Back when I was in IT, my biggest fear was implementing a solution that no one liked – or worse, didn’t end up using. Being at a startup tech company, my IT budget was miniscule. This meant that aligning with other “well-funded” departments in my company, such as the marketing team, was always a challenge.
If I’d had an unlimited budget, I would have always implemented complete turnkey solutions (for those not in IT, these are “off the shelf” ready to go solutions), with one thousand professional services hours, plus 24/7 live support. I wouldn’t have worried about learning the solution or onboarding my users – crazy, I know…but everybody has to dream. But the reality is, I had very little budget/support to work with, and had to choose solutions very carefully to avoid the risk of “shelfware” – who wants to implement technology that never gets used?
So after years of being forged in the fire of small budgets and high risks, my hardened IT team came up with several guidelines for finding the technology solutions that marketers love. If you like what you’ve read, can find our more detailed (and way cooler looking) guide, IT Best Practices: Finding the Right Marketing Solution.
Step 1: Fact Finding – What’s Your Marketing Team Looking For?
The first step is to simply communicate and ask questions. Find out what objectives your marketing team is trying to accomplish with the new technology, and find out what their pain points are. Understanding marketing use cases helps you map their needs to feature and functionality requirements. This can also help you scope out potential IT costs and impact to your existing infrastructure.
Step 2: The Right Tools – Does the Technology Solve Marketing Pain Points and Objectives?
Next step is assessing your needs and requirements. Put on your Sherlock hat and start searching for potential marketing solutions. Don’t be afraid to question the vendors and ask the difficult technical questions, such as:
- How does the solution integrate into my existing infrastructure?
- Does the level of security and compliance align with our company policies?
- How does scalability affect reliability and performance?
Once you have your list of preferred vendors, it’s RFI/RFP time! (Or “Request for Information”/”Request for Proposal” – basically, it’s time for the vendors to give you information, and to bid on how much it will cost.) Map the marketing objectives you collected during Step 1 to each vendor’s product offerings. The more marketing needs that are met, the more likely marketing will adopt and stick with the solution. This is the key to prevent shelfware.
Now that you’ve narrowed it down to the right solution, it’s just a matter of aligning (or negotiating) costs and budgeting with Marketing.
Step 3: Implementation – Ensuring a Successful Launch and Adoption
The key to a successful implementation is to make sure both IT and marketing are fully prepared from concept to launch. The solution should fully support IT and marketing through all 5 stages of a winning deployment.
- Implementation stages for Marketing: Best Practices > Admin and User Training > Dedicated Account Managers > Customer Support > Marketing Community
- Implementation stages for IT: System Provisioning > Integrating > Dedicated Tech Consultants > Tech Support > Ongoing Monitoring
Going through these stages simultaneously across both departments ensures alignment during the launch. This also sets up the foundation for higher usage and adoption in the long run, which means positive ROI and less budget strain for IT.
To learn more about finding a marketing solution that meets the needs of both IT and marketing, check out our new slide deck: IT Best Practices: Finding the Right Marketing Solution.