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The top 4 marketing technology myths debunked

Working in marketing technology, we hear a lot of received wisdom and opinions. And to be brutally honest, a good proportion of them are just plain wrong and would hurt the organisations where they were being taken as gospel if we didn’t gently correct some fairly basic assumptions.

So it got us to thinking; shouldn’t we do a post about some of those basic assumptions and see if we can’t set a few more people on the right path before we get to having face to face conversations with them about how badly wrong they’ve got it? Well, here it is. Our top 4 most common marketing technology myths, debunked for all time and for all to read.

Myth 1: Choosing the right platform is the most important success factor

If there’s one question we get asked up front on any technology selection and implementation engagement, it’s “how are you going to help us make sure we pick the right tool/system?” There’s so much emphasis placed on this in the procurement process it’s just unreal. The right technology is just technology that’s fit for the purpose outlined in the accompanying strategy (hint, if you don’t have one, you need one). There may be one, two or even many different right answers when it comes to choosing which bit of kit you eventually go with.

What you buy isn’t half as important as what you do. And what you need to do are hard-core changes to process and often even trickier to people. This needs backing; which is why the most important factor in your succeeding in your next technology implementation has very little to do with technology and everything to do with securing the right executive sponsorship for the project.

Executive sponsorship, along with accurate measurement of your defined success metrics for the project, will give you the ammunition you need to drive deep, lasting change in your organisation. No piece of fancy tech kit in the world can help you with this because it’s all about people, not machines. So, you need to stop worrying about which tool you choose and start working on enlisting the people at the top as allies in your project. Only then will you ensure success.

Myth 2: The right tool will solve all your problems

Leading on from the last point, there’s a reason why we, a leader in marketing technology, always come to technology last in any project. That’s because in and of itself technology doesn’t fix anything. That might seem like a bit of a bold statement from people who spend every day organising it for major brands so they can function more effectively but there it is. Any bit of technology, no matter how clever, has the potential to be rendered utterly useless of not supported by the right people operating within robust, fit-for-purpose process to guide them in best use of it.

Until you’ve aligned your organisation with your proposed new technology, made sure you have people in place who will embrace and lead the change and protected them with processes designed to be guide rails for their well-meant efforts, you’ll not be in a position to succeed at using that technology, let alone fixing any of the related problems you have in the area that you hoped the technology would address.

Myth 3: Legacy systems will all have to be replaced for true transformation to be achieved

After the previous couple of myths, which may have left some of you feeling a touch deflated, we’re onto one that should bring a smile to your face. One of the things that tend to put people off attempting an end-to-end tech transformation of their business to bring it in line with best practice in digital and omnichannel marketing is the “all or nothing” approach a lot of vendors and consultants take to it. The idea that’s often put about, that you need to scrap all your legacy systems and replace them from the ground up simply isn’t true.

One of the most common things we do on projects is to establish stable, two-way bridges between different data silos and legacy platforms and then integrate that existing infrastructure with the new pieces of technology that are required for the transformation to happen. So if someone tells you there’s no way you can keep any of your old stuff before they’ve even taken a look at it, push back.

Myth 4 Automation will automatically improve your marketing

Wouldn’t it be great? But sadly no, not true either. Many brands have jumped too hastily onto the automation bandwagon and have been burned as a result. Why? Because they bought the kit without first having a solid strategy in place to guide its usage.

Any new bit of technology should be implemented as a fit for a strategy that has already been thought out, committed to a document and approved by anyone who might have an opinion that needs to be considered. Too often marketers do what we like to call “buzz chasing” and we’re not talking about substance abuse but rather following the crowd towards the latest and greatest tech trend with little or no idea how it will benefit their brand. Only that everyone else seems to be doing it and therefore they should too.

With automation, this leads to brands automating areas of communication that should actually be handled by a human being and seeming soulless, detached and irrelevant as a result. Marketing automation has a huge amount of hitherto mostly untapped benefits to offer a senior marketer, but as with anything that removes you from direct communication with your customer it must be treated with utmost care and watched more closely than ever to make sure your triggered communications resonate as well as those you craft individually.

There are loads more things you can do with this tech trend and others that we identify in our Epsilon Essentials Guide to Marketing Technology. Get your free copy today and find out everything you really need to know to help your brand succeed.