If you have worked with marketing technologies for any length of time, you've encountered this problem. How can we integrate our CRM with the rest of our organization? How does CRM interact with our call center, website, applications, database, loyalty system, etc., etc.
We've been there.
Throughout our travels, we've picked up a few tips. Hopefully they'll help you.
- Tight integration is dangerous. Just don't do it. - Marketing technology changes faster than fashion. Today's latest and greatest is quickly replaced with tomorrow's new market maker.
- Integrate through marketing concepts not technical application specs. - Abstracting technologies through the use marketing concepts like 'campaign', 'offer', 'contact history', 'registration', 'enrollment', etc. Define what these mean for the organization and build a data structure flexible enough for all applications to contribute to those concepts.
- Databases and services are the lifeline. - Long term success hinges on ease of use and flexibility. Simple services allow for plug and play scenarios. Well designed databases create environments that record interrelated transactions based on their role or concept. This makes business people happy. They can measure, analyze and predict without spending precious hours compiling, cleaning, and organizing data.
- Think replaceable. - Always remember that what you are adding to your technology stack could be replaced in a year and you will need to re-integrate something else. How much of your current work will be thrown away? Minimize the one-time development and maximize your efficiency and cost savings to the organization over the long haul.
We like to think we aren't integrating technology. We are simply making all of our applications play nicely together.
There is much more to this topic, but these 4 tips can minimize your stress for ears to come.