We all know a lot can go wrong when introducing new software solutions. False expectations, insufficient communication among departments, poor data quality during migration or vaguely defined project goals are just a few of the stumbling blocks you can endure. Benefit from my experience in the implementation of marketing solutions and avoid pitfalls right from the start.
Actually self-explanatory and not really marketing-specific, you might think. However, processes in marketing are much more flexible and short-lived than in other business areas. This is obvious, since the goal of marketing is to react flexibly to rapidly changing circumstances in the market and to quickly recognize new trends and, in the best case, even set them. Processes, channels, and target groups therefore change frequently and possibly even during the project duration. While long-term goals are in the foreground during an ERP implementation, the goal definition in marketing is rather short to medium-term.
In marketing, the term "customer journey" describes how a prospect becomes a customer. From the perhaps subconscious consideration of purchasing a product or service to the concretization of the purchase intention to the conversion, i.e. the actual purchase, only a few hours or even years can pass. For a conversion to occur, the right touchpoints must be identified and the resulting interests derived. Then you can react quickly and flexibly to changing conditions. It is particularly important to know the precise target group. Of course, there are differences depending on the business model. Here are two practical examples from B2C and B2B marketing:
Ideally, this is how it works in B2C
I watch a video on YouTube in the evening and receive a product advertisement based on the video content, which subconsciously arouses my interest. I watch the commercial a little longer than necessary and then click on "skip" anyway. Before going to bed, I check my Instagram and "miraculously" I see customized ads in my feed about the product from the YouTube ad. I like what I see, give it a "Like", and subscribe to the channel. The next day, I check Amazon to see where my shipment I ordered days ago is and low and behold, the product I looked at the night before is suggested to me. With an offer for a limited time discount, I click on "buy".
Catching customers in B2B
Why people buy when, where and why
Admittedly, this is a simplified representation - depending on the complexity of the topic, there are disproportionately more touchpoints to reach a purchase conclusion and often a number of stakeholders must also be taken into account. However, it is important that you use all touchpoints if possible and generate an all-around view of your target groups. You will then know when customers buy what, where and why and can use this information to sharpen your processes and optimally build your SAP Marketing Cloud.
A trend in CRM and marketing solutions in recent years has been to move away from grown individual solutions to standard processes and solutions. Faster introduction through reduced implementation effort, lower maintenance effort, and guaranteed release capability are just some of the points that have led to a rethink here.
For marketing solutions, the core processes should be implemented in the standard. In my view, this is important because marketing solutions are particularly dependent on their interfaces in order to be able to consume the data from all touchpoints. The SAP Marketing Cloud offers a wide range of predefined interfaces, integration solutions and cross-system processes to other SAP and third-party solutions here.
New processes and data sources can thus be implemented quickly and flexibly without affecting the maintainability of the solution. End users, key users, and admins can access a large collection of helpful guides, community posts, and learning content, which significantly reduces the amount of training required for new processes and features.
SAP Marketing Cloud offers many options to cover all areas of marketing. From marketing budget planning, to scoring and predictive models of customer behavior, to complex analytics, there are a variety of preconfigured scenarios that can be implemented.
The most successful launches are those that grow over time. My recommendation is not to try to use all the features right at the start just because it is theoretically possible. Start with a compact scope tailored to your goals and biggest pain points, and roll out more features after a successful go-live. This way, users can gradually get used to the new functionalities and with the focus on the core processes, all resources can be concentrated on them.
In my experience, professional change management is essential when introducing new solutions, especially if you were previously using an evolved individual solution.
Similar to point 1, you should attach the utmost importance to this: you absolutely need input from all the departments involved, such as marketing and sales or your legal department. I have experienced myself in projects where initial campaigns and processes with the new functionalities that will be available in the future were planned very enthusiastically at a very early stage, but the internal legal department and/or data protection intervened at a later stage. This kind of thing causes resentment on both sides, which can be easily avoided by involving all relevant parties early enough in all workshops.
Always keep in mind that you rely on personal data in marketing. These vary in sensitivity depending on the industry. For example, healthcare and health insurance companies have different requirements than online retailers, and different regulations apply in Europe than in the USA. Therefore, find out in good time which rules you have to comply with.
So, depending on the project, it is important to define early on which areas and people need to be involved. Scope, industry, individual processes, local and company-specific rules must be re-evaluated in each project and the group of participants defined on this.