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‘Empty Software’ stifling marketing innovation

The latest study from martech specialist Emarsys reveals that businesses and their marketing departments are struggling to switch on the marketing technology they’re acquiring, preventing them from achieving company-wide objectives. In fact 28 per cent of all software deployed on PCs is unused and ‘Empty Software’ is the culprit accounting for $224 and $266 worth of vacant software sitting on the average desktop in the US and UK respectively.

‘Empty software’ is where a business purchases marketing technology based on the assumption that it will provide value quickly, but the software itself is not populated with the data or programmes to deliver that value. Equally it also reveals usability problems, as it becomes clear that practitioners are unable to make best use of all features and functions, due to the complexity of platforms and a lack of adequate training in how to use them. This experience leads to significant widening the overall technology adoption gap and having a direct impact on the productivity gains marketers should enjoy from their marketing technology platforms.

Mike Doyle, head of marketing at surf and street fashion retailer, City Beach says: “Many marketing teams (and businesses) suffer from a technical knowledge gap and lack of evaluation of marketing technology, opening the door to snake oil sales people pitching empty software and false promises. Things are changing, but most software still demands an unreasonably high level of technical knowledge to learn, implement and maintain. But most businesses aren’t blameless – the selection process for solutions often neglects to answer one important question… ‘what business problem does this software look to solve.’”

The study also looks at a new use case for AI in helping accelerate the return on investment offered by smart technology that marketers are struggling to attain. Aside from its role in automating and personalising communications at scale, AI can also generate the initial data marketers need to get campaigns up and running, but often don’t have. Whether it’s ‘filling up’ Empty Software, or making full use of what’s already in place, AI can deliver the scale and speed human marketing teams can’t.

Grant Coleman, VP-UK, SC, UAE at Emarsys said: “Any successful tool, needs to be straightforward and simple to use, as well as being effective and productive. Look at the phenomenal triumph of tablets and smartphones. Their success lies in their usability. The same goes for marketing: we need to take the technology out of the software. This study proves that the marketing technology industry needs to step up and move away from the toolbox approach by providing software full, not empty of knowledge.”

Coleman concludes: “Bridging the technology gap requires a clear objective that a solution can and will help you achieve. When we map out what we’re trying to achieve as marketers, we need a path to follow, and a methodology where we can backtrack if need be, tracing results to the points that got us there, all the way up to the initial intended goal. An ‘Objectives-Strategy-Tactics’ mindset is one workable method to start evaluating your marketing processes.

“This approach is less about changing what you’re doing now, and more about reverse-engineering and optimizing the methodology to ensure your solutions deliver the desired results.”

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