We’ve all experienced feature fatigue at some point during the buying process. Companies want buyers to know how incredible their offering is and what differentiates it from competitors. The smartphone that almost all of us carry today is the culprit I blame for this. Let’s take the iPhone for example. When Steve Jobs first introduced the iPhone, he articulated three main features:
1. Widescreen iPod with touch controls
2. Revolutionary mobile phone
3. Breakthrough internet communicator
But looking at the iPhone today, the device does everything—even though some users just want the phone feature.
Through-channel marketing automation (TCMA) is a category often compounded with feature fatigue. Forrester
includes 24 criteria in their evaluation alone, and even that isn’t likely to capture every nuance of the category. This can make purchasing a TCMA platform quite exhausting at times. In a previous article
, I touched on the ability to have all TCMA needs (i.e. Brand Management, Fund Management, and Marketing Services) within one platform. While having each feature improves the attractiveness of the product, it can also decrease interest for the buyers who need only one area (e.g. Brand Management or Fund Management).
How To Avoid Feature Fatigue During the Buying Process
As a TCMA buyer, what do you truly need? Perhaps you just need a Fund Management platform for your partners to submit artwork pre-approvals and reimbursement requests. However, the Brand Management features offer an intriguing solution for minimizing the number of required artwork pre-approvals. All of the features look shiny and nice, but they aren’t needed today. Your budget simply doesn’t allow for everything, but maybe one day down the road you’ll be ready to fully utilize an all-in-one solution. This is where a crawl, walk, run approach can be key to continued success.
Having a limited need doesn’t mean you shouldn’t still pursue a TCMA platform with all of the bells and whistles. Understand what the platforms offer you. Is the offering modular in nature, allowing you to only purchase the features you need at the time? Can you easily plug in other modules as your needs evolve? The last thing you want is to choose a vendor that only offers one feature (e.g. a printer with limited Brand Management capabilities) and be restricted by it later on.
TCMA sellers must ensure the buyer does not feel ostracized if they only need one feature set within the overall offering. It’s often in our nature to showcase all functionality and services, but doing so can cause confusion and frustration. To avoid overselling, TCMA sellers must properly define your problem statement. Use these four tips when choosing a TCMA platform to avoid feature fatigue:
Look For a Partner that Listens
The right TCMA partner won’t automatically assume you need everything within their solution. They should consistently ask the right questions throughout the engagement to properly establish your challenges, then solve for those challenges.
Seek Evidence that the TCMA Solution is Right For You
Seek examples and prototypes as much as possible. Case studies are most effective for this because they explain how a TCMA provider has previously solved similar problems. If you’re still not positive it’s the right fit, ask the seller to create a prototype that will help you better understand how you would utilize their product.
Plan For Your Future TCMA Needs
The entire TCMA suite may not be your ideal solution today; however, you can easily grow into the platform should your business needs evolve down the road. Anticipate change and seek a TCMA provider that can plan strategic moves with you.
Find Harmony Between Features and Urgency
While searching for the right TCMA platform, you will undoubtedly find the iPhone of the category—full of applications you don’t need now and may never need down the road. Sometimes a smart phone is at its best when it works primarily as a phone. Find the right solution for your needs now that has the ability to provide useful features to your business and your channel partners down the road.