Have you ever pondered the romantic possibilities offered by a nostalgic train ride out West, or a lazy riverboat cruise down the old Mississippi to some idyllic old plantation once inhabited by Rhett Butler and Scarlett O’Hara? “Never mind about loving me, you’re a woman sending a soldier to his death with a beautiful memory. Scarlett! Kiss me! Kiss me… once…” The only problem is, if you decide to do some celebrating into the evening like ol’ Rhett, there’s no trip to the Waffle House for you in the morning. No, you’re back on the boat, steaming to the next destination, staring blurrily at the lazy river and feeling a bit anxious like Scarlett O’Hara imagining what could be – if you only had a car.
When it comes to your marketing communication process, do you feel like you’re at the mercy of forces you don’t control? Like it all sounded great to let a service provider or software vendor guide the tour at the beginning, but now you’re yearning to take your process back? Like you’re riding down tracks laid by an unseen group of software engineers on a “development path” and wondering what’s around the next corner? Are you feeling the software “push and pull”, and too frequently more “pull” than “push” pulling you down a path serving someone else’s business goals and not the results your business demands? Aren’t you supposed to be in control of your business process and results?
I would offer some practical indications that you’re in control – that you’re driving your car and not drifting lazily down the river:
- Do you find yourself asking, “when will the programming be done?” like your children asking from the back seat of the car, “are we there yet?” Look for service providers that understand you need flexibility and options to meet your needs now while planning for the future.
- If you’re working with a truly competent experienced service provider, they’re not extolling the virtues of their software and guiding you down a path loosely connected to your business. Rather they’re working constantly to build an increasing understanding about what really drives your business first, then what marketing processes you have today and wish to build for the future to drive value and support your business objectives.
- The right partner is not starting a conversation by asking you if you’re using specific technologies like geofencing, IP targeting, etc., they’re asking questions that build an understanding about your business and process first, then offering innovative ideas to improve your process.
- The right partner will describe business results they have partnered with clients to achieve, not in technical terms, but in business terms. Not necessarily just citing ROI numbers, but process-driven solutions to business problems.
- The right partner is excited to take a challenge to their technical team, returning with options to discuss with a focus on fit, flexibility, measuring and relating results to your business. It never feels like your business needs are secondary to someone else’s roadmap.