Companies purchase software solutions to solve their problems and make their lives easier. Yet, how many of us can say that we’ve used a software or platform that did the exact opposite—that kept us mired in time-consuming workarounds, that didn’t help with essential functions, and over time became so ingrained as the status quo that there didn’t seem to be much hope of things changing?
At Appboy, we’ve worked with companies since 2011 to help them meet their mobile marketing automation needs, and in our sales cycles we’ve seen how certain issues can come up and deter companies from getting the SaaS solution they really need.
Many times legacy solutions have been purchased, and due to the inertia of companies dealing with significant market pressures, marketers make do with solutions they’ve outgrown, that require significant labor to maintain and operate, and that they’ve inherited or been directed to buy by leadership that may no longer even work at the company. This is especially true in the mobile space, as senior leadership sometimes has minimal experience with emerging mobile channels, and are in need of strategic platforms and partners to ensure they’re asking the right questions.
If this sounds like a situation you’re in, read on. Below we take a look at the three most common objections to upgrading or changing a marketing platform, and propose solutions to fix problems for the short and long term.
Sunk cost fallacy. Have you heard this one before? “We spent a lot for this system several years ago, thus we must keep it even though it barely works or no longer fulfills our needs.” Thinking the future amortized cost of an already purchased solution is often zero, CIO/CMOs don’t want to bear the cost, financial and reputational, that comes with scrapping a broken or underperforming system. Additionally, many companies have purchased a suite of products for marketing, as a “one-stop shop” or one-contract model, versus evaluating products on their own merit.
First, know that the future amortized cost is usually a non-issue for many SaaS software solutions—you are incurring cost for systems and can stop, usually within 12 months or considerably less, depending on the contract and renewal. You don’t have to keep throwing money into the furnace. You don’t have to use a cobbled together “cloud” or suite of solutions because of ease of entering into contracts, as these solutions don’t necessarily even work well together. Treat things with a square one, “what would I build with no previous constraints” approach, and seek to build a simplified infrastructure and process without making it too simple, to paraphrase Einstein. You can then iterate on a modern platform to address the current set of use cases as they arise, and benefit from all the associated increased revenue, engagement, and improvement in the customer experience.
Too much data = Analysis paralysis. Many marketers feel that all the data in their current MMA solution is needed and useful for driving successful outcomes, or providing answers to interesting questions. In the last few years, businesses have had an analytics bias, assuming that if you can collect all the data into a magical analysis engine, your business problems will be solved with clear answers to hard questions. It never happens this way. The people that start out from the bottom up almost always do better—start with the hard revenue, strategic and other questions, and then figure out how to drive incremental improvement.
This usually looks a lot more like an iterative/automated messaging and automation system, versus an analytics system which is “air-gapped” from the customer or business. Altogether, don’t be afraid to run iterative marketing experiments that allow you to gather intelligence from every campaign. As you bring together campaigns and user experiences that have been tested from the ground up, you’ll have a strong foundation to work from moving forward.
“Money and power.” This is related to objection one, but unfortunately marketing and technology budgets are often the major driver and result of political power, not outcomes or results. Companies maintain digital ad spending in the millions and even billions of dollars, when a purposeful reallocation of 1-3% of the budget to teams of dedicated individuals, working on tough retention problems and thinking beyond the acquisition campaign, often yield outcomes that are 100-500% or more ROI on their investment (salary, time, opportunity cost, etc.) by simply taking a different approach.
It’s better to treat marketing spend as an opportunity for growth, not a fixed pie to be distributed according to historical norms. Always look at a big problem as simply a set of small problems to be pondered and incrementally addressed (even if not “solved”). This leads to better outcomes than any status quo, and is much more efficient in allocation of investments to those which produce the best return. When you can build out a case for incremental investment based on outcomes and net new results, you’ll have a better chance of sidestepping if not overcoming political resistance to (re)allocation of budgets.