To the modern sophisticated marketing professional, the concept of a MarTech Health Check might seem a little bit of a convenient, maybe even unconvincing buzz-phrase for Consulting organisations to throw around when looking for ways to spend your hard negotiated marketing budget. After all, it’s not like your system gets ill, is it?
Or is it?
Why is a Health Check important?
To make sure we’re all talking (or reading) about the same thing, what is a Health Check exactly? Put simply, it’s a detailed evaluation of your MarTech system, the business processes that govern it (e.g. the Campaign Briefing process), the experiences of the users who use it. A thorough Health Check might review the underlying data you are using, the way you create and reuse marketing assets, overall system stability (taking into account factors like deliverability, latency, security setup), knowledge gaps and training needs, and a whole lot more besides. For an on-premise MarTech system like HCL Unica or Adobe Campaign Classic, a Health Check might include hardware and software considerations, even housekeeping requirements.
The problem is, Everything Changes, as my learned colleague Gary Barlow pointed out in lyrical form. Over the lifetime of your average MarTech (let’s say at 3-5 years) a lot of things can change. Your business will change, it will (hopefully) grow and evolve according to shifting market forces. As the business changes, the way you talk to customers, the channels you favour, the tone you use to represent your brand will vary wildly, in a way that would be unrecognisable just a few years earlier. It’s not just the business either, your users will change – at best, they are still in the company, but their experience has grown and with it their expectations and requirements of the MarTech more sophisticated; at worst, they are long gone several people ago, and the people who ultimately replaced them have a very different understanding of the system. A common issue we see is with retraining of replacements, where if you are lucky there may be a crossover of a few weeks from one person leaving to another one starting, often leading to profound holes in their understanding of what the system does for you, or what it could do in the future. If you’ve hired well (see our Purple Squares, Purple Squirrels article for more on that), then the right kind of candidate won’t be adrift for long at all before they get to grips with the MarTech and bend it to their will, but even then “it’s done that way because it always has” can become the norm if you aren’t careful to approach everything with a challenging, inquisitive mindset.
It’s not just mature systems that can benefit from a Health Check either. Over the years we’ve experienced many MarTech systems that have only recently gone live, only to find it’s not quite doing what they wanted. A common issue post implementation is that design workshops that made so much sense a few months earlier, in the real world don’t play out with the way you need the system to work. Having an in depth warranty period (which we always recommend) as part of any implementation is a way to minimise this factor, but you can never fully eliminate it. Maybe you can’t put your finger on the reasons exactly, but if you can’t get answers to the questions you always wanted to know when you pick up the tool, it’s not going to be long before you don’t pick it up anymore.
Whatever the maturity of your system, there is absolutely no substitute for a fresh pair of eyes if you are committed to getting the most out of your investment in technology and the talented people who operate it.
To find out more about how the Purple Square Health Check process could benefit your business, get in touch today.