How should we approach campaign planning?
Here at the DMA I watched three vendors address the same retail campaign scenario - use multiple channels to invite customers to an event, follow-up and track their responses. At one level the pltatforms are very much the same. They use templates, flow charts, and allow for a variety of data integrations. What struck me though was the underlying philosophies of these companies as well as those in the exhibit hall.
First, some grew via acquisition while others grew internally. This is similar to the HR policy of hire the best talent or promote from within. Neither approach is inherently good or bad, but they do indicate the kind of relationship and challenges you will have with any integration. With the acquisition path the portfolio will likely have the functionality but integration may only be perceptual. With home grown, what you see is what you get and it will be tightly linked to one point of view; often the vision of the founder. Early adopters and risk takers may prefer the lateral thinking of the horizontal tools. Those looking for consistency and less technical risk may like the vertical stack.
Second, there are two philosophies circulating as to how to build a campaign. In one camp are the "build to rules" platforms. In essence these allow someone to implement what others have decided. In the other camp are the "explore to build" platforms that provide the marketer with the ability to take action directly as part of the planning process. This functionality comes from the genesis of these tools - they were analysis platforms first.
Both of these differences impact the adoption of campaign management within an organization because they tie directly to the skills, roles and responsibilities of the user community.
So, what are we trying to accomplish and what we will empower the team to do?