Avoiding buyer’s remorse with your digital marketing cloud investment

Published: October 7, 2020

Most of us can make out great marketing or customer experience when we see it. We are inundated with marketing messages every waking moment, some of these messages resonate, and we develop an affinity for a brand and incorporate that brand into our lives. Most brands, however, fail that test, and many spew messages across numerous channels that are white noise and go unnoticed.

For most of the last decade, I have been working with large brands to scale their digital marketing efforts leveraging the latest marketing technology. I have seen a clear divide between the digitally strong versus weak organizations resulting in buyer’s delight or buyer’s remorse from their Martech investments. While I could discuss program management, governance, or project implementation challenges, these are smaller problems that may hinder the rate of progress but are not the root cause of failure to achieve expected value from  Martech investment.

From my experience, I can fairly conclude that successful brands are those that not only drive expected ROI from their technology investments but, more importantly, grow stronger as a digital organization. These organizations have three business imperatives in common:

  1. They are led by executives who continually drive business process evolution over project implementation micro-management.
  2. They are data-driven and rely on continual iterations of fresh messages and fresh insights from audience engagement scores.
  3. They are running a digital marketing business, and they understand four key capabilities that they must evolve and operate at scale to drive revenue targets regardless of the technology layers.

While much has been published on items 1 and 2, I will focus on the four key capabilities successful brands evolve and scale that differentiates them from the larger group of mediocre or weak digital brands. These capabilities drive both ROI and Digital Evolution to create a continuous process of customer insights, engaging offers, and optimization of the digital sales and service channels.

As a counterpoint, I have observed numerous large brands step back from their investments in digital marketing automation because they failed to achieve expected ROI. They failed to adapt to an evolved digital operations model, trying instead to operate business as usual on an evolved marketing automation platform. This resulted in paralysis, turf-wars, and blaming the vendor platform for what, in fact, was a lack of organizational agility.

Figure: Digital Content Marketing Maturity Pillars

While these four capabilities appear broad and challenging to implement within an organization with competing priorities and challenges, each of them has evolved to where they are powered by innovative underlying technology capabilities that businesses can adopt reasonably quickly, given the vision and appetite by organizational leadership.

We are seeing significant adoption of marketing technology platforms like Adobe, Salesforce, and competitors. Yet, I see many of these initiatives getting bogged down in program implementation details and ultimately repeat a fairly static content marketing process that is often divided across organizational boundaries and limited campaign strategies. Else I see them as “one and done” initiatives that launch a website, campaign, or initiative and then fail to evolve and become a core business process like sales and service.

I will make the case in the next four articles that each of these capabilities is a core business capability for each enterprise and further that it is best considered as a factory model with local customizations versus a departmental or business unit function within each P&L. By taking a factory approach to these processes you will drive digital evolution as well as improved marketing ROI.

Read the next blog in this series (Part 2: Content Velocity

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