Technology Plays a Major Role in Developing and Executing Marketing Efforts
This post was originally published on TheGuardian.com on 2/13/15.
Evaluating the technological needs for a marketing campaign can be difficult, but breaking things down into the following categories can help. To understand how you should break down your marketing to determine your tech budget, we have to understand how our consumers interact. Consumer purchase behaviors have changed dramatically in recent years. From the enablement of Wi-Fi to the prevalence of smartphone devices with user-friendly apps and social media channels, the ways in which we choose, evaluate and buy have changed significantly. In response, marketers must consider the role of technology as they develop and execute their marketing efforts.
No matter how technology evolves, the need to create a strategy and comprehend an audience’s challenges and aspirations are a must.
Certainly, technology is important when creating a marketing plan, but the technology itself is only one piece of the puzzle. Clearly articulating the objectives you want your marketing to achieve will help determine and source the technology you need to bring a marketing plan to life. It may sound like an old record but it’s true: start your plan with a purpose and thoroughly understand your audience.
Once you understand your objectives and audience, the best way to evaluate your technological needs is to break down your marketing activity into several categories. Furthermore, using a simple grid like the one below will help you decide on your campaign scope, marketing approach, and budget.
Breaking down your efforts into “big v small” and “traditional v new” can help determine and source technologies at a strategic level. Once a high-level assessment is complete, it leads to the next level of discussions with IT, business units, stakeholders and vendors in order to determine the technology budget and plans to execute the marketing campaign.
Let’s look at each approach individually.
1. Traditional marketing with a big campaign scope
Common examples of this category are product launches for business-to-business (B2B) campaigns or holiday pushes for business-to-consumer (B2C) campaigns.
A launch or brand team is typically in charge of major campaigns and should have the budget to cover various marketing channels. The team will be responsible for business goals, campaign themes, new creative, product messaging and positioning. Once the integrated campaign plan is approved, technology requirements will be worked out through regular launch meetings and discussions. Case studies: #LidlSurprises campaign and Target’s holiday plan
2. Traditional marketing with a small campaign scope
Traditional and small campaigns are usually recurring, have small budgets and make use of existing creative, processes and tools. Email campaigns are a great example.
They can promote a brand’s various offerings to encourage purchases or content downloads. Email or direct marketing runs on a timely basis with established technologies. Occasionally, the tech involved needs to be updated or new tools need to be integrated to connect with other marketing functions or enhance data analytics capabilities.
Case study: The content-rich Brain Pickings’ newsletter
3. New marketing with a big campaign scope
While the “traditional and big” example is marketing-driven, the “new and big” model is technology-driven.
One example is Tesco Homeplus’ virtual subway stores in South Korea. The company brought the store to commuters by creating a virtual store in subway train stations. Customers could use their smartphones to shop while waiting for trains.
The technologies required to execute this campaign are huge:
- the design of the virtual store;
- user-experience work on the mobile app;
- scanning, photo-taking and digital integration with Tesco’s inventory, ordering and fulfillment system.
In addition, the Tesco team has to make sure the app worked for key mobile operating systems. This initiative started with the business objective of creating a virtual store. That objective led to big budget and resource allocations to tackle massive technical challenges and propel cross-department commitment and collaboration. Attempting a project like this requires marketers to explore, pilot and test technologies they are not familiar with. In this situation, technology takes the lead over marketing.
Case study: The Antarctica Beer Turnstile at Rio Carnival
4. New marketing with a small campaign scope
Like the “new and big” model, the “new and small” setup can also come from an idea, albeit one with a much smaller scope.
It may or may not be technology-driven. It can be as simple as a fun activity used to engage with your customers.
One great example was when Ikea in Singapore partnered with a local animal shelter to raise awareness about dog adoption.
After taking professional photos of these shelter dogs, cutout boards were placed in Ikea showrooms so that customers could visualize the dog in a warm and welcome environment. Interested customers could scan QR codes that would open the shelter’s website and display the dog’s name, bio, and a short video. Creative, but not expensive, the idea helped drive awareness of animal rescue efforts and shelter dog adoption. It was such a great success that an Ikea store in Tempe, Arizona adopted the campaign to became the first US store to feature shelter pets.
Case studies: Yotel’s interactive Lego wall
Once you break down your marketing efforts into these categories, you can easily drive the next-level technology discussion with relevant stakeholders and vendors.