Management has approved the budget, you've spent months strategizing and planning, and you finally have a launch date set for a marketing technology or website update that is set to change your business. Every organization goes through this with nearly 700 websites going live every minute.
Hours go into the preparation, including plans around architecture, customer experience, and account strategy. However, often times nobody is thinking about what life will be like after going live--the time most rollouts fail.
What happens when a new employee is appointed to managing the technology? What about when a prospect is acquired and becomes a new company? How can we ensure that the application continues to adapt to meet our changing business needs? It's these types of questions that organizations need to be more proactively asking.
Not only does a marketing technology strategy need to have smart thinking on the forefront, but it needs to have a framework in place to evolve with the ongoing business needs that are guaranteed to change over time.
So how can you avoid a marketing technology flop? Here's where to start:
• Be aware of system limitations: You have to determine where your infrastructure may have holes, including how much activity it can handle in a certain amount of time. A new website is no good if it crashes the day of a product launch when traffic increases. Prior to going live, ensure that testing takes place that factors in the various situations your infrastructure will be tasked with, and have a plan in place for situations where the infrastructure could be overwhelmed.
• Create a common language between IT and marketing: Many rollouts fail because the communication was lacking between marketing and IT; marketing has plans for a future campaign that is not supported with the new system, and IT isn't aware of it until something breaks after going live. It's important the two functions talk to one another to ensure they have an agreed-upon game plan both pre- and post-rollout.
• Proactively monitor performance: Don't wait until something breaks. Instead, monitor how you're doing after going live and determine if your infrastructure is meeting pre-determined goals. Set up regular review meetings to initiate corrective actions as needed, so you don't get into a "set it and forget it" mentality.
• Line up strategic support: Every technology rollout comes with the ongoing need for both tactical break-fix support as well as strategic updates required to meet digital marketing needs. Determine who will be handling issues that come up after going live and equip those employees and outside consultants with the tools they need to do the job successfully. If you're enlisting a third party to help, bring the project manager in during the planning stage to ensure that he or she is in the loop and can bring that same strategic thinking as the technology evolves. Also consider keeping a resource dedicated to managing that evolution and keeping the investment relevant post-launch.
It can be challenging for organizations that invest tons of time and resources on a new technology project to continue that cadence of work after the project is technically "launched." The tendency is to move onto other things until someone calls out a need for a fix or there's an error that is causing issues for the business.
But this is where a company comes out on top or flops. So how do you avoid long-term failure? Make sure that an evolution plan for both your marketing and technological efforts is a key part of your rollout strategy.