February 13, 2012

The 12 Most Underutilized Resources Within Your EMM Tools

Before you go out and buy new marketing software, you may want to ask yourself: Am I getting the full value from what we have?  Do I know what it’s truly capable of doing?  If the answer is a “no”, then it’s clear what your next step should be…and it begins with reading the rest of this post.

Inspired by a blog post I recently made for 12most around trying to find qualified resources I wanted to come up with a 12 most list for Enterprise Marketing Management (EMM) software – after all, it is a subject that I have become well versed in last decade.

While there are many articles out there that focus on why you need new software, or how to reinvent workflow processes (some of those posts on our own blog), we’re shining the bright light on doing more with the EMM software you’re already paying for.

After collaborating with my Covalent Marketing colleagues, we came up with a nice list of Underutilized Resources Within Your EMM Software.  I hope you enjoy and would love to hear if there are any others you’d add to the list.

  1. Templates
    Templates are so easy to use, but they are rarely used to their full enterprise potential.  While they can speed up repetitive coding tasks, they can also help standardize and enforce consistency in your campaign management systems: inclusion/suppression lists, list configuration, etc.
  2. Meta Data
    EMM tools are more than just campaign generation machines.  They create a mountain of meta data usable for all sorts of things: Smart Code generation, post campaign reporting & analysis, tracking process (in)efficiencies, offer management, etc.
  3. Documentation
    This might sounds like a funny one, but I can’t tell you how many obstacles I’ve gotten past by just doing a little reading.  Unfortunately, many EMM software functions are not as intuitive as they should be.  I mean have you seen some of the error codes they throw at you?  Failed to connect to server process. Error code: 703
  4. Customization
    I’m sure many of you have experienced the change management headache that can arise from bringing in new marketing technology.  For those still having trouble with adoption, did you know you can rebrand (i.e. skin) the software so that it feels more like your own?  It may even give you a chance to re-launch.
  5. Triggers and API’s
    While our EMM tools may have their limitations, it shouldn’t define our marketing boundaries.  With triggers and API’s we can link our EMM systems in to all sorts of other aspects of our business such as: Financials, Sales or even our external vendors/partners.
  6. Alerts
    Our EMM systems can provide a multitude of messaging, but so often not enough time is spent to properly configure them.  They can be a huge aid in user adoption and maintaining process efficiencies.
  7. Dynamic content
    We are now in a consumer empowered age of marketing and as marketers we need to keep evolving.  One simple way we can try to keep pace is to use the dynamic capabilities within our tools to tailor the outgoing content.  For instance, we can dynamically choose: the email templates we send, the offers assigned within them and campaign message completely driven from rules and conditions we set within our EMM systems.
  8. Asset Attachment
    If there are pieces of useful information not being captured within the EMM tool, the least we can do is attach it to the work that is being done (e.g. 3rd party lists).  It makes going back and trying to replicate past actions or audits so much easier.
  9. Response Attribution
    In our world of trying to do more with less, we are often in such a hurry to get campaigns out the door we neglect to properly close the marketing automation loop.  Response attribution is such a key component in improving our marketing efforts yet we many of us don’t do it.  It hard to ‘test and learn’ when we don’t stop to ‘learn.’  And have you heard, there are rumors abound that this will be much easier in upcoming EMM versions.
  10. Calendar/Timeline
    Some EMM tools have a calendar function that can deliver an organized way to see your forecasted campaigns.  I’ve found when things are visually laid out it can provide an alternative prospective about your planning/forecasting that you hadn’t previously noticed.
  11. Command Line Functions
    Not everything has to be initiated or conducted actually in the software client.  There are many things that can be done from command line such as launching campaigns, accessing software utilities, updating system data, saving inflight campaigns, etc.  This is key for making lights out processes.
  12. Data Marts
    Many organizations have a separate data mart for their marketing department. Come installation time of their EMM software they may spend some time reconfiguring the mart, but that’s where many companies stop.  As your data changes and as your marketing needs change, your data mart should be changing (adding new fields, triggers, indexes, etc.) to maintain peak database performance. [This goes for webservers too!]