This is the last of four articles on the Enterprise Marketing Platform (EMP). In my previous blog, I explained why content management is the heart of the EMP.
I would like to … no, I need to finalize my series of blogs on the Enterprise Marketing platform by reconfirming the statement that Digital Transformation really does need an Enterprise Marketing Platform.
There has been some criticism on the reasoning that marketing is now in the phase where ERP was 20 years ago: a portfolio of unrelated point solutions that could not interact; or which can only operate together by painstakingly converting the output of one solution to the input of another.
The argument against this comparison is that marketing is the most agile of all disciplines, operating in the most disruptive time of all. Working the IT way, with fixed (and apparently slow) processes and methods slows up the business.
Marketing is everywhere
Apart from the fact that we should not mistake a chaotic way of working for agility, the problem with this way of thinking is that marketing is not a matter only for the marketing department. There is not even just a single marketing organization anymore, just as the so-called customer journey doesn’t have the sales department as its final destination. Digital transformation involves the entire organization.
Consider the touch points where an organization and its (prospective) customers meet. Customers can touch any of the disciplines, including sales, support and even finance and IT. So you do need to avoid silos. You do need a single source of truth about your customers, about your products, about your prices. In short, you need a single data source about every piece of information that needs to be shared across your organization.
The Integration Game
More importantly, the different disciplines behind each touchpoint have different requirements for (technology) solutions. At one touchpoint, the way the brand is presented may be the winning argument. At another touchpoint, the quality and intelligence of some set of business rules may make the difference. If you want to be the best at all points where you have customer interaction, you need to think in terms of a platform. That is to say: a firm foundation of data and content systems that can and must be standardized and accessible and usable across the entire organization.
This foundation gives you the single source of truth for your content and for the data about people. On top of this foundation you then have a landscape of disparate point solutions: rapidly emerging, evolving and disappearing applications inside or even outside your organization. Digital Transformation has thus become The Integration Game.
A platform of agility
Another interesting argument I heard: there are so many marketing technology software solutions, the ecosystem is so huge compared to, for instance, financial or manufacturing software, so you should avoid getting stuck in a platform. But should that reasoning not be the other way around? With so many options, combinations, changes and new arrivals, should you not at least have a vision for your marketing technology approach, laid down in a marketing technology architecture, and translated into a marketing platform?
If marketing is that multi-facetted, shouldn’t you have the vision of what is really important, and the agility to change it if your priorities change? This is what agile development was invented for: to allow rapid product development, to be able to react to changes in requirements as well as in the outside world.
These changes are so breathtakingly numerous, don’t you need a guide, some principles that help you decide when to respond and what to ignore? And, who said that proper a priori design and agile development are at odds in the first place? I guess nobody.
Thinking in terms of an architecture helps you decide which (technical) problems you need to solve first when your priorities change because of some disruption. That, I think, is true agility. Like the old paradox goes: you need to have a plan, otherwise you don’t know what to do if the plan changes.
No matter where you are in your EMP implementation—from planning to optimization—Tahzoo can help you make the most of your investment. Contact us for a free EMP assessment today.