We marketers are fast becoming the largest purchasers of technology in organizations, and we need to be able to evaluate new tools and applications through the eyes of IT professionals.
As the marketing technology space becomes more crowded with multiple vendors offering similar products, we need ways to quickly evaluate vendors and their technology to determine whether the new tool will accelerate marketing results, or whether we'll still be trying to make it work six months from now.
Implementing new marketing technology comes with risks—from low user adoption and conflicts with other departments to data-security concerns and integration with existing systems. How do you ensure your next purchase will be successful? Here are five questions you should ask every vendor during consultations.
1. What does the implementation look like in my environment?
Almost every organization has some level of customization of existing applications that could complicate a seemingly simple installation of new technology. Ensure you have a solid understanding of what customizations have been made, and communicate those to the vendor early in the process.
Speak with your system administrators and IT department to get a clear understanding of what applications will be affected—including tools in use by other functions and departments.
When a vendor says setup is "quick and easy," that rarely applies to any environment other than a generic one. You need to understand the subtleties in your systems and processes that could affect setup and installation of the new technology, making the process go from "quick and easy" to "slow and complicated" (and costly).
Consider everything from customized and mandatory fields that your company uses to manual and automated processes that could be affected by the introduction of new tools.