March 5, 2014

Technology Imitating Life, Imitating Technology

As you may notice in the upcoming weeks, we at Covalent Marketing are extremely excited to be presenting at the upcoming Teradata Marketing Summit this March. Our presentation will be focusing on utilizing the data in Contact History to become more strategic marketers. (To find out more, come see us in LA!)

Having led education initiatives with multiple clients, I know there is an element to this ideal marketing plan that I know some clever reader will spot. “Ah hah!” they’ll say, “you can lead the marketer to data, but you can’t make them think.” First of all, that fictional reader is a bit of a jerk, since marketers are thinking. All. The. Time. Secondly, I understand the sentiment; No matter how well-executed the software is, it won’t make a difference on the bottom line if it doesn’t work with the human element. It’s the interaction of users with the software that creates waves of progress outside of the system, in the form of better processes and smarter marketing.

The execution of software to change behavior and outcomes is in no way relegated to business functions. Let’s consider an example of how data- and planning-focused software of any kind (including Contact History) can directly impact the thought processes and inputs of those who use it.

Like many people, I flip-flop in an eternal struggle of having nothing to wear, and never having enough wardrobe space on laundry day. Each investment in clothing, accessories, and shoes that I have made over the years was tracked mostly by my bank accounts, and the image of my favorite pieces held in a bundle in my head. Getting dressed in the morning was perpetual guess and check, ruining any organizational system and burying my bed under things I’d have to deal with later. All of this for a result that often left me feeling… Bleh.

Recently, I discovered the application called Style Book. It works as a virtual closet, allowing one to upload a full inventory of items currently in their wardrobe, with fields including brand, price, fabric type, and free-form notes. While the initial time investment can seem daunting, the change in my view of the data was immediately noticeable. Suddenly, items are categorized, available, and seen through the generic eyes of the application in neat rows, not linked to memories and emotions.

Stylebook

With a data inventory loaded in the app, the additional features created a plethora of new daily actions. A dashboard where winning combinations can be created, edited, categorized, and saved has developed the habit of scrolling through my data, looking for correlations I haven’t considered yet. A calendar function allows a record of the past as well as a plan for future days, reducing my indecision and prep time to yield a better result every day. A reporting function comes back to me with trends, what type of items I may want to invest in, where I am gaining the best and least value, and where dead weight is taking up valuable hangers. There is even a place for uploading hopeful future acquisitions, which can be incorporated with current combinations in the fashion of a ‘dry run’.

All of this may seem like a hearty endorsement for Style Book (which it also is), but it’s far more than that. Going through the benefits of this app, we could just as easily been discussing a data record like Contact History. Marketing is a complex function that can easily turn into a regular game of guess and check each time a campaign is put together, reducing cost and time efficiency to create what can often be a mediocre product. Utilizing software that converts the full spectrum of inputs into organized data will immediately change the way action is taken, and open the door to planning, reporting, and market testing. Additionally, while the initial implementation may take effort and some time to be relevant, the addition of patience will ensure you gain the full value of interacting with the tool.

Marketing software doesn’t just better organize and streamline the impersonal functions that are needed to make an operation run. When put in the hands of marketers who use it to help think, it has the ability to change the very way ideas and plans are being formed.

If you will be at the #TeradataSummit, please make sure to check out our presentation on Contact History on Tuesday, March 11 at 2:00 pm.

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