The State of Marketing Technology Solutions
By Clay Stobaugh, EVP & CMO, John Wiley & Sons
Transformation in the IT Operating Model
Just five years ago, there were few marketing technology tools from which to choose and many of them were very light relative to their need. At Wiley, we realized that the tools were necessary but they were being were deployed uniquely by varied business units. At that time, we had not yet developed a consistent marketing technology strategy. Since then, the marketing technology industry has exploded with offerings and matured as witnessed by the ongoing mergers and acquisitions within this space. The needs of our organization also matured. As a result, we initiated a global center of excellence with a dedicated Marketing Technology team that resides within Marketing and works in partnership with our IT team. Meanwhile, the marketing share of the IT budget continued to increase as we deployed new toolsets to support our modern marketing approach. To support this growth and the organization’s needs, we expanded the scope of our IT and Marketing Technology teams so they could help lead our selection process, support our businesses, and work in partnership, to facilitate our joint roadmap so that we can anticipate, prepare and deploy on time, on budget, and with minimum surprises!
The cost and complexity of marketing technology tools continues to increase. It is no longer possible to justify their ownership based on “good to have.” These tools often require specialized skills training, new hires, complex roadmaps, and significant time investments; what I like to call the “hidden costs” of a new solution. Consequently, and justifiably, there is growing importance on proving an ROI on any marketing technology investment. Importantly, the ROI analysis must cover the total cost of ownership and not just the acquisition cost. This higher level of accountability requires our teams to agree on how and where the savings and the increased revenues are generated. This commitment then creates a level of accountability for how the technologists deliver against the plan. Accountability is clear and present in delivering an agreed ROI.
Achieving a Mindset of Measurement
The power of today’s marketing technology is our ability to achieve a mindset of measurement.
The power of today’s marketing technology is our ability to achieve a mindset of measurement
We can measure results, usage, cost, ROI, through-put, retention, volume, and velocity, to name a few. Importantly, we now focus on clear measurable goals with measurement of results against those goals. Having accountability shows value and eliminates any confusion. The ability to deliver clear results is the best way to achieve a mindset of measurement.
Measuring the Project Deadline
We do measure our teams on project deadlines because we have a culture of accountability. Accountability is one of our five core behaviors along with customer focus, collaboration, effective problem solving, and results orientation. Therefore, depending upon our initiative, we rely on continuous improvement, time motion studies, and cost per delivery, to name a few, as ways to measure our ability to deliver faster. Of course, beyond these measurements, we are also tracking that we are delivering better results, more cost effectively.
Necessary Skills to be Successful in the New Marketing Landscape
First, it is critical to never forget that the customer focus is the reason we exist. Our ability to meet their needs and solve their problems leads us to revenue and growth. With the customer, foremost in mind, we then can focus our skills on delivering programs that generate measurable results. Success is easy to understand when there are clear results. So, having the mindset to establish clear objectives and then demonstrate clear results will always work. Again, the word, “accountability” is critical to success. Marketing technology tools require investments and these investments must demonstrate a clear ROI to demonstrate success.
Future Technology Innovation
As I look to the future, I am excited and hopeful that there will continue to be industry changes that make current technology tools easier to deploy, use and measure. The explosive growth of solution offerings in the past several years has created complexity which, in turn, delays our time to market because we have to vet more offerings than ever before, we have to perform more complex ROI analysis, and our implementation times become extended. I do not seek technology innovation which becomes nothing more than ‘bloat-ware’ where features are added to increase perceived value. This is a challenge for many companies who then end-up with me-too product solutions and lose sight of their core value proposition. My desire is for them to solve core needs and to do it better, faster, easier, and cheaper. Too often, I see technology solutions lose sight of their competitive advantage as they add a bolt-on or integrate new acquisitions that are not ready for prime-time. In my crystal ball, I look to a future with easier solution integrations and vendors who become partners by demonstrating clear and demonstrable ROI on their offerings. I also hope to see fewer new technologies in search of a need when the real need is increasing the ROI from our existing tools.
Technology helps me prioritize my life. My key goal still remains the same: delivering best-practices for how to engage with our customers through Omni-channel and always-on marketing. It is complex and it is time consuming but it also delivers more actionable and measurable results than ever before. My life will truly change when attribution analysis becomes attainable in a meaningful and intuitive way. Ultimately, the tools that increase my productivity, solve my pain points and are intuitive to use are the ones central to my existence. All the others? I try to avoid them.