Seven questions to ask yourself before you invest your time and money
There are a lot of good marketing products out there, and I bet that your phone and email are inundated with hopeful sales folks trying to convince you that their product will help you sleep better at night.
The truth of the matter is that marketing software can make a significant impact to your bottom line, but how do you evaluate if these products are worth your time?
Here are some questions to ask yourself and your team before meeting with product providers and setting up demos.
1. What do you want to achieve with a new product? Why am I looking? Do you want a campaign automation product or a BI/Reporting product? Think to yourself about what you have and what you are looking to change. Are you looking for more automation, more robust reporting? Make sure that you consider your future marketing strategy needs as well.
2. What features are important to you? Every casino/business has unique needs when it comes to a new system. Make a list of your needs.
3. How much am I willing to spend? You should have a range in mind that you are willing to pay for the new product(s). Think of a low to mid-range, with a maximum amount that you are not ready to surpass.
4. How sophisticated are my current team members? Can my current team handle a complex system that is more open for complex strategy, or do I need to stay with something that is more simple and automated? You can find a product that is simple and easy to use that will meet your complex marketing needs. Some companies allow open source coding for more sophisticated users, so if you are one of those, make sure that you ask about what you can access to build on your own.
5. How many source systems do I want this new software to integrate? How will this work with what you already use? Again, there are many products out there. Some work only with the Player Management source system, and some can connect to multiple systems through an API (the cost may be significant, based on the systems) to PMS, Hotel, Dining, and Social networks that you may want to connect to. Is the connection to be one direction or bi-directional, and what do you need?
6. What kind of training, on-site services, and support are included in the purchase? Some products come with extensive services, and some will install, train, and leave. Make sure that you understand what you need and what you are getting from the provider.
7. Do I already have what I need or want, and not even know it? This question is a big one! A lot of clients don’t know what they have. I have worked with clients who didn’t realize that they had promotional options, or that the system could work a certain way to execute a different type of campaign, or that they could, with a little help, expand their current ability of the Business Intelligence capabilities.
Once you answer these questions and understand the implications, you will be able to direct your search to the companies that meet these qualifications and rule out those that don’t have what you are looking to accomplish. The list of questions will also assist with keeping you focused on your needs while you are meeting with providers. The goal of the provider companies is sales, and some will be happy to oversell you in order to meet their quota. I have seen this in my past, especially if you are not clear on what you are looking for.
Hiring and working with an unbiased consultant can help you see through all the sales pitches. They can work to understand what you are looking to accomplish, in addition to understanding what you have and the full capabilities of what you currently own. They will help whittle down the selections to a few choices that will fulfill your needs from the huge array of technology options out there.