Some marketing organizations—customer reference programs in particular—are becoming more strategic when it comes to supporting a top executive priority:  data and data analytics. Those most aligned with corporate objectives embrace the big picture, realizing that sales and marketing technology has the potential to transform their department, and also the enterprise in many ways—if it’s the right technology. Purchases made today need to support data and interoperability needs for the next 7-10 years.

In a recent eMarketer post, Attitudes Toward Marketing Technology Among US Marketing Professionals, April 2015, we have confirmation that marketers are behind the technology and training curve even while recognizing and appreciating the importance of data. It’s time to look beyond product features and functions and think bigger. Following are a few of the Direct Marketing Association (DMA) and Winterberry Group survey findings that really stood out.

64.9% – Aggregating and integrating disparate data sources is a high priority for my organization

The priority appears to be there, but is it translating to products that enable aggregation and integration? This is often given too little weight in selecting marketing technology and isn’t discovered as a deficiency until months after implementation. At that point the honeymoon period is over and leadership’s hunger for data can’t be slaked

61.5% – Integrating new technology with existing tools has been challenging for my organization

The goal should be to integrate tools to the CRM system—the core of the enterprise. Legacy products, or new products without this capability—and mere lip service related to this capability isn’t enough—should not be considered. They create silos and create more analytical work.

47.4% – It has been easy to prove value from new technology implementations at my organization

This is an exceptionally low percentage and is likely to change dramatically because CMOs are being held to CEO standards of measurement. While there is still art in marketing, the science aspect continues to grow in importance.

45.9% – My organization is limited by legacy tools that are difficult/complex/expense to replace

Software that’s have been around for more than 10 years can’t be expected to operate to 2015 standards. That’s too much to ask. It’s time to position for the future and that means defining new selection criteria for future technology purchases. Take the leap now or expect to be in the slow lane while your competition, which made more strategic decisions, flies by in the express lane.

Marketing departments can be better positioned for growth and integration with the rest of the organization by including these capabilities in their technology purchase considerations:

  • The technology must fully and seamlessly operate with the company’s business platform—CRM
  • Data must be highly accessible and effortlessly mashable with any other key data in CRM
  • The value of the technology must be quantifiable with minimal data gymnastics
  • Flexible design ensures not only many configuration possibilities, but customization when needed

The downside of making a commitment to technology that doesn’t support these requirements is years of limitations and compromise. Who wants that?