Houston, we have a problem.

Houston, let's buy a new Web CMS and new marketing software program.

Whoever is talking to Houston is not thinking straight, according to Scott Liewehr, president and principal analyst at Digital Clarity Group, a New York City digital research and consultancy firm. 

"Stop looking to technology -- or a CMS -- as the answer," Liewehr said. "It is usually not the reason for failure nor the reason for success."

Today, we deliver the sixth and final piece in our "2014 Must-Do" series -- why technology or Web CMS isn't the only answer. Earlier this month, we talked about  measuring marketing campaigns' impact, shutting up and listening in B2B marketing, how blogging is essential these days, getting back to basics in Web CMS and becoming agile in B2B marketing.

When Technology Impedes

Simply, technology can be a burden. We all need it. Crave it. Can't live without it.

But we're forgetting, Liewehr said, that a lot can be done "that only requires basic capabilities."

"We often find marketing teams that feel the need to buy -- and implement -- shiny new technology before they can effectively do their jobs," he added. "Campaigns, content and good marketing practices are delayed for months or years while technology selections and implementations take place, consuming thousands of hours and dollars."

Then what can happen? Promises are unkept as advanced features don't deliver as expected or are delayed until the inevitable "Phase 2."

"Inept marketing enabled by outdated technology is still inept when enabled by contemporary systems," Liewehr said. "Yet great marketing is great regardless of the capabilities of the platform."

Liewehr emphasized his message is not about eliminating technology from orchestrating marketing campaigns. Naturally, there are systems in need of upgrades.

However, he added, in about half of the Web CMS selections his organization does, it finds marketing teams that aren't doing the basics because they're waiting for their shiny new system to somehow do their jobs for them.

Often, the must-have capabilities of the new system (e.g. personalization, etc.) are left un-implemented even after all the waiting and justification, Liewehr told CMSWire.

"Certainly, upgrade to contemporary platforms or add capabilities to increase the effectiveness of existing marketing," he said. "But the technology itself will not make bad, ineffective or non-existent marketing better."

Learning Opportunities

Our CMS is Broken

So an organization feels its CMS is broken. Or it doesn't have a proper marketing automation system. Or its analytics tool is too basic and can't help with targeting.

Liewehr hears this all the time. What he sees, though, is marketing teams using these excuses as crutches to "basically stop innovating from a pure marketing standpoint."

You have a CMS that is indeed outdated. You have your sights set on a new CMS. But it's 12 to 15 months from its go-live date. And you wait to implement marketing campaigns until it's in place?

"Where's the logic in that?" Liewehr asked.

Sure, authoring/publishing content may not be the most efficient it could be right now, but does that mean you can't keep writing some healthy content to keep your customers and prospects engaged? Does it mean you shouldn't still look at your analytics logs to see what content is being viewed most? Does it mean you can't go create that engaging three-minute video to address how to use your product? Can you not find ways to empathize with the challenges and desires of a few personas or segments from your audience and develop some good content for them?"

Liewehr stressed he's not a marketing guru, but he said plenty of marketing can be done the good ole fashioned way.

"And we don't have to have the latest-and-greatest technology to do it," Liewehr said, "or else we'll always be chasing our collective tails."

Content on your site not engaging? Does your audience leave as fast as they came?

"I'm about 99 percent sure that has zilch to do with the technology powering your digital presence," Liewehr said. "Takes longer to post? Requires more effort? Sure, that's more like it, but those are internal problems. Your audience does not care."

Title image by Vanatchanan (Shutterstock).