Avoiding the Legacy Trap

Avoiding the Legacy Trap

| Marketing Technology

In many organisations, old technology and burdensome processes are a fact of life. It doesn't have to be like that. Businesses can do better.

June 28th marked a notable milestone in technology circles, albeit one that most people likely missed. It was the day that Japan won its war against floppy disks. At least, that's the claim of Taro Kono, the country's Digital Minister, who celebrated the repeal of numerous regulations requiring their use when submitting data to the Japanese government. Mr Kono has previously led a bid to end the use of fax machines, another legacy technology still used in Japanese government and business. In doing so, he has driven the adoption of digital business processes that are increasingly common in the West, but had hitherto been ignored by more risk-adverse executives within Japan.

Marketers stopped using floppy disks and faxes years ago, but their continued usage in Japan does serve as a warning about the risks of legacy business processes and old technology. Both faxes and floppy disks persisted in Japan because the commonly accepted methods for sending contracts and official documents required their use. Like many business processes, the accepted way of doing things was drawn up in the 80s or 90s as new technology became embedded in business. The same process continued to be used until the current day, even after better methods became possible due to the introduction of newer digital technologies. Marketers need to be careful of the same trap. The only constant in modern business is change. It is vital that business processes adapt to fit the current marketplace.

The Year of Migration

B2B Marketing is no exception. The typical marketing plan has radically transformed over the last decade. The introduction of new strategies and new technologies has unlocked revolutionary new techniques that were unheard of only a few years ago, while the rapid development of AI means those capabilities will only continue to improve. Even foundational marketing tenets are not safe from the march of new technology, as proved by the ongoing debate about the role of the humble MQL in an ABM-first organisation. Given the pace of change, it is essential that every tactic and technology used in your marketing calendar is reviewed regularly.

Long gone are the days when companies were reluctant to migrate critical systems. One of the major trends of the year so far is simply the sheer number of businesses migrating either CRM or Marketing Automation systems. I've spoken to a wide range of companies that are switching or consolidating their core marketing and sales platforms. People aren't necessarily consolidating onto the same tech stack either. I'm seeing just as much diversity in tech stacks as we saw in the past. It's just that companies are much more willing to jump to a different platform when business needs change.

Constant Evolution

It's not just technologies that need to be reviewed regularly. Business processes and compliance frameworks need to be audited as well. Marketing Ops teams should be constantly looking out for potential process improvements and operational efficiencies. Conducting a regular dialogue with stakeholders across different marketing functions and business departments is essential. Look out for new business requirements, as well as common complaints. There are always opportunities for improvement in any organisation. Make a note of the concerns raised, and feed them into your marketing roadmap. You don't have to solve every issue immediately. However, understanding everyday challenges and evaluating solutions to common problems is a great way of proving the value of marketing operations to the wider business,

In Brief

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Written by
Marketing Operations Consultant at CRMT Digital specialising in marketing technology architecture. Advisor on marketing effectiveness and martech optimisation.