Thursday, 16 September 2010

Do you love or hate your marketing systems?

Software systems - you either love ‘em, or you hate ‘em. Well, actually, for the most part we love them (and need them) and hate them (when they don’t do what we want).

Sales and marketing has become too complex to manage without systems: those that you love and those that you hate. Sales people are well known for being rather wary of CRM systems – for good and bad reasons. Marketing people would like to manage without, but can’t.

But whether it’s a manual process or a software system, systems of all sorts are vital for efficient and effective sales and marketing.

It’s not always easy to tell whether a system is effective or not. We have all come to rely on email, but the time saved in being able to send a message with hardly a thought has meant we have so many more messages to read. So the time saved is now spent sorting and figuring out what is important and what is not.

It’s the same with many other systems. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems can hold an enormous amount of data, but can you see the information you need? Can you identify whether time and effort is being spent with the right customers with the right results? Not always ....

So it’s worth stepping back from time to time and thinking about what you and your senior team really need to know about your marketing. Are your systems alerting you quickly enough to problems? Are they providing sufficient visibility into what’s happening? And if they don’t, what can you do about it? Another report? Collecting different data? Or pulling together information that’s already there so you can see the situation more clearly?

Marketing is all about difference – demonstrating to your customers why you are different, and providing a better solution to their problem or opportunity. Be different, and create systems that enable you to do that better than any of your competitors.

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