After years of working with in-house tools and best-in-class SaaS solutions, Blueport’s marketing department has a few words of caution for our kin who are working to gain control over their own technologies.
Know What the SaaS Will Really Offer Your E-Commerce Website
There is an ever-increasing number of technologies being pitched to marketing as being the key to higher conversions, with easy-to-use interfaces and “little IT involvement” required. But beware of false promises and flashy demos. For every app that really makes your life better (like social media posting apps), there are apps that will only add to your workflow, not your bottom line. Many seemingly promising apps turn out to be so limited and inflexible that in a month your ideas will have exceeded their capabilities. Even worse are the apps that make website pages grind to a halt as they call numerous third parties to display data in a fancy new interface.
Technical Resources Required
One of the benefits of your internal development team is their ability to help identify your needs and find a real solution. While the solution may be found outside your company, marketing will still need business analysts and vendor managers to help evaluate and maintain these new services. These professionals, which typically sit in the IT part of the organization, will have insights and questions that are not evident to all in the organization. These same talents are needed to ensure these services are implemented correctly and doing what you expect them to do on the client side – many of these SaaS provides offer little handholding around the backend of things. I would caution marketing to be too willing to take over their own IT projects without first having these resources in place.
Tracking All Your Systems
Lastly, be aware that tying these systems together with other marketing efforts and internal systems to gain a complete view of your customer becomes more and more difficult with each new service. Each service will come with its own usage data, which may or may not conflict with other information you have. Make sure this new information really adds value, and not just inactionable data.
When IT and Marketing Collaborate, There’s Some Letting Go
For e-commerce companies and the like to truly advance and be competitive in a world where the latest technology consumers want to experience may come from anywhere, marketing and development leaders should sit down and set some ground rules as to who makes the calls – with input from the other – on what functionality. In other words, they should draw the lines between core (IT’s domain) and subject area (marketing) expertise. On an e-commerce site, the key shopping cart workflow would be ultimately owned by development but product reviews would be marketing’s domain. While it is necessary for each side to provide input and support on changes and technology, clear owners will help keep projects and advancements moving along.
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