Friday, May 10, 2019

Don’t let bad vendor decisions hold you back | Advertising Age

It’s no secret that marketers are struggling to keep up with the endless forms of technology introduced every day. From data management platforms (DMP) to demand side platforms (DSP), we are dealing with technology that either doesn’t deliver as initially promised or forces us to compromise on our own business initiatives. While trying to stay relevant and with the times, we have lost our own identities along the way.

This needs to end. We need to critically evaluate our current vendors and get rid of the ones that aren’t working. Working with dozens of vendors is not only tedious but a mistake. Marketers need to put an end to bad vendor decisions by acknowledging the challenges they are facing with these technologies and the businesses’ key goals. It's time to stop jumping on the latest trends just because it’s the cool thing to do.

It’s Called Tough Love

No one can deny that owning up to a bad decision is difficult. But we need to quit making excuses for vendors who fail to deliver. I’m sorry to be the one to say it, but we have made a mess for ourselves. Too many marketers rush to jump on every trend, whether it’s defining the business as a customer data platform or incorporating artificial intelligence (AI) into everything. We’ve spent way too much time adding new software or platforms to our existing offerings, compiling a tower of mismatched solutions, and not enough time mastering and optimizing the technology we already have. In the end, our so-called investments cause more trouble than they’re worth.

It’s time to take a step back and analyze exactly what challenges might be causing marketers’ headaches. Before making any investment, it’s critical to first understand the needs of the business. Identify the company’s overall goals, and align your budget against them. Assess which of your vendor partners are actually helping you achieve those goals, and get rid of the vendors who aren’t.

It’s Not Me; It’s You

While I’m not typically one for cliches, the saying is true. Marketers shouldn’t be afraid to part ways with vendors who are leading them down the road to bad decisions or inefficient solutions. Marketers have enough challenges already, whether it’s delivering true omnichannel personalization at a customer level, or struggling with ID resolution across different devices.

We’ve also grown accustomed to a time where last-click attribution is sufficient, preventing us from obtaining a full view of the customer and media they engaged with. Marketers, if you’re still facing these challenges, you don’t have time to waste on subpar technology.

We live in an online world where customers are interacting with brands on multiple devices at various times of the day. As marketers, we must engage with our most valuable customers in real time or potentially lose out on revenue. As new technology continues to roll out, with vendors knocking on our doors to sell their tools, we must decide which solutions work best for us with careful deliberation.

We Need To Talk

In our urgency to adopt new technology and stay ahead of the curve, we have made a true mess for ourselves -- one that needs to be cleaned up quickly. I’m not saying that we have to cut all vendors from our tech stacks, but marketers need to be bold, and sometimes that means making difficult decisions.

In order to succeed, we need to streamline our tech stack with solutions that actually give us and our customers what we need. Collectively, we must stop making excuses for ill-conceived vendor decisions, and instead focus on and work toward our goals. Trim the fat. If it doesn’t serve you, thank you, next.


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