Adapting for agile technology can be quite a challenge, especially if your business has existing systems in place, and marketing technologies in use, for numerous purposes. When they don’t seem to naturally work in sync with one another, how do you choose the right type of technology to prepare for the future, without disrupting what you already have in place?
We talked about the struggles large businesses face with our Solutions Architect, David Wendt, who has held various data-driven marketing roles in the finance industry, where he’s worked in both agile and traditional, corporate organizations.
What was it like working in a non-traditional business structure?
I enjoyed being in an agile organization model since this led to more transparency, focus and better teamwork. Our teams were multi-disciplined with members from various departments, and these teams didn’t require approval from a traditional manager for required actions. This autonomy increased our speed and agility; before, the process would’ve involved getting mandates and approval from the board. Having to do so can eat into valuable time which could have been spent elsewhere.
What do you think are the major problems that big organizations face nowadays in terms of structuring for agility?
One of the biggest challenges that many large organizations face is adjusting to the new digital world whilst older systems are still in place and hindering progress. In the finance industry, many big organizations follow the policy of ‘if it’s not broken, don’t fix it’; which is a valid point, if we consider that financial institutions are the lifeline of the modern economy and support millions of customers every day. However, this mindset, supported by the golden age before the credit crunch, led to many financial institutions not focusing enough on maintaining and renewing their data landscape for the future. Many still have yet to take the first step towards preparing for new technology - they question how to cope with unexpected costs and compete successfully against upcoming FinTechs.
These organizations face the problem of balancing two issues: continual adaptation for new technology for customer-centricity on one hand, and the decommissioning of old technology on the other. These two issues should receive equivalent attention, but in practice, many large companies pool most of their resources into their core business systems. With customer journey orchestration solutions like Relay42’s platform, these systems can be integrated with newer technologies without any disruption, and data can be activated quickly and seamlessly.
How can they organize to make better use of technology?
Because FinTechs are challenging banks to rethink their age-old roles, the part that financial institutions play is changing from siloed to customer-centric business models. This major transition has been a hurdle for institutions who have been firmly set in their conventional view of how they do business, and what their role is in serving their financial customers.
I believe these companies can organize to make better use of agile technology by creating interdisciplinary teams. I’ve seen companies with such siloed departments that department members didn’t even know what technology was currently being used. This can cause confusion and even redundancy in what technology is implemented. Fluid teams comprised of people from different departments allow you to create buy-in throughout teams and stakeholders. When departments can work with one another without the intermediate bottleneck of a manager, it facilitates productivity and clear communication of what technology is being used, and why.
How should companies organize for success with new technologies?
First, you must decide if your focus is on customer acquisition or retention. Once your marketing strategy is decided, you have to break down the customer journey into phases. Rolling out these phases incrementally to show results is the best practice. How do you do this? By prioritizing quick wins and plotting longer term strategic focuses. By picking the simplest, least complex phases with the highest impact first, it can not only get you quick results, but it can also aid in getting your team used to the product. This can be especially helpful with future, more complex phases of the customer journey. With a broader scope, organizations can approach this from a cost perspective by initially only optimizing media spend based on customer intent or interest. By doing so, you also deliver a more relevant customer experience.
What is your favorite thing about working in marketing, with a specific focus on technology?
As a Solutions Architect, I love applying my role to real life. I take a good look at how customer data is collected and how marketing is delivered in innovative ways, such as how holograms or virtual reality (VR) can be used for one-to-one personalized marketing. I believe it’s important to stay relevant in a world that is perpetually becoming more digital. By doing so, it gives me better understanding of what customers do and how to apply it within our platform to make it work for them.
Want to learn more about delivering one-to-one journeys beyond your own organizational walls?