Buying Technology In Today's Time

  • by , Op-Ed Contributor, February 16, 2016
The world of marketing technology is an analyst’s dream — so crowded, very few can clearly line up who does what or where they cross over.  This chart from Chief Marketer is dizzying to make sense of even for the best of us.  

Why is buying marketing technology so hard?   Are you the decision-maker, influencer or just the one who will inherit the solution others decide on?  

The reality of today is, buyers and budgets are shifting.  Four years ago, Gartner predicted that by 2017, CMOs would be spending more on IT than the CIO. Whether this is already true in your organization or not, it does mean that there are more people who have a stake in IT buying decisions.  

Years ago a major software company ran a huge RFP to replace internal systems. They had internal groups lobbying to build it, had outside influences to bring in a big cloud options, and they checked out all the market leaders. Yet their requirements were spread across 10 departments and turned into a  never-ending 400-line RFP.   Suffice it to say, it was a painful and a very expensive process.    

Another brand completely underestimated the migration costs. The “owner” of that process was a casualty in the end when cost overruns not only blew the budget, but also greatly delayed the implementation cycle.    

No marketing technology decision is sustainable without having a key partner in your technology group vested in the process. If your IT department has full responsibility for marketing technology decisions, you need to ensure you are able to translate the real value of capabilities in user story formats.

Technology and capability tradeoffs often don't always line up.  For example, in the big software company scenario, the IT group wanted to build it, because they felt there they needed to adhere to company technology and platform standards and had a rigid consumer global privacy position to protect. But this decision cut out some more innovative solutions and limited their negotiating value in the process.

Switching technologies is far less risky than it was 10 years ago.   But any change is risky. And the real risk is doing things you know are wrong  and putting limits on yourself.

Rewards are measured in shorter spans. You need 12- to 18-month views for demonstrable value,  regardless of the size of the effort.   You must be able to show where the technology:
-- Streamlines what you are doing today.
-- Offers economies of scale as you grow (adding capabilities won’t kill your budget).
-- Improves what you want to do (and that assumes you can prove it will).
-- Offers price concessions.  Better pricing is one goal, but getting more for what you spend is the end game.

ESP evaluations get a bit more clouded these days, but the fear the industry has been selling is that there is substantial risk to switch due to deliverability and IP reputation issues.

However, if this last concern is paralyzing your thinking, just take advice from a ditch digger: When digging ditches/trenches, you should only worry about depth, not width.    

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