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Don’t wait for IT; Marketers can drive growth now

By Julien Boudet, Brian Gregg and Kelsey Robinson

IT and marketing are built to work at different speeds, but there’s plenty marketers can still do when it comes to using technology.

Marketing is increasingly a tech game. But that doesn’t mean you always need sophisticated IT tools to play.

Companies that excel in marketing analytics can deliver big gains, but technology initiatives tend to come with big price tags and long development times. Here are four alternatives to take the technology plunge:

Go for insight, not more data:  Useful and profitable insights often exist in data that companies already have.  Transaction and customer data, for example, tell you who your clients are, how they engage with your brand and what their interests are.

One retailer wanted to understand which message should be sent to which customer on a given day. The team started to look for simple clues indicating purchase intent and noticed many customers were visiting a product page but not buying anything. They developed a series of emails targeting these shoppers and doubled sales through the email channel in 12 months.   

In our experience across multiple industries, a three-week scan of the data you have to hand is all it takes to identify profitable opportunities and kick off an experiment.

Roll up your sleeves: A manual approach to certain tasks—such as pulling specific customer lists, designing creative, and launching a targeted email campaign—isn’t efficient over the long term, but it’s a great way to identify propositions you can test on a small scale.

RelateIQ, a start-up relationship intelligence platform, wanted to send “welcome” emails to new customers. Instead of using an automated email program, the team pulled customer cohort lists, worked with freelance designers on creative, and established a six-part “welcome” email series. Email open rates were above 50 percent.

Go outside: The abundance of open source technology, cheap memory, and a global marketplace offer a quick solution for many problems.

Doximity, a professional network for physicians, needed to test three homepage models for its target audience. Doximity deployed Optimizely’s A/B testing service and quickly learned that the “ugly” bulleted text converted new members at a rate 40% higher than the other page designs.

SWAT up: Advancing the marketing agenda without depending on IT does not mean going it alone. One online retailer, for instance, recently put together a “SWAT” team of people from the business unit, operations and marketing. The team designed a simpler briefing template, made sure everyone promptly received information needed to kick off design, copy and targeting work  and clarified deadlines. The result: campaign development time fell by a third.

Even as the marketing and IT functions become increasingly intertwined, marketers who look for creative, even scrappy, ways to solve technology challenges can drive new ideas and sales.  

This article originally appeared on The Economist Group Lean Back website

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