Sometimes, you just want to throw in the towel. Any number of factors can lead you to start considering swapping out your current martech; technical issues, unclear results, the temptation of shiny new options, cost, you name it …! Yet, as many people would argue, you should not divorce before first going to counselling. Before you start looking for a new martech vendor, there are many issues that can be improved with the help of a qualified third party who can assist in exploring and addressing the true causes of the relationship breakdown between you and your marketing platform.
Here are 3 things you should rule out as the root cause before embarking on the often costly and risky process of changing martech.
If a tool doesn’t perform at the expected level, it is usually for one reason – the data isn’t right. For example, are there some data sources missing? Is the data not available to the user in a form that is easily actionable? Is the data bad quality with gaps, duplicates or formatting issues? The list goes on.
If data is the root cause, there are normally two outcomes. It will either get fixed as part of the new project (which is great but why not just fix it now?) or it won’t get fixed at all and you will end up in a similar situation several months down the line.
To put it another way, the platform is only processing and utilising the data and if what goes in is qualitatively or quantitatively inadequate, it is bound to be reflected in the outcome. People say “garbage in, garbage out”, but I disagree! I can think of two main reasons why this isn’t always the case.
Firstly, a platform like Adobe Campaign has strong data management capability, meaning some of the challenges of the “garbage” data going in, can be addressed (up to a point). Secondly, it’s possible (and frequent) to have quality data that is simply inadequately formatted or aggregated, making it challenging to use. In this case, even though there is an issue with the data, it can still be useful and shouldn’t simply be labelled as ‘garbage’.
Over-simplification of statements such as “garbage in, garbage out” can lead to rash decisions. And when it comes to a Martech platform, dumping it can ultimately just move the problem elsewhere.
‘People say “garbage in, garbage out”, but I disagree!’
There are two angles to this particular point. Firstly, when you use a tool like Adobe Campaign, the “out of the box” features are only the beginning. Going through the initial implementation can be challenging because brands will naturally try to replicate processes and approaches of their previous solutions, whose requirements will inevitably resemble a sort of “wish-list to Santa”. Add the unavoidable out of context initiatives and side-tracks, and the result is an unwieldy solution that frustrates users and doesn’t seem to be aligned with a clear vision or strategy.
This is unfortunately common when you have a flexible platform that will bend to the organic pressures of a business. If you find yourself in this situation, all is not lost. Remember that there’s always time to step back, take stock and regroup. The platform will adapt in time, but for now it probably just does what was asked of it through its default configuration.
‘There’s always time to step back, take stock and regroup’
This is a tough one, but it needs to be looked at. People can often unintentionally be another source of issues and challenges. For example, I once got so frustrated with a functionality that I vented on the tech support person about it, only to realise I was using it incorrectly. Now, while it was not the most user-friendly feature, it was definitely still working as designed. There may also be other times when you realise something you’ve been doing manually (and painstakingly) can be automated somewhere else.
Sometimes tweaking a process can dramatically simplify or streamline the campaign production. So as much as a training refresher could be a wise investment (and cheaper than a platform migration), looking at skills in the context of the wider data, content and campaign creation process is, in my experience, much more effective.
‘Looking at skills in a wider execution context can be very effective.’
There is no denying that technology is imperfect and that changing providers can be a way to address functional limitations. Yet, the narrative around justifying change is rarely an objective reflection of reality. A change of technology might bring hope and a renewed burst of energy, but the result is all too often the same 3 to 5 years cycle of problems being transferred from one platform to another. There is value in accepting that things are not right and in finding a solution without assigning blame.
One thing is sure, the grass always looks greener over the fence but maybe a trim and some fertiliser are all you need – and it is definitely faster than restarting from scratch. So enlist a fresh pair of external and expert eyes, and you may find the solution might simply be a mix of data work, some remedial configuration and a dash of training. Get in touch and see how we can help you solve your martech challenges!