I’ve spent the bulk of my career in B2B software and enjoyed ten years of it in the CMO spot. However, I have always been confounded, frustrated, and indeed embarrassed, by the fact that there is no decent enterprise marketing management software for managing marketing. While sales, engineering, manufacturing, finance, and customer support have identifiable systems of record, most marketing departments are still managed by spreadsheets and generic project management tools. As a result, marketing is messy, misunderstood and always reinventing the wheel.
It is doubly strange that the modern marketing department often has the largest technology budget. What isn’t obvious to those outside the marketing department is that all that money is spent on “individual contributor tools.” Every person in marketing drives a tool: designers have design software, online marketing managers have marketing automation, public relations managers have PR databases, and so forth.
Yet any CMO will tell you that marketing is a team sport. Just think of the number of people that might touch a simple email before it is sent to a customer: a product manager, a copywriter, a designer, a web developer and an online marketing manager would not be unusual. In fact, most of the money spent in marketing is spent on people. It is sad that so little attention is paid to managing that investment.
Markodojo is a labor of love and frustration. Every good CMO knows that great marketing results from the success of great marketing teams. Keeping marketing teams aligned with marketing strategy, fostering creativity, collaborating effectively, executing cleanly and staying in touch with customers and sales are ongoing marketing management challenges. It is incredibly frustrating when the tools at hand don’t measure up to the challenge.
The challenges of marketing management arise from the enormous diversity of marketing people and marketing work. Marketing projects come in a staggering range of size and complexity from tweets to trade shows. Each marketing role is unique, yet they must all work together to produce quality results. Moreover, marketing management requires ongoing collaboration with a wide array of contributors outside the marketing department, including customers, sales, engineering, vendors, industry influencers, executive teams, and so on. And today more than ever, marketing is expected to produce results.
In the course of my career, I’ve tried every available tool for marketing management: spreadsheets, project management, enterprise collaboration, and even simple white boards—they’re all weak and they don’t scale for marketing, because they weren’t designed to handle the diverse challenges of marketing management.
Don’t let the cute cartoon characters fool you. Markodojo marketing management software is a serious business software application built for the serious business purpose of helping marketing people do great marketing–not brands, not ads, not clicks: people. To this end, Markodojo blends marketing management, agile best practices and Internet collaboration to produce a platform that spans the wide range of marketing work, scales from small marketing teams to entire marketing departments and helps marketers reach out to customers, sales, and all their other relationships outside of marketing.
Translating these lofty goals into actual working marketing management software has entailed many difficult design choices. As we worked our way through these many trade-offs, a clear Markodojo design philosophy has emerged. What follows are the principles that have guided our choices in making Markodojo. I am sharing them here to help you decide for yourself if we have succeeded in rising to the unique challenges of marketing management, and if Markodojo marketing management software is right for your marketing organization.
Markodojo marketing management software takes a purposefully minimalist approach to agile marketing. If you are an experienced agile marketer, you may be surprised by its limited structure and lack of agile jargon, like sprints and stories. This is because Markodojo was designed to support agile principles, not a specific agile methodology. You can do a sprint in Markodojo, but you don’t have to. Markodojo marketing management software aims to enable marketers to be more agile in the natural course of business by following five simple agile principles.
These ideas are baked into Markodojo in such a foundational manner as to be almost invisible. We don’t want the agile to get in the way of the marketing. That said, we do expect to add additional agile capabilities based on customer feedback. In general, we believe that marketing management has unique challenges and as such requires its own unique approach to agile.
Markodojo is meant to be a collaborative center for your marketing organization in a way that is unachievable with individual contributor tools or simple task lists. Markodojo marketing management software aims to connect marketing teams to that center and then help them reach out from that center to all the contributors and stakeholders outside of marketing.
If you look at a traditional CRM or customer support system, you will see a clear demarcation between sales rep and prospect or support agent and customer, respectively. You will not see this distinction in Markodojo. Marketers are just another kind of Markodojo people. By removing the artificial distinction between internal marketing staff and external marketing collaborators, Markodojo allows you to bring people outside marketing seamlessly into your marketing activities and empower them with Markodojo marketing management software capabilities.
The primary way you empower people outside your marketing team is through sharing. Markodojo team members can instantly share their work with people outside the team, outside marketing and outside the company to collaborate or solicit feedback. The boundary between Markodojo and the rest of the world is very thin, but very secure. When work is shared, the person sharing it can decide what can be viewed, modified, uploaded and deleted, depending on the type of work and the level of collaboration or feedback required.
With the explosion of online marketing technology, it has become just too easy to see customers as market segments, social media followers and click-through rates, and forget the fact that they are real people. Plus, with all this high-pressure marketing work to do, who has time to speak to an actual customer?
Click-through rates may tell you what your customer is doing, but they will not tell you what your customer is thinking. To understand customer motivations, you have to get real feedback from real people. In fact, the best marketing is not just based on real customer feedback; it is based on real customer contributions in the form of reviews, testimonials, case studies and referrals. These things can only be achieved if your marketing team has real customer relationships.
Markodojo facilitates closer customer relationships by allowing you to bring customers directly into your marketing work and by enabling real-time feedback that is visible to your entire marketing organization. Today’s online survey tools have made it much easier to get customer feedback, but they suffer from the same “individual contributor” syndrome as every other marketing technology. They are used infrequently and their results lack visibility. The survey tools provided in Markodojo are quick to implement and deploy, and the real-time results are immediately shared by the entire marketing team. Markodojo marketing management software aims to help you make customer relationships and customer feedback the life blood of your marketing organization.
Everybody wants something from marketing. The executive team wants results. The sales team wants leads. The support team wants a community website upgrade. And every CEO seems to have a pet marketing project. The agile principles of incremental work and transparency are designed to help you manage these expectations by involving your stakeholders in the plan and giving them something immediately instead of everything three months from now.
Markodojo sharing enables greater transparency and collaboration with people outside of marketing. Project calendars, roadmaps and historical performance charts can all be shared to keep stakeholders apprised of marketing plans and priorities. Request forms that feed directly into project backlogs can be shared and posted on websites to facilitate feedback and collaboration. Ultimately, it’s up to you to manage the expectations of your stakeholders, but Markodojo makes it easy.
Traditional project management tools don’t scale beyond tasks and teams. Tasks and teams are essential, but marketing tasks and teams are always organically connected to other projects and people both inside and outside the marketing department.
As a result of this poor scalability and poor connectivity, most marketing organizations have poor marketing memories. Historical work, relationships, and results are lost in a myriad of disconnected individual productivity tools, spreadsheets and email boxes. By providing a center for marketing work and by connecting the marketing teams that perform that work throughout the marketing organization and beyond, Markodojo marketing management software creates the marketing memory that is the foundation of continuous improvement.
While we have strived to provide the foundational capabilities in this first release of Markodojo, our own product backlog is filled with many good ideas that did not fit into this initial release. Moreover, in classic agile style we expect Markodojo customers to be the ultimate judge of value. Please let us know what you think, and what we can do to help your marketing people create great marketing.