Friday, June 26, 2020

Lessons From Mobile Matters: Balancing the Relationship Between Marketing and IT

“If all your friends jumped off a bridge, would you?” I’m sure we all have heard that one from our parents when we were growing up. A classic line from the parent textbook as they try to teach you why you shouldn’t blindly do what everyone else is doing. Well, this same lesson applies in the world of tech. Technology is constantly changing, and you need to adapt the tech that best serves your company and your customers. Not just using what everyone else is using, and assuming you will get the same results. Scott Brinker, VP of Platform Ecosystem at HubSpot and Editor at chiefmartech.com, talks about the ever-changing nature of technology, especially it’s crossover with marketing and management, on the Mobile Matters Podcast. Here are some the biggest takeaways from what he had to say.

Resist the Temptation of “Shiny Objects”

If you work in marketing or tech, I’m sure there has been at least one time when you have been distracted by a new “shiny object”, AKA the newest piece of technology that just came out (augmented reality, virtual reality, voice recognition, etc). And perhaps your obsession with it has led to you making some questionable decisions…we’ve all been there, don’t worry. It can be really hard to resist instantly adapting the newest technology. One, because it’s cool, and two, because you want to stay ahead of the curve. But, sometimes adopting new technology right away isn’t always necessary, especially if it is not going to better serve your customers.

Scott suggests the tech in your company should be broken down into two categories: fundamental and experimentation. Fundamental tech (AKA what you are using a daily basis like your website, CRM, social media analytics, etc.) should make up 80 percent of your tech stack and the experimental tech (the shiny objects) should be 20 percent. So, this isn’t to say you should stop experimenting and innovating, you always want to be doing that, but don’t get so distracted with what is coming next that you forget about the tech you use on a daily basis.

Marketing and IT Don’t Have to Be Enemies

It’s not a secret that marketing and IT don’t get along. Marketing always wants things done fast, IT always wants to think about scale and long-term management, and neither wants to compromise. I’m not going to come here and say they need to be best friends, but they do need to get along. This is where the concept of a citizen developer comes into play. This is basically someone who is working in a crossover between marketing and technology, and they make things happen. Whether it is building an app, spinning up new software, or finding patterns in a data set. They are out there creating digital experiences, and doing it really well. As technology continues to advance it is changing who can use it, and allowing more and more people to get into a space that was traditionally only for “IT experts”.

Effectively Managing Marketing

If you want a marketing team to be successful, you have to make sure they’re being managed effectively. What does effective management look like? A team that can move fast to keep up with ever-changing customer behavior, implement innovation throughout the team, and isn’t afraid to fail.

One way to do this is implementing agile marketing. Agile marketing is a marketing approach where your marketing team chooses a couple initiatives or projects to pursue and complete in a specific time-span (typically two or three weeks). This strategy keeps the team on track, moving quickly, and eliminates the backlog of implementing new, innovative strategies.

You Don’t Get to Choose Customer’s Journey

Can we all agree to stop trying to control the customer journey? And instead of mapping out their journey through the purchase process can we just make their experience as easy and frictionless as possible. I mean it really doesn’t make sense to have a set map that customers need to follow, especially if they are ready to make a purchase without hitting every touchpoint of the predetermined customer journey. There are so many ways your customers can find your brand these days, and you have to be ready to adapt to their needs in whatever way they find you and in whatever stage of the customer journey they are at. This is going to sound cheesy, but life in unpredictable (2020 has taught us that) so stop trying to map out the customer journey because more often than not it won’t go as planned.

If we can learn anything from Scott it’s that you constantly have to be willing to adapt and innovate. There is new technology entering the market everyday, and while you shouldn’t become distracted by it, you should be thinking about how it will change consumer behavior and how you can react to it. If you want to listen to Scott’s full episode you can find it here.