How to be a Marketing Innovation Agent

Jim Howard
By Jim Howard
September 30, 2014

Do you wish your organization’s digital marketing was more innovative? Are you the one trying new cloud-based tools and technologies, maybe even behind your I.T. department’s back? Are you frustrated that you control some aspects of the web experience with no ability to improve other digital customer interactions?

If you answered “Yes” to any of these questions, chances are you’re what we call a marketing change agent – someone who wants to control your own destiny, disrupt the status quo and inspire others in your organization to innovation.

Disruption Ahead

The real question is: where do you want to focus your energy?  If you are like most marketing change agents, chances are you don’t want to become a technology expert, but you do want to “own” the technology your team uses to create great digital customer experiences. You want the customer experiences your company delivers in the marketplace to be more relevant, more effective, more competitive.

You may be pleased to hear that – contrary to what Silicon Valley says – digital marketing solutions are available that don’t require technological expertise to power data-driven experimentation.


Vendor Innovation versus Ability to Adopt

There is a fundamental struggle between the relative speed of innovation and adoption. I’m a fan of Clayton Christensen and his groundbreaking book Innovator’s Dilemma, where he argues that once-great companies continue to innovate their products beyond the needs or abilities of most end user organizations to adopt and absorb their new products and features. Silicon Valley follows the paranoid adage “Innovate or Die”, which works great in the early years. But over time this cycle of continuous innovation creates overly complex, over engineered and overly expensive products.

Marketing Automation is like any other technology sector. Many core technologies (like content management suites) are over-engineered today to the point where vendor innovation is inhibiting end user innovation. This is not due to a lack of features or capabilities, just the opposite. The core capabilities that marketing needs are mashed together with dozens of other functions, and it’s all delivered by software engineers to I.T. experts.  As these platforms have mutated, they are often used for purposes having little to do with digital marketing or customer experiences. Marketing’s needs are obscured as I.T. manages collaboration intranets, document and process management  and integration with legacy systems.

To be a marketing change agent, you must instead direct your innovation energy to things like contextual personalization, targeted content marketing, better customer service, creating great mobile customer experiences, etc. Companies that select a proprietary suite for Web Experience Management don’t have that luxury.

The potential marketing change agents at these companies become frustrated, discovering that they are one of many “end users” overly reliant on a slow-moving, incredibly complex technology infrastructure. They need a red phone directly to the I.T. department (or whoever is actually hosting and managing their solution). They need to become experts on every technology that remotely touches marketing, and then manage their I.T. resources or service partners to deliver what they need. They find themselves worrying about data integration and content migration, information security, system upgrades and a host of other technical issues. Is this a digital marketer’s job?


Partnering for “Collective Innovation”

Marketing change agents demand greater flexibility and agility. Innovation results from experimentation, especially in the practice of Web Experience Management. It requires organizations be prepared to disrupt their own legacy business models. Websites need to be built to empower greater self-service by the marketing department. Teams require the ability to roll out new digital customer experiences fast, target, test and adjust as necessary. Change agents prefer to focus on data insights not data integrations.

Here at Crownpeak we believe marketing change agents should be freed to apply their core expertise to creating great digital customer experiences. Christensen explains that when new vendors with simpler, more focused models and products enter the market, the bloated incumbents are ripe for disruption. We believe content management in the cloud eliminates the innovation barriers created by “it does everything” monster suites. An over-engineered solution outsourced to a vendor hosting your instance in the cloud is no better. The time, cost and effort required to innovate are barriers to success, even if marketing systems are outsourced to a technology firm who has the requisite expertise. 

Believe me, it's really hard to decide where to innovate. Crownpeak takes a different approach than the hosted or installed WEM vendors. Because all of your enterprise’s web properties are served from a unified cloud content management platform, your team can implement a simple solution very rapidly and then “turn-on” new features and functions as needed. As a shared platform, Crownpeak comes up with great ideas AND our customers come up with great ideas – all which result in a kind of “collective innovation”. Helping you to be an innovation driver – finding your inner marketing change agent – that’s the beauty of a true multi-tenant SaaS solution.


Disruptive Innovation that doesn’t Disrupt You

We release to our customers a menu of new capabilities eleven times a year along with a roadmap of new things coming. They decide which pieces matter most to them. No more seeking out required technical expertise inside or outside the organization (and then fighting for the budget to make it happen). When we roll out a new feature or function, it’s just there. We release it and it’s instantly available for all customers to try. We recently introduced Digital Asset Management and native integrations with Dropbox, Box and Google Drive. We improved the ability for customers to complete QA testing across mobile device environments directly in the content authoring environment. The customers that were ready could apply these new features immediately.

So to be a marketing change agent, focus on the important stuff. Focus on creating the best web experiences you can for your customers and buyers. Let Crownpeak focus on the bits and bytes. Together, we’ll innovate the change your organization deserves.

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