Sometimes I look at my smart phone, and I am amazed. There are tremendous capabilities, on this somewhat small device, which I rarely take advantage of. I talk, use email and text, take pictures, search the internet, and on occasion get a chance to read a book or play a game—but even that is rare. When I look down at the device, there is app after app after app that simply does not get used. I often tell myself that I don’t have the time to learn new technology, but do I really want to be left behind? Probably not.

A Nielsen study reported that consumers spend 85 percent of their time using just five non-native apps on their phones they have installed from the App Store, so I guess I’m in good company, so to speak. But it does make one wonder why we have all this technology and don’t use it to our advantage. If I could do more, and be more efficient, why not start today? I am going to… start today, that is… to learn and use one new app per week. That way, when the newest technology appears on the scene, I will be ready to utilize what is available.

When I get to work, I have the same feeling about marketing technology. There are so many different applications to make email more effective, ways to collect and use data, and so on, yet functionality often goes unused. And, if the majority of us are not utilizing what is available, what happens when technology changes, or the needs of our consumers change. Will you be ready?

Think towards the future. There may be a day when we communicate through devices that are part of the Internet of Things (IoT), like email message alerts coming from your fridge or car. If we’re not communicating one to one, or at least trying to today, we’re not going to be ready when new technologies are.

So my challenge to you is to try a marketing feature that you have not yet used, or that you under-use. Here’s a few suggestions:

Email Automation – Utilize customer behaviors to respond with real-time, relevant messages.

Email Preview – Ensure your creative appears like it is supposed to, no matter what email platform its viewed on.

RSS Feeds – Double the duty of email and include your RSS feeds within the emails.

Topic Codes – Track your subscribers’ interests and use that behavior data to send marketing information that is of interest to them.

And, there are much more. But just pick one—any one—and try it today. You’ll be glad you did.