Recap: Robert Chen, newly appointed VP of marketing analytics for Delightful Delectables, wanted to introduce real-time recommendations and retargeting to the company’s marketing repertoire. The CMO, Blake Corsale, gave full backing for Chen’s initiative. But, CEO Glen Humphry and CIO Carla Johnson favored the marketing and analytics technology vendor currently in place and preferred to purchase additional tools from that company to support Chen’s efforts. Chen, however, insisted that the vendor’s technology was outdated and that other companies offered tools that not only would meet Delightful Delectables’ current needs, but also were better positioned to be flexible enough to evolve easily as the gift company’s needs changed to meet new customer demands and expectations. Chen had to prepare for a hard sell.
August winner: Linda Neumann, marketing and client services director, Brilliant Marketing Ideas Inc.
Chen should write a needs analysis and present it to both vendors, including the company’s current needs and what he wants to do for the future. Then he should have both vendors present their solutions to, at a minimum, CIO Johnson and Chen (inviting CEO Humphrey). He can explain his perceived growth needs and have the vendors discuss how they’ll serve Delightful Delectables over the long term to meet those needs. He might be surprised by the vendors’ responses, but he will at least present his point. After seeing what both companies can do, Chen should have a discussion with Johnson based only on the facts of the technology and what’s in the best interest of the company. If Chen’s decision is truly the best for the company, it will be obvious and will be an easy decision, and hopefully Johnson will make the best decision for the company overall.
?Peter Mendelson, CMO, Raiseworks
When should immediately set up a one-on-one, face-to-face meeting with CIO Johnson. During the meeting Chen should articulate how the proposed recommendation and retargeting software through personalization will create a competitive advantage for Delightful Delectables resulting in higher response and reduced cost per sale.
Hopefully, after this meeting they can bring in the proposed supplier for a meeting. The new supplier should be prepared to offer a free trial of the technology on a small scale for a proof of concept. If the POC is successful, the supplier should sharpen its pencil and provide excellent pricing and payment terms, which will satisfy CEO Humphrey, with the caveat that Johnson has been made comfortable that the new software plays well with the existing suite of services.
Then, when the marketing campaigns are successful, Chen should share credit with Johnson—a true win/win.
?Lawrence A. Tillinger, proprietor, SFLI
Change a hard sell to a soft sell. Let Johnson have her way. Work with the current marketing and analytics technology vendor to update, and make more flexible, its current offerings.
?Michael Smith, marketing designer, Tri-Win Direct
Chen doesn’t need to argue for or against a new vendor. The vendors need to make the argument that they are the best solution.
First, Chen needs to develop a detailed plan for this more personalized experience. Second, he should contact the two technology vendors letting them know exactly what he needs, and set up a meeting with each vendor to pitch their solution with the CIO, the CMO, and the CEO.
Now Chen doesn’t need to argue at all. The vendors are making Chen’s argument for him.
If the incumbent vendor has the tools to do the job well then there is no reason to switch. If the incumbent can’t provide what Delightful Delectables needs, then it doesn’t matter who Johnson is friends with or how much negotiation leverage is available.