What comes first? Marketing Strategy or Technology?
Did you know that 50% of SMB owners do not have a marketing plan for 2019, according to a study from Outbound Engine? A marketing plan is the road map or GPS that guides the promotion and growth of a business. Without a marketing plan, businesses face budget problems, loss of customer volume, lack of customer acquisition, and possible closure. Basically, without a marketing plan, your advertising, marketing and promotion efforts are haphazard, ultimately a gamble. Not only are these elements hit-or-miss without a marketing plan, so are your technology choices.
Before choosing the right technology, like software, you need to know your market, determine your target market and choose the right channels and strategies for marketing your business. Additionally, you need a formal system for determining where your leads and customers come from, so you know what is working, and you need to set a marketing budget. Ultimately, your business needs to establish key performance indicators (KPIs) before making a choice in technology or software.
Remember that technology does not fix your business, and it certainly does not fix your marketing woes. However, technology can provide tools that will help you implement your marketing strategy or plan. Before purchasing technology consider the following:
What is your business’s two to five-year goals? Before purchasing technology, you need to keep in mind your future goals. Just because you don’t need certain technologies today, does not mean that you won’t need them tomorrow. It is easier and usually more cost effective to find a single platform or technology that has all the features you need for today…and tomorrow.
Compose a list of things you need versus want, the “nice to have.” For example, you may find that you need marketing automation to track and personalize your leads, but you think it might be nice to have a chat bot available to speak to leads on your website. Evaluate where you are right now in your business to determine if a chat bot makes sense for your business, right now. However, even if it doesn’t make sense today, you may want to make sure it can be implemented relatively easily in the future.
Budget. Do you have the money to spend on technology, right now? If not, when will you? Don’t just go for the cheapest technology because if it does not offer everything you need in a few months or a year, it becomes expensive to transition to a different technology. Also, remember that there is cost to set-up, integrate, and learn new technological tools. Make sure you include those pieces in your budget.
How will the technology help you implement your marketing plan? Technology should not dictate your marketing strategy. Technology should only help you implement your marketing strategy.
If you are evaluating technology to help you implement your marketing strategy, what is the ROI? Remember technology should be an investment that will ultimately help your business gain ROI. If you do not implement technology with the idea that it needs to generate a ROI, it could deplete your resources.
Always remember to review your current marketing processes and people before purchasing technology. Make sure that the technology falls in line with your people and processes. Don’t buy technology to “make it fit.” (We’ve all been there, struggling to fit into those skinny jeans. At the end of the day, we leave those skinny jeans alone and go for what fits.)
Remember that before you consider any new technology, marketing or otherwise, review your marketing strategy and plan. You must assess your marketing strategy, plan, processes and people before you purchase technology. Technology needs to fit your organization, offer ROI, and assist you in the overall implementation of your marketing strategies and objectives.
ProActive Information Management, LLC, can help you with creating marketing plans and strategies, as well as, reviewing various technologies to ensure that they fit your plan, people and processes. Give us a call, today, at 804-897-8347 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
After writing this blog post, I am going to finally admit that it is time to throw out that one pair of skinny of jeans that are in my closet. They just don’t fit.