3 Best Practices to Ensure the Success of Your Digital Marketing Platform

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Congratulations! You secured the budget and developed a fantastic vision for the promise of digital marketing technology to deliver dynamic, personalized experiences for your customers and prospects. You also sold that vision to leadership, and you’re in the throes of creating your project plan and roadmap. 

The path is now clear: Just pick a technology and follow the roadmap…right? 

It may not be that easy. When advising how to answer this question—Tony Martin of DSM, one of our clients—likes to refer to “The Goonies” movie. It dramatizes the fact that while you can follow the treasure map, it doesn’t always reveal the booby traps that are hidden everywhere! 

In our experiences of supporting clients who are transforming their marketing operations through digital technologies, there are three main areas that can impact the path to nirvana. Here are three best practices to help you navigate the booby traps and find that treasure: 

Best Practice #1 - Identify ALL organizational stakeholders and their specific needs and capabilities
Digital marketing technology can be the great connector across organizations, providing a seamless experience to customers and the constituents who need to reach them. However, most organizations have been set up according to business functions, not to provide a cohesive experience for customers.  That makes it critical to connect with all stakeholders across marketing, sales, analytics, finance, customer service and more—they all have varying degrees of need and sophistication. Acknowledging the needs, capabilities, and roles of these teams is crucial to creating a roadmap and a project plan that will gain support and mitigate risk. 

A strong relationship with your IT team is also critical to ensure that systems are capable of interoperability and connecting to systems like CRM as well as legacy data sources to ensure data compliance (GDPR) and accessibility. Another important consideration is alignment across customer service and sales teams. This allows you to prioritize integration activities and become informed on the system requirements. 

Many marketers want to charge full steam ahead. However, we recommend investing the time to conduct a thorough stakeholder and tech assessment as the first step to creating a roadmap for success and a platform that scales.   

Best Practice #2 - Create a 3-5 year roadmap before selecting your technology platform
Once you understand your organization’s digital maturity and the needs of your stakeholders, it’s important to create a roadmap that takes your future state into consideration. The roadmap should also allow you to build out your marketing platform incrementally—based on the technical realities as well as defining quick wins that allow for a steady, manageable evolution. 

The roadmap will also provide the clarity of what should and can be done. It helps you create a decision-making framework for selecting the right technology partner. Remember to let your business goals define your technology; never let your technology drive your business goals. 

Also keep in mind that technology changes constantly. Within five years, many technologies that seem right today, will look very different. Make sure the roadmap of your platform partner complements your roadmap before you commit. 

Best Practice #3 - Establish a solid data foundation
While this is #3 on the list, it is often the biggest booby trap of all. The data required to provide a truly personalized, accountable experience—and to effectively track and optimize results—sits everywhere across your IT infrastructure. 

These data sets are most often stored in silos, with some sitting in legacy systems that weren’t built for the dynamic exchange needed to ensure relevant, timely actions and modern compliance. Isolated data sets can also make it difficult to generate a true picture of performance. 

It’s best to determine the one source of truth for your data. Then, organize your data strategy around that source. 

Discover Treasures Along the Way
By taking a holistic view of your organization, your vision, and your data, you will gain the perspective you need to lead your organization through the critical transformation to a new digital marketing platform. You may even discover treasures along the way—such as improved collaboration across teams and an invigorated customer orientation across your business.

For more information on how to ensure the success of your digital marketing platform implementation, contact us at www.r2integrated.com/contact.
Mary Gilbert

About the author: Mary Gilbert

As SVP Strategy and Account Services for R2i, Mary leads the combined account services and strategy teams responsible for working with our global clients to define and deliver high value, high performance marketing solutions.