Marketing Systems - September 2009 Marketing Blog

At Staffing Industry Analysts' Healthcare Summit last week, I had the opportunity to talk to one of our customers regarding marketing challenges. I realized after this conversation that it really doesn't matter what business one is in, we all have the same challenges.

We spent a fair amount of time talking about content management systems, contact management systems, other systems that enable us to send out emails and track information. It is crazy how many systems we all use and the impact of integration or the lack there of on our businesses.

This customer and I agreed to share some information about the systems that we use and that we are looking at in the future. I would be happy to track information systems in this blog if you would like to contribute which systems you (your company) use. I would be happy to create a spreadsheet and we can all comment on the good, bad and ugly of the systems that we use to help us all do a better job.

Types of Systems

It is not secret about the systems we use, but I have listed them below and will add to the list as I get information from you. I would love to know what web tracking systems you are using. Google is free, but has some challenges. If anyone is using something they think is better, I think the group would like to know. By the way, the list is merely a list and by no means an endorsement of any of the products listed below.

Function Brand Primary/Secondary
Content Management Oxcyon Primary
Contact Management Netsuite Primary
Email marketing Netsuite Primary
  Vertical Response Secondary
  Cheetah Mail Secondary
Web Tracking Google Analytics Primary
  Oxcyon Primary
Social Media Twitter Primary
  Linked In Primary
  TweetDeck Primary
  Bit.ly Secondary
  Go-To-Meeting/Webinar Primary

Challenges of Quantity

The quantity of systems we use is really unbelievable. Putting them in the list is a bit frightening. Fact of the matter is, there are probably other system that we use, but I just simply forgot to put list them. Ten different systems, crazy! I think it will get worse overtime. We have had challenges with every system listed above. There is no perfect system and managing each of them has its own unique challenges.

I suppose, if Facebook has its way, that will be the way we will all work, it will be our content management system, our contact management system, our email system, web tracking, etc. Since Facebook is a user centric system rather than a corporate centric system it has challenges, like who owns the data. Are the Linked In contacts that I have developed on Staffing Industry Analysts behalf, mine or the company's. If you have a Facebook page for your company, are those "friends" your "friends" or your company's "friends." This is a very sticky situation now; it will only become stickier as time goes on. So think about your social media implementations and what they mean to your company and to you personally.

Challenges of Integration

Most of our systems are NOT integrated. Lack of integration is a huge challenge for our whole team. We have to check all of the above systems to figure out how we are doing and of course the numbers don't all add up because different systems track different things. Even with integration, I don't think that things would add up, because of the previous statement. I think we get real trends about what is going on, but I am always dubious of the numbers, high or low. Everyone likes the high numbers, but they aren't necessarily true numbers. I would encourage all of you to watch month over month trends and then year over year trends, rather than thinking the numbers are truly factual. If you do a search on Google Analytics data, you will find a lot of commentary about inaccuracies and challenges with the data.

Where Do We Go From Here?

Frankly, I wish I knew. A company cannot use one system, because then there is a single point of failure. As more and more ASP solutions evolve, everyones data is sitting on other company's servers and all the work is done in the "cloud" and integration becomes harder, but maybe easier. I know that we have to track more, deliver more, and focus more with fewer people, more systems and new technologies. Not that these challenges haven't existed in the past, because they have, but the rate of change is so much faster than it was, even last year.
 My suggestions, thinking out loud and for myself:

  1. Think about the quantity of systems you have for marketing
  2. Ask yourself, do you really need them all?
  3. If you do, how can they be integrated?
  4. Who and what is being monitored?
  5. Before you add more, what is the relevance and who owns the data?

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