By: Kim (Weisensee) Brown | Originally posted on April 14, 2016 on Acxiom Perspectives Blog
Last year, we bought an old condo near Chicago’s lakefront. Perfect location, ideal size, great bones. It just needed a good remodel. Thankfully, we’re overly practical and did some investigating before buying all our shiny new tiles and fixtures. The electrical lines were 100 years old, pipes needed to be updated, and the original wood windows were rotting out from neglect. It pushed our timeline and budget back about a year, but taking the time to find and update these critical improvements first saved us from creating a pretty but poorly functioning home. What good is a kitchen full of fancy new appliances if your electrical panel can’t handle the load?
We’re constantly hearing that the biggest challenges facing marketers today is measuring ROI from digital and how to find and reduce waste. I respectfully disagree. Marketers’ biggest challenge today is a marketplace exploding with literally thousands of potential solutions, and folks don’t know what they really need or are adding new technology onto old infrastructure, limiting its effectiveness.
It seems like everyone wants to find the newest and best partners to “remodel” their marketing. And you should; there are so many great options to chose from. But before you start any updates, first do an inspection and assessment of your marketing infrastructure. We know it seems nearly impossible to find the time or the resources. But this is too important, and the stakes are too high. Find out what you have, how it’s working and if it needs to be fixed. Then you can confidently go shopping in the big landscape of marketing technology, and find those incredible and modern upgrades.
Here is a quick checklist to help get you started:
- Enlist the help of an expert: Before you start digging around your house, consult with an expert to either do the work for you or advise on what you should look for. There is a lot of innocent clutter that appears to be important. There are also very important details only an expert eye can see. Go into the inspection with a good check-list to ensure focus, confidence, and best use of money and time.
- Check your foundation: The foundation is your customers – it’s what your business is built on to ensure stability and long-term existence. How do you know your customers? Who are they? Have they changed over the years? Are you saving the data they provide you via purchase, engagement or direct communication? Is it both secure as well as organized for analysis?
- Map your pipes: It doesn’t do much good to have a hot water heater if your bathroom shower doesn’t connect to it, or if some pipes are still made of lead. Know your pipes. Where are they? What are they connected to? What are they made of? How many sources and destinations? Any breaks, potential cracks, or outdated materials? Just map it (all of it) and flag areas that need deeper inspection.
- Connect your pipes (the right way): You have your map with issues flagged. Now do the work. Plumbing is expensive, tedious and oh-so-not-sexy. Put in the time, do it right. Fix the breaks or dead-ends, remove pipes no longer relevant, and invest in areas that will see increased use and capacity needs. Your plumbing can then handle the day-to-day and extra-ordinary functions effortlessly. And – most importantly – you can go about your business confidently, knowing there is proper flow, no leaks and contaminant-free.
- Make sure the electric meter works: In a home, the electric meter measures energy used. For marketing, make sure your ‘meter’ is pulling in the right sources and converting all the key performance indicators (KPIs) into the main ROI metric. Are the dollars being spent measurable? Is the data being pulled into the larger system? Is the website, call center, store, POS system actually collecting the right data for measurement? Can your read the meter and optimize campaigns in real-time, or are you waiting for the end of the month?
- Re-evaluate the floorplan: What worked in other decades when the house was built might not work today. Your customers may need more entry points into your home, so do you add doors? Do you have too many walls separating rooms? If so, is the best solution to tear the wall down (bridge e-commerce and in-store marketing programs) or add a door (multi-channel attributable analytics)? Do you have proper storage, so you’re able to retain and organize the data and insights coming in?
Everyone says remodels aren’t fun and never what you expect. If you take the time to understand the state of your infrastructure now, you can make the necessary updates to support your beautiful, new marketing technology well into the future.
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