Virge Nielsen, Head of Digital Marketing Solutions, Accent Group
The essence of digital marketing has changed very little over the years,as such it refers to any kind of marketing activity that involves a device or the use of internet: online advertising, email marketing, social media marketing, video content, search engine marketing, pay per click, etc.
Yet, digital marketing is an area that keeps developing at exponential speed. This is due to our ever-rising expectations as customers and those of organisations keen to address them.
Bridget van Kranlingen from IBM once said:
“The last best experience that anyone has anywhere, becomes the minimum expectation for the experience they want everywhere.”
As the expectations of our customers evolve, technology helping to address them develops as well. This means, implementing new digital marketing technologies is job never ‘done’ andit is essential for organisations to develop reliable processes for rolling out new systems again and again.
Clarity of purpose
What are you implementing and why?
In most organisations there is a whole stack of different digital marketing technologies already in place. When considering any new system, it is crucial to understand how it is different from existing ones and what exactly it is intending to achieve.
Before committing, it is well worth while to acquire deeper understanding of its functionality. Having that knowledge inhouse will prove invaluable during the discovery phase for developing purpose-oriented use cases and not trying to solve for problems that the technology is not made for.
Ideas and alignment
Get the right people in the room, start with change here.
Project discovery phase is great for aligning all parties and igniting the change in thinking about processes beyond implementation. You need to involve people who will be using the system and whose work will be influenced by the new setup. Giving everyone a chance to contribute at workshops will cement the foundations of future operations. However, it is important to approach this in a curated fashion and stay well on track.
Good starting formula is to explain the core purpose and functionality of the technology in question, followed by few examples on how it relates to your organisation’s operational specifics. From here it should be clear for participants to see opportunity as it relates to their individual areasand develop a comprehensive set of business use cases.
Prepare and safeguard success
Be certain of what you want to achieve and what is required to achieve it.
At this stage it may be more productive to break the team into smaller groups, each working on specific parts of the project. Although, you need to ensure that the project manager and technical lead/architect are across all streams of work to spot any dependencies or overlaps. Regular sessions regrouping with the wider team will also help with aligning efforts.
It is pivotal to ensure that due diligence is put into the following: evaluating data points, developing technical scope and/or design documents,evaluating possible paths for implementation to confirm the best option, identifying and documenting processes for testing, locking in timelines and resources to avoid compromising the next phase.
Roll out with confidence
Execute what you have prepared for.
If all the prior processes have been carried out with rigour, technical development and implementation may well be the most exciting part of the project. Naturally, there will be some issues surfacing during the development phase but investing into thorough cross examination at the preparation stage should have addressed many of the unknowns.
The more comprehensive your testing processes are during development phase, the higher your chance of success will be with production implementation. Any go-live process is usually stressful by nature with the scale of tension tied directly to the size of impact on business operations. Therefore, whatever strategies can be applied to minimise risk and downtime, they are all worth investing into.
People and practices
Empower the people to do their best.
Technology does not achieve much on its own, it needs people to make decisions, develop rules and utilise its functionality. Therefore, crucial part of implementing any digital marketing technology is training the team and defining the operational dynamics.
Whether your approach will be everyone serving themselves, one central team servicing everyone’s needs or a mix of both, it is important to develop a matrix of competency levels required by roles involved and address the training needs accordingly. Beyond providing initial training, it is important to ensure that everyone has access to continued support and advice on par with their level of expertise to keep developing.
Circle back to ideas
Use your wisdom gained to lift the game.
Once operations are up and initial results flowing in, it is the best time to regroup and revisit the use cases. By this point everyone has a good understanding of the technology and its operations. Therefore, thoughts on optimising established use cases as well as value realisation through further applications should be flowing freely. Form work groups to address these ideas, trying to assign people to topics they feel most passionate about.
Don’t forget to celebrate success!
Not just at the end, but throughout the project.
Pausing to reflect on achievements and acknowledge the contribution can be powerful motivator, keep the team focussed and energised.