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Pennies vs. People
Companies have to stop choosing the shiny penny over work needed to get the job done right

by David Bernard, Managing Director of DB Marketing Technologies

People always want the “shiny penny”  - especially in business, when the pennies are technology and the shine is the “cool” and “new” thing that will get the job done for less. The challenge is that pennies, even the shiny ones, are still only pennies. It takes people to make those pennies stretch to get the job done. And when you’re working with pennies, instead of even the dullest of dollars, there is little room for error. So you better have the right people with the right skills doing the right work or those shiny pennies will come up short and you’ll be left holding the penny bag with nothing to show for it.

Sad tales abound from year to year - whether it’s purchasing business intelligence software that fails to get marketers the answers they need, campaign management software that marketers don’t fully embrace preventing them from crafting and deploying their own campaigns, or most recently, the acquisition of huge and costly big data architecture and software that does not exponentially drive up business performance.

Every day, more and more businesses are lured in by the shiny penny. The promise of getting more for less - or even the same for less - is in complete alignment with current corporate executive marching orders. But what the penny peddlers don’t tell you is the work it takes to make the penny pull its weight. Implementing and using business technology – even the shiniest, newest application or infrastructure - requires three things:

  • Insight Development to tie the mountains of data to specific actions through analytics and KPIs.
  • Data Governance to structure and deploy that data so it is used effectively and consistently.
  • Operations and Executional Excellence to drive actions that ensure the right people get the right action at the right time.

These things require people. Skilled people. Pennies, regardless of how shiny they are, can only get you so far.

Don’t get me wrong - you need pennies. Tools and technologies are great enablers, but only when they are properly deployed and integrated. When short term gains through cost cutting are prioritized over investment and growth, resulting in insufficient expertise to make the pennies work, everyone loses. To win, you need both shiny pennies and skilled people.

For more information about how DBMT® can help your company with Marketing Technology Selection and Implementation and/or Marketing Operations, please email us at info@dbmt.com or call us at 212-717-6000. We'll make your CRM infrastructure work.


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