Data, technology and service vendors circle marketers like clouds of pilot fish, and the clouds are getting thicker by the second. Marketers are forced, consequently, to find space on their schedules, and seats in their departments just to deal with whom to hire, and how to make it all work in a unified way. A study from Yes Lifecycle Marketing finds that marketers are having a hard time doing that.
Thirty-three percent of marketers the firm polled at the 2014 Direct Marketing Annual Conference said building long-term relationships was their main goal for 2015. But the company, which surveyed 250 marketers at the conference, found that most are spending “an astounding amount of time” managing vendors to help synchronize channel strategies.
The Chicago-based database marketing firm said over half of marketers polled use six or more outbound channels to interact and connect with their customers. Twenty-one percent said they use more than 10. And 21% said they spend 15 hours or more every week doing traffic control around communications, technology, and various other marketing services vendors.
Said Michael Fisher, president of Yes Lifecycle Marketing, in the report. “With more and more niche marketing vendors providing channel-specific solutions, it is imperative for marketers to be selective about which vendor, or possibly vendors, they work with.” Otherwise, he said, customers don’t get a “seamless cohesive brand and message experience through each marketing channel, across all facets of the lifecycle stage.”
While nearly three-quarters of those marketers who participated in the survey said they work with six or fewer vendors, a quarter said they have more than seven people in-house sifting vendors and services. "Unified marketing goals and business requirements are at risk with this potential of excessive criteria of needs, preferences, and biases," said the report.
About 40% of respondents said the challenge is in dedicated staff to choose vendors and coordinate their activity. Over a quarter said they needed more budget, and 13% expressed that their multiple technology vendors and service providers do not integrate well. Seventeen percent said they suffer from an absence of technology, 15% said they needed to consolidate vendors, and 12% said they just had too many vendors to coordinate.