This is the third in a series of four posts that focus on how marketing solutions can help marketing fulfill its role in the organization. In the first post, I outlined the three specific functions for the solutions to fulfill - to drive profitability, to increase productivity, and to be pervasive. The last blog post focused on how a customer intelligence solution needs to drive profitability in order to be effective, and now let’s focus on the productivity aspect. To start things off, I propose this question:
Do my solutions help to drive productivity within my organization?
Productive solutions are really solutions that do three very important things - they simplify processes, they are superior from a feature function perspective, and they help tackle tough day-to-day issues that my organization faces with simple yet intuitive user interfaces. Solutions that do this will enable the individuals inside my organization to be more productive and make better business decisions.
At the end of the day, simple processes free up time. If you ask anyone what they want more of, it’s time to pursue their interests – whether that is at the workplace or away from it. Solutions that are integrated, streamline the steps to an outcome, and give a user the outcome they want in a rapid manner are the solutions that win. Imagine being able to measure daily sentiment across all web channels your organization maintains in a couple clicks, executing a campaign in one mouse click, designing a new report in just a few clicks – nirvana I know.
SAS is continually working to make our solutions simple from a process perspective – because the last thing anyone wants is a solution that is so hard to use that people do just that – they don’t use it. A solution that isn’t adopted over time goes extinct very quickly. A few companies that have simplified their processes using SAS Customer Intelligence solutions include European advertising network Quarter Media, leading US retailer Chico's, and the Italian Olive Oil purveyor Fratelli Carli.
Feature Function Superior.
Being productive requires having feature functions in your software kit that are needed. As much as marketers hate to have to talk feature functions – they are imperative to having a winning solution. I have seen many a deal won or lost based on not being able to provide a feature that an organization considered imperative. For instance, if I can’t export campaign data to Excel from my solution and I do post campaign analysis in Excel – then we have a problem.
We will leave it at this – having the features you need to complete a task (especially an engrained task that cannot be replaced) inside an organization determines whether or not your solution is seen as helping aid productivity. Canadian telco SaskTel and global printing & business services giant Vistaprint were able to become more productive through using new features found in SAS Customer Intelligence solutions.
Tackle the tough Issues.
So what would we define as the “tough issues”? The answer to that question is very dependent on the individual organization. For some organizations, it’s getting quality data prior to marketing campaign execution. For other organizations, it’s integrating marketing strategy and planning tools with campaign execution, optimization, and analysis tools.
The fact of the matter is – customer intelligence solutions must often be able to meet very complex business requirements – and do it with relative ease. A solution that is limited when it comes to tackling these issues will have a very hard time competing. Companies like Bank of America and the Belgian retail titan Colruyt were able to tackle very complex business issues using SAS solutions, thus aiding the productivity of their organizations.
These three aspects are the most impactful ones to consider when evaluating the productivity impact of a customer intelligence solution. A well-chosen solution can help complete the evolution of your marketing department into a strategic driver of profitability for your organization, so the stakes could not be higher. The cost of inaction is even higher as digitally-oriented, social-savvy customers are changing the rules of doing business, so an unproductive marketing department quickly becomes irrelevant. An effective customer intelligence solution enables data-driven decision making that improves productivity and drives profitability.
Next time, let’s look at how the pervasiveness of its impact completes the picture. In the meantime, please share your thoughts with a comment. Thanks for following!