Guest Blog: Cindy McIntyre
Digitally Organized Marketing
Finally the new product is almost ready for launch!! The marketing campaign has been finalized and the collateral produced. Now after months, or even years, of planning for this product it is time to get the sales force engaged. How are you going to disseminate the information? Have you really planned that out or looked at it on a long term basis? Are you going to do it “the way it has always been done”?
It is rare that there has ‘not’ been internal buzz about a new product as it gets close to market launch. Your launch plans include an internal awareness campaign. In most cases, you are leading this communication through email. Sure, it is a good start but more needs to be done.
Maybe you plan to have the internal launch at your annual sales meetings. What a great opportunity because you will have the whole sales team in one place. That means you can present the new offering, run a training session and you can have each sales rep walk away with both hard and soft copies of the materials. This is perfect!
Ah, but what if the product internal launch timing does not coincide with sales meetings or people miss the sessions? Now, how do you roll out the information and engage the team? How do you make that content available to everyone that needs it?
How you approach these questions will have an impact on the success of your product launch. Just making your marketing material easy to find, and readily accessible can have a huge impact on whether you will succeed, or fail!
We already have massive amounts of information available at our finger tips. The volume of information is increasing at an accelerating pace. We have all experienced the frustration when we just cannot find the information we need or want. There are numerous studies showing the shocking amount of time workers spend looking for information. Two such studies state:
- IDC showed that “the knowledge worker spends about 2.5 hours per day, or roughly 30% of the workday, searching for information….60% [of company executives] felt that time constraints and lack of understanding of how to find information were preventing their employees from finding the information they needed.” (Source: Information: The Lifeblood of the Enterprise)
- “19.8% of business time – the equivalent of one day per working week – is wasted by employees searching for information to do their job effectively,” according to Interact. (Source: A Fifth of Business Time is Wasted Searching for Information)
You do not want the sales team wasting time just searching for product information. You want them to be in the field selling. As a product marketer you need to have the latest product information available as soon as users want it, in the desired format, and accessible in the easiest way to find it.
Today it is easy to make everything available digitally and of course is has to be at everyone’s fingertips, online. But, having content digitally available does not automatically mean it is easy to access.
Marketing’s best Distribution Tool… is it Email?
One of the easiest ways to distribute information is through email. Everyone has email and everyone checks it regularly. There is no learning curve with email. Plus the content is on the individual’s computer/phone so it is always available to them. Much of your digital collateral can be distributed that way. The only problem here is that your recipients have to be super disciplined to read their email religiously. It also means they must be able to file and retrieve the email volumes efficiently.
Yes, some people will have that amazing discipline. Instead, the ones to worry about are the sales people who cannot quickly find the most current information when they need it. For these people sending hard and soft copies of the sales materials by mail or courier might work. All told, this takes time, effort, additional costs, and is entirely dependent on what the sales person does with the material.
Marketing, the simple solution is to provide a structured and managed environment. Becoming digitally organized means maintaining an environment where marketing materials are stored and easily accessible, like a Wiki. Before you roll your eyes and say ‘I have tried that and it did not work’ consider what the environment must provide.
- It must be
- Accessible remotely by the internal team
- Secure to avoid access by unauthorized external sources
- Intuitively structured: all product collateral filed the same way
- Able to host various file types
- Easy to use, be it for posting or retrieving
- It must include processes
- Such that product marketers post all collateral
- Ensuring content is reviewed and updated regularly
- Discouraging people from storing the content locally (on their hard-drive), but encourages them to go to the repository for the latest
- Maintaining security to restrict who may post content
A single product marketing manager can post collateral to a central site and can usually set up a section of that site with a structure that suits a product. This approach could help a single product or category, but it is not a complete solution.
Creating an environment takes time, planning and a financial commitment. Several vendors offer Document Management Solutions (DMS) and there is always the option of building a custom solution. Each company must work out their needs for their DMS and select their best option. Most organizations do not have the content management expertise in house so will need to hire experts to guide the development and implementation process. Once a system is in place the fun starts. Existing documents must be posted. This can be time consuming. To make the most of this new system, you must promote it to users, then train and encourage them to understand and use it. Despite the hurdles, benefits of such an environment are significant. Employees will have and use a structured, responsive and well-organized system to ensure they access only the most current information they need, when they need it.
Technology & Information
Almost everyone can agree on two things – most of us suffer from information overload, and technology is great … when it works. The challenge is to make technology work for you to help you manage information glut. You want the right information, in the hands of the right people at the right time. That means being digitally organized with your marketing. It seems simple, yet it does NOT ‘just happen’. You must have and execute a plan, with the right tools and infrastructure. Only that way can you make sure the people who need the information have it to drive your business to greater heights.
Just imagine that one of your sales reps is at a customer site making a pitch about your product when a question arises about an unexpected opportunity. Now the sales rep can present an expanded solution with a bigger impact. With that new digitally organised system, the rep finds the right collateral, it is the latest version, and they even have enough time to answer a few questions on the spot. SOLD. All because you were not just digitally marketing, but you had your marketing digitally organised!
To find out more about Knowledge Management options, reach out to Cindy directly at Cindy.McIntyre@tekon.ca
About the Author
Cindy McIntyre is a Knowledge Management Evangelist, experienced at developing knowledge sharing programs and driving best practices in organisations. She has a proven track record of leading geographically diverse teams to realize the benefits a knowledge sharing culture delivers to individuals and businesses. She can be reached at Cindy.McIntyre@tekon.ca