Robert Chen knew that to gain a competitive advantage his company had to create a more personalized experience for its customers. 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, unfortunately for Chen, that didn’t mean all systems were a go.
Chen also had support for his initiative from his marketing colleagues. The issue was technology. Delightful Delectables 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 Chen, however, insisted that the vendor’s technology was outdated and that other companies offered tools that not only would meet Delightful Delectables’ current needs, but also were better positioned to be flexible enough to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.
Humphry preferred the incumbent vendor more for financial reasons, such as negotiation leverage, but would concede to Johnson’s decision. So Chen had to convince Johnson to take the risk on a new vendor. He had a double challenge: Johnson was comfortable with the existing company so she preferred to keep tools within the same platform; she also had established a friendship with the vendor’s key account rep over the years. Chen had to prepare for a hard sell.