Buying Marketing Technology & Services

There are numerous possible categories with regard to analyzing and evaluating marketing services and technologies as it pertains to your business. While only a subset of these may be a priority for any specific need within your marketing team, the coverage is important. It allows solutions to be identified that meet your objectives and requirements.

As a result there are two primary considerations. First, is understanding the core needs for you, including your unique set of business requirements and combining this with a thorough understanding of what’s possible from available solutions in the marketplace. Second, is evaluating technologies against your unique needs and accelerating your time from the identification of a marketing need to implementation, while improving the probability of success.

When embarking on a project, it is always important to review possibilities with respect to building and buying the set of solutions that enable you to get from point A to point B. This may entail complementing your internal resources with any of a number of potential resources or simply getting a better understanding of your options.

What are the benefits of hiring a company for their marketing services or marketing technology? There are many potential benefits, but here are a few:

  • You are hiring passion and people who excel at what they do
  • They may make your employees better by exposing them to new perspectives
  • Depending upon the maturity of the solution, you may get more capability than performing the same work or building the same technology yourself

In addition to general and detailed capabilities and the standard considerations associated with buying this type of service or technology, a few of the categories a buyer could consider are:

  • Total Cost of Ownership
  • Specific Integrations
  • Migration Considerations
  • Privacy Implications
  • Supportability
  • Sustainability

These and many other categories enable you to easily evaluate the technologies and services most suitable to your company’s needs while taking into account those potential marketing and technology capabilities best aligned to your strategic objectives.

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Today’s Marketing Looks, Tastes and Smells Better with Technology

Many marketing tasks in today’s world are improved with the appropriate amount of technology seasoning. Websites, as an example, are by definition a solution where the technology usually becomes the backbone of a company’s digital marketing presence. Stated another way, a company’s marketing presence may include a website. Given the competition, the website requires a base level of functionality to perform well and meet the needs of the necessary segments within a marketplace.

A deeper review of this website example shows that a typical website for the hotel industry has multiple components that make it work. A website may include:

Content Management System Email & Social Marketing
Digital Asset Management Content Marketing & Blog
Content Distribution Multi-screen Responsiveness
Internet Booking Engine Marketing Reporting & Analytics
Group Booking Functionality Property Performance Data
Guest Surveys, Feedback and Reviews Pricing Data
Integrations amongst these solutions and with others, such as CRS, PMS, Channel Management, CRM and ERP

Whether you manage this internally, rely upon a brand or hire an agency, it still requires a fair amount of oversight by the various people responsible for the performance of the property. When considering a website, another system, or all technologies required to make a hotel operate efficiently, there are many details to manage.

Furthermore, the advent of new technologies may present unique opportunities for competitive advantage, even if only for a matter of months or a few years. During the last 20 years the industry has seen this occur multiple times. Companies and properties created strategies to reap the benefits of each instance.

Email arrived in force in the corporate sector in the mid 1990’s. Websites became prevalent shortly thereafter. Subsequently, online travel agencies began providing new distribution capabilities. And more recently, hotel companies are better leveraging the features of social and mobile for their business. It is important for hotel marketers to stay aware of changes and address the opportunities appropriate for their hotel, brand and the customer experience they want to provide to the marketplace.

The question any business needs to ask themselves is what are the market opportunities for the industry and how will this marketing team take advantage of them to continuously improve its sales and marketing performance. Today, the answer to this question may require an investment in marketing technology. Now is the time to prepare for tomorrow’s marketing opportunities.

Sales Enablement for Enhancing Results

Sales Enablement capabilities occur in many forms by providing tools to a sales person usually to create sales process efficiencies and drive the behaviors that will lead to topline results. Both of these may be desired in the context of a field sales team, an inside sales group, a call center sales function or other teams responsible for part of the sales function, each with a different set of needs, objectives and goals.

As examples, a few key objectives associated with the capability of Sales Enablement for a given company may encompass any of the following:

  • Improve sales responsiveness
  • Increase close rate
  • Decrease the sales cycle

Ultimately, the above may be measured in goals set to align with the group of objectives, such as calls per hour, lead to close ratio and average days to close, respectively. The techniques implemented to reach these objectives may vary based on many factors. A method for improving sales responsiveness is to ensure that initial contact for each lead occurs within a certain amount of time from it arriving. This sounds reasonable, but if the close rate typically increases along with the amount of research a sales person performs on a lead, then these objectives may work against each other. Therefore, enhancing access to the amount and accuracy of knowledge about potential customers, respecting their privacy of course, may play an important role with regard to making progress toward all objectives simultaneously. The question then becomes – what methods and technologies will enable a sales team to ensure prompt initial contact yet improve their access to research and information that will better the close rate?

Let’s discuss a more tangible industry example for a hotel that wants to increase its ability to respond to a plethora of group business leads from corporations. The better the hotel’s sales person understands the prospect’s needs as it relates to their event, the better they can customize a proposal for the group. What will drive results in this situation for the hotel? The following should improve the opportunity to generate these results barring other counterproductive influences:

  • Automating and integrating the identification and consolidation of relevant prospect information from available sources
  • Streamlining the customization and generation of the RFP response

While additional assumptions may be required for the above to deliver results, these are examples of what’s possible today. In fact, multiple solutions provide the above sales process enhancements in various forms. Finding the specific solutions within the thousands available that both provide these capabilities and are in harmony with your sales objectives is the next step.

A partial list of capabilities and features associated with Sales Enablement may include those in the following list, among many others:

  • Data Sources
  • Data Verification
  • Account Management
  • Contact Management
  • Sales Methodology
  • Correspondence Management
  • Lead Management
  • RFP Management
  • Calendar
  • Workflows
  • Collaboration

The hospitality industry as a whole may also want to manage event scheduling, menus, marketing materials along with reporting for the sales cycle. Furthermore, the overlap of these elements with Customer Relationship Management solutions should be readily apparent. As a result, decisions regarding the features of solutions covering the necessary capabilities should be considered in conjunction with an existing or planned CRM.