information to providing a more personalized experience for the consumer to turning vast amounts of data into actionable insights.

Besides, to overcome challenges and especially integrate data to gain actionable insights, I believe it all starts with an understanding of how the data is going to be used. There’s no sense in collecting data on a customer unless it provides some benefit – for the business or the customer. Also, I’ve found that an iterative approach, “crawl, walk, run”, has been the most successful because trying to fulfill every wish on the organization’s wish list can be daunting and overwhelming for the business owners.

Subsequently, technology makes it easier to take advantage of all of the information we have about our consumers by providing a more personalized, more relevant experience for them. Often there’s too much manual work required of marketers to use the data that we get. The more that technology can do intelligently and automatically, the better chance of success.

However, one of the biggest pain points is having truly flexible solutions that allow us to customize the technology to our needs. There’s still a lot of technology that requires too much investment to take the “out-of-box” solution and make it work for what we specifically want it to do. One thing that keeps me awake at night is how to create a truly nimble organization where we can leverage technology to take advantage of opportunities before our competitors do.

Technological Trends Impacting the Marketplace

Without a doubt, it’s mobile and video. People are consuming an unprecedented amount of video content on social platforms like Facebook and YouTube and they are increasingly doing so via mobile devices. Generation Z (the generation after the Millennials) have grown up watching streaming video on smart-phones. It’s something that they are very comfortable with and that won’t change. When we think about creating content to engage the consumer, it all starts with video. That, of course, presents technology challenges as we have to think about how to most effectively work with, transfer, share, and stream large video files.

While technology is revolutionizing the marketing domain more than ever before, as a marketer, the rise of social networks and the amount of data collected by them has enabled me to reach key consumer segments in ways I couldn’t efficiently before. Companies like Facebook and Google are making it easy for me to market to specific groups based on demographics, psychographics, interests, stage in the conversion funnel, amongst others.

IT’s New Role

I think CRM is a great example of how IT can help transform the organization because it’s such a foundational technology that can be leveraged by so many parts of the business. CRM gives IT an opportunity to gain a deeper understanding on the needs of various business functions within the organization and work with departments like Marketing to determine how data can be used to provide a better experience for the consumer.

Understanding Business Needs

My advice to any CIO is to start by making sure you have a deep understanding of the needs of your business and marketing teams – their strategies, objectives, and pain points. Ask a lot of questions! Technology is such a positive enabler for businesses and those that have a strong working partnership between IT and marketing have such a competitive advantage.