Ben Hodge

Paws for thought before adopting new marketing technology

This week my cat joined the Internet of Things. For me it’s just another reminder of the fact that today we all use technology in ways that we couldn’t have even imagined just a few years ago.

Thanks to a new connected cat flap, my family now has visibility of the comings and goings of Rufus, our beloved family pet. We can control access from our smartphones and Alexa, we can set curfews and most exciting for me as a slightly geeky planner, I can record his behaviour and identify trends. Yes, I do have a dashboard for this!

It all seems like a bit of a gimmick, right? But, actually there are some real advantages. The ability to keep him indoors when there’s a thunderstorm outside even when we’re not at home is a practical use case. Visibility of his movements gives us peace of mind when we‘re away. And longer term it will be possible to spot anomalies in his usual behaviour – a sudden change could be an early warning of illness.

While this a relatively simple application of technology, it does illustrate just how embedded it has become in all aspects of our lives. I never knew that I needed to connect my cat to the Internet of Things, but now that he’s plugged in, I wouldn’t go back.

Technology is not just changing the way we live in unexpected ways, it’s changing the way we work too. On a visit to the Insight Show at London’s Olympia last week I was inspired by some of the incredible innovations at the cutting edge of Marketing. From the application of AI for continuously evolving sentiment analysis, to the latest in intent monitoring, to comparative linguistics for social listening. Some of the technology is mind-bogglingly clever.

For me, understanding the possibilities this technology brings to B2B marketing is something I’m fascinated by, and happily it’s also part of my job. But for many marketers, it can be overwhelming.

To start with, understanding which of these many new MarTech solutions will be most valuable to your business can be a mission in itself. Then finding the time, resources and budget to implement them effectively alongside the usual relentless deadline-driven tasks facing all modern marketing teams today is a whole other story.

I find that many of our customers fall into one of two buckets when it comes to new marketing technology.

Firstly, there are those that jump in with both feet. These businesses are ambitious in nature, they have selected and invested in the technologies that will help to drive their business forward. However, all too often they underestimate the complexity of implementing them and integrating them with their existing systems and processes. Investment in the right training can be overlooked too and the result is that these businesses only ever scratch the surface of the potential the technology promised.

Businesses in the second group are infinitely cautious, but perhaps more realistic. They understand that effective adoption of new marketing technologies will require a significant commitment in time, resources and budget which they worry they can’t accommodate or justify. As such, these businesses are slow to adopt new tools and are putting themselves at a competitive disadvantage.

Here at Torpedo we’ve always been pretty good at keeping an eye on what’s coming next, it’s in our DNA. But, if you’re contemplating your own digital journey, a bit of planning can go a long way.

If you’re struggling to balance your ambitions against the resources you have to hand, or wondering how to maintain business-as-usual at the same time as moving towards a smarter, more digital future there’s a useful approach that you can apply to help your marketing team succeed.

The Innovation Scale 

I first came across the notion of an innovation scale when working with one of our technology customers. They’ve been helping some of the world’s largest construction businesses transform the way they work through the adoption of new technology and I have found that it can be applied in many scenarios including the adoption of technology for marketing teams.

This approach, outlined here, is a simple way to focus your budget, time and resources to help you maintain success today and start a positive and achievable journey to a more technology enabled future. 

Incremental change (70%)

In every business there is technology that could be used more effectively, and the truth is this is where you can achieve the biggest gains in a short period of time. So, be pragmatic. Assign 70% of your budget and resource to doing the things you are already doing, but strive to do them better. Make the most the of the tools, technology and resources you have and utilise them to their full-potential.

Adjacent technologies (20%)

Commit 20% of your budget and resources to exploring and implementing new technologies that are a step forward from what you are doing today. This is where you will begin to build a competitive advantage.

Transformative innovations (10%)

Be ambitious, but in moderation. Spend 10% of your resource and budget investigating inspirational technologies that have the potential to have a transformational impact on the way you work. You won’t be ready for it today, but tomorrow isn’t far away.

Our proactive approach to technology at Torpedo is one of the reasons we enjoy long-term relationships with many of our customers. We work closely with their marketing teams and bring them along on our technology journey. If you’d like a companion to help you plan your own technology journey, why not get in touch?

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