Shiny objects are things that capture the imagination. They’re silver bullets that promise to fix everything with immediate gratification. As much as we like to think that there is “a” quick solution for every problem, eventually, reality breaks the spell. Shiny objects don’t work as well as advertised, or at least as well as we’ve built them up to be in our imaginations.
Technologies are notorious contributors to the shiny object syndrome. For marketing efficiency and effectiveness goals, automation promises to replace boring manual tasks, standardize workflows, keep a running record for visibility of transactions and patterns, and provide standardized reports acheter des vues. And automation does these things, with caveats.
What’s lacking among shiny objects are the people-and-process prerequisites and bigger picture of marketing efficiency and effectiveness needs.
- Prerequisites for automation: expected time savings from automating boring manual tasks are too often offset by time needed to manage the complexities of the system, due to inadequately defined people and process workflow requirements before deployment.
- Bigger picture for automation: extra customizations strive to bridge the gap between what was promised and what’s needed, complicating upgrades and scalability as your people and processes migrate or expand over time.
And for better decision-making, standardized reports do only part of the job. Mindsets and perspectives differ, so if you want whole-hearted buy-in and decision-making you need to manage assumptions, not just look at the same data.
Marketing is in a good perch to see what’s going on in the market, and hence, to take on cross-functional leadership to help every function optimize toward the needs of the customer. Marketing should be key to establishing the direction strategically, not tactically marching along. Establishing the direction strategically means enabling other functions’ collective success through marketing’s business intelligence.
- Synthesize: Most companies have lots of data, but lack ability to synthesize it to make good decisions. Someone needs to take initiative to nurture and integrate input and insight – from sources both inside and outside the company – for timely intelligence that’s actionable by each functional area. Keeping the synthesization customer-centered magnifies the usefulness of business intelligence with shared strategic direction.
- Be Inclusive: Often the data is not representative in its use: it may be used by a single or a few functional area(s), and overlook others because of the way business intelligence processes are set up. Organizations that would normally be left out of the loop could benefit from business intelligence. For example, HR could support customer-centered goals by using business intelligence that guides their hiring, onboarding, training, compensation and other responsibilities in harmony with the promises that marketing makes to customers.
- Transparent Mental Models: Data may be used primarily by senior decision-makers for acquisitions and to bless strategic assumptions. We may be afraid to question management, but if we can help bring their mental models to the surface, there could be more critical contributions, support, and buy-in to decisions. Instead of providing some inputs at the beginning, and waiting for the black box to spout out an outcome, surfacing management’s mental models enables people to be whole-hearted in their support because they’ve seen how the decision has evolved.