Even the most tech-savvy of marketers tends to skip over articles dedicated to middleware because, hey, that’s an IT topic, right?
Nope. While the term “middleware” may be more likely to come up in a discussion between IT professionals, there is some serious middleware magic that can make marketers’ jobs much easier and much more productive.
Let’s start with a definition. Middleware is software that provides services and capabilities to applications outside of what the operating system can do. In other words, it sits in between your operating system and all of the third-party tools you use to power your marketing initiatives. Think of it like a hub and spoke.
Why is that so important?
Think about all of the digital marketing tools you use every day. If you’re marketing a restaurant, for example, you have tools for mobile ordering, contactless payments, loyalty programs, offer management, email automation, SMS communications, win-back campaigns, and a CRM and CDP to collect and manage all of the various data. Your legacy POS isn’t capable of any of this on its own, so all of these third-party tools need to be connected directly to your POS system in order to have the digital presence your customers expect. Unfortunately, the backend of most legacy POS systems are notoriously clunky and difficult to work with. That’s why marketers end up asking IT for help and adding yet another item to their to-do list.
Fortunately, middleware eliminates the clunkiness.
Middleware is the only tool that needs to be connected to your POS, and then all of the other applications can plug into your middleware. Since middleware is much more user-friendly than the backend of a legacy POS system, updates and changes are much easier to make. (Even better, a good middleware provider will make the changes for you!)
While this can create a huge sigh of relief for your IT department, it also provides big benefits for your marketing team:
- It simplifies your technology so you’re less dependent on IT, which can save everyone time.
- It’s much more flexible than an out-of-the-box platform, as you can add and delete any third-party tools you want.
- It enables you to seamlessly adopt new technologies as soon as they’re released.
- It’s limitless as to what you can connect, which means you can get as creative with your marketing initiatives as you can imagine.
- Its flexibility also makes it easier to scale your marketing efforts.
- It modernizes your POS system so you don’t have to invest in a new one.
- It works in real-time to centralize all of your data so that it’s easier to calculate ROI.
- Its centralized data helps you make faster, smarter business decisions.
- It makes your martech stack far more agile, which is vital in today’s new normal.
- It centralizes visibility, which breaks down silos between different business units.
- It stores information in the cloud instead of your on-prem servers, which eliminates the need for you to maintain internal systems, provides more security, and is easier to scale.
See? You couldn’t have more magic even if you pulled a rabbit out of your hat.
The point is, consumers get more and more tech-savvy every day, and if you want to meet their expectations, you need to become more tech-savvy along with them. Thanks to middleware, you can interact with customers in brand new ways efficiently and easily.