Building the Marketing Stack: Lay the Foundation with Good Software Tools
By: Cheryl Bascomb
Marketing and technology are converging. And that’s a good thing. What used to be a series of disconnected tools and software is now an integrated and often cloud-based marketing toolbox or “stack” (add hyperlink to the earlier AAM blog post) that allows us as marketers to be more efficient, more valuable, and more analytical. And those too are good things. Having the right tools helps you generate leads and support a strong, recognizable brand.
Tech Tools: The Basic Three
For effective marketing communication, lead generation, and business development, your firm needs three things (more are nice, but we’ll stick to the basics):
- A customer relationship management system (CRM) that is shared among users and houses all the relevant data about prospects. There are very suitable, simple versions that are free to use as well as robust and sophisticated tools that can require quite an investment. Tech tips: Unless you have strong buy in from your firm, get something simple and/or free. Make sure Marketing controls the data hygiene process to avoid having your precious database silt up with old and abandoned data. And don’t push the rope—even if you only use it for your clean contacts database, it will save you countless time and heartache trying to use your time and billing system information or Excel lists for marketing efforts.
- A content management system (CMS) for your website that is easy to use and allows you to create a variety of pages and other elements easily and quickly without involving programmers or specially trained people. Tech tip: Make sure you can update your website from anywhere (cloud) at any time. If the software is available only on the machines it’s loaded on, access and quick response—let alone feature upgrades—become very problematic. The CMS should make editing easy and disruption to the design of your site difficult. This allows you to have more users and fewer gray hairs resulting from user errors.
- An email marketing platform that allows you to send mass emails and provides you with performance statistics improves lead generation and gives your business developers more detailed information about their clients’ and prospects’ likes and interests. Tech tip: There are many excellent, free versions of email marketing tools (and many pricey ones), but read the fine print! Make sure you retain full control of your contacts. Check for auto-renewal options that might limit your flexibility.
If any of these are missing or not performing up to the standards you need them to, 2018 is the year to budget for a better version. These tools make you and your team efficient and keep your firm growing. Focusing your human capital on the right decisions, strategy, and actions more than makes up for the cost of worthwhile technology tools.
About Cheryl Bascomb
Cheryl Bascomb is the Director of Marketing and Business Development for BerryDunn, the largest independent CPA and consulting firm in Northern New England. She brings over 30 years of wide-ranging marketing experience to the 350 professionals at BerryDunn. She has worked in catalog and retail forecasting at L.L. Bean, Marketing Finance and direct-to- consumer products at UNUM Life Insurance Company, and cut her teeth as an Admissions Officer at Dartmouth College. Cheryl lives with her husband in Maine, has two adult children and enjoys outdoor activities and virtually all sports.Cheryl Bascomb is the Director of Marketing and Business Development for BerryDunn, the largest independent CPA and consulting firm in Northern New England. She brings over 30 years of wide-ranging marketing experience to the 350 professionals at BerryDunn. She has worked in catalog and retail forecasting at L.L. Bean, Marketing Finance and direct-to- consumer products at UNUM Life Insurance Company, and cut her teeth as an Admissions Officer at Dartmouth College. Cheryl lives with her husband in Maine, has two adult children and enjoys outdoor activities and virtually all sports.
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