Buying a super tanker to sail a pond

In my time talking to and working with various organisations over the years (be that the 10+ years client-side and the past six years agency-side) I have now become convinced that one of the biggest barriers to organisations doing more clever, sophisticated and successful marketing is the very systems that they select to do more clever, sophisticated and successful marketing. Coupled with the other big problem that I see today; namely there are far too many techies and IT people in the digital marketing pond and nowhere near enough true marketers.

So there you have an epidemic; more and more marketing departments are buying some seriously impressive and expensive technology to enable them to drive their digital marketing communications, but are seemingly unable to utilise, understand or harness what these systems can actually do for them.

It also seems that the larger the organisation, the larger the challenge. As these marketing platforms rely on technology, you require some serious IT involvement. This is enough of a challenge in itself, but then factor in the need for these systems to integrate with other company systems and data sources and the result is a white elephant that serves to demotivate the very people it was bought to aid.

A futile technology flood

This trend is supported by the 2012 Econsultancy census for email marketing – where yet again the vast majority state that they are using far less than 50% of their system’s functionality. We are buying too much technology and doing too little marketing.

With the vast majority of digital marketing today still missing the basics of relevance and personalisation, perhaps it is time to go back to basics and ease off the buying of these technology super tankers and instead look to set sail using a smaller, simpler and more nimble vessel that allows you to get the basics right and build from there?