Does marketing software really save you time? This argument has been around as long as computers have been available and there are three main points of contention that keep this debate continuing year after year.
The purpose of this article is not to convince you one way or another about whether you should implement software solutions in your marketing efforts, but rather to expose you to both sides of the argument so that when you decide to investigate marketing software solutions for your business you can weigh the pros and cons of each point of view.
The three most significant arguments about using marketing software center around these concerns:
1. Does the computer have the ability to “think creatively?”
2. Does the time invested to learn a particular software application save you money over the long term?
3. Is the particular computer application able to be customized enough to give you the results you desire?
There are more concerns than these, but for the purpose of this article we will examine these three.
Does the computer have the ability to “think creatively?”
On a base level, of course, the answer is no. The software is only as creative as the person who has programmed it. However, if the programmer of the software is familiar with the situation the user is attempting to automate and can create a series of “prompts” that will allow the user to creatively provide input as to generate a result that the user may not have created on their own, then the automation via software is a success.
For example, using a marketing plan creator software application that is programmed with a well-designed set of situation analysis questions can allow the user to thoroughly examine their market by the promptings of the questions. Often times, the user may not know what questions to ask but is able to answer them if they are presented in a methodical fashion. In this case the marketing software can be a powerful partner.
However, can this same marketing software write an effective and creative advertisement? Probably not, but it may lead you through a system of defining your uniqueness which should be the fundamental basis of your advertisements.
So while a computer can’t think on its own, if it is adequately programmed it can be a big help in crafting a marketing program.
Does the time invested to learn a particular software application save you money over the long term?
This will depend on the user and their proficiency with not only computers, but with their grasp of the specific subject as well. The demo videos that are shown to highlight a program’s features can often send a message that the software is simple to implement. But once you engage the program for the first time you begin to wonder how long this will take to master. This is not the responsibility of the software publisher alone.
Before undertaking an automation effort via marketing software you need to assess the computer skill level of those who will be using the tool. Perhaps the investment in time will not be worth the return the user will get by automating a particular marketing function.
Is the computer application able to be customized enough to give you the results you desire?
This final concern is one that haunts both the software publisher and the end user. From the publisher’s perspective, it is important to make the software generic enough to reach a broad market yet give enough customization to please the end user.
For the user, their primary concern is to have a software application that is not only easy to use but will give them the exact end results they desire. Having to settle for anything but their exact end-result desire begins to lower the worth of the software in the user’s mind.
The key to this concern is knowing, in advance, what your desired end result should look like and then have the software vendor prove the capability of their application up front. This will provide assurance for the user and reduce abandonment rates as well.
Automation has always produced a two-edged argument between those who trust their human intuition and those who want to improve their productivity. In reality, there is only success when there is optimal balance achieved between both the “human element” and the “mechanical element” (also know as the marketing software application.)