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11 Ideas Driving the Modern CMO Cheat Sheet by

ideas     cmo

The Modern Marketing Organi­zation

The modern marketing organi­zation looks and behaves differ­ently, as well. It’s not an advert­ising factory. Nor is it the loose collection of marketing and commun­ica­tions discip­lines intended to intercept people from “360 degrees.” All discip­lines must be data-d­riven or, at least, data-i­nfo­rmed. Data tells us how marketing really works. We design commun­ica­tions programs around how journa­lists use inform­ation. Content marketing sparks sharing or the data tells us it isn’t relevant. We optimize the effect­iveness of digital advert­ising by pulling data-c­onn­ected levers in near-r­eal­-time. Integrated marketing doesn’t just connect marcom discip­lines long overdue for alignment, it ensures they are responding to similar data, insights and, ultima­tely, the customer.

This is about what it means to walk-t­he-walk today of the modern chief marketing officer and organi­zation. While ‘digital’ is certainly a part of that experience as is data, speed-­to-­market and so much more, it is not defined by any one of these. The job of the marketing organi­zation, in the approp­riated words of David Ogilvy, is to “sell or else.” How a leading marketing organi­zation does that today is very different than fifty years ago.

1. Embrace new digital behaviors

No question that the growing ability to move inform­ation across digital networks has and will change our behaviors profou­ndly. We shop differ­ently. We trust differ­ently. We make decisions differ­ently. In some cases these may be small, additive changes (we still look to an insurance agent to explain our choices even while we research those choices ahead of time via Google). In some cases these will be fundam­ental and disruptive changes. Predicting which will be which or the speed of change is hard. One tip for actually unders­tanding these changes better? Embrace these new habits within your organi­zation. Employees should be encouraged to interact with the brand and its customers online. How else will we understand these new digital behaviors if not by practicing them ourselves?

2. It’s a buyer’s journey

Hoping to romance and sway customers at the point of purchase alone will not win. We need to recognize that buyers telegraph their intent earlier and earlier in the journey towards buying something. And that their/our needs are different when we are unders­tanding a problem or need, gathering inform­ation or are actually ready to buy. Marketers must adopt the fundam­ental principle of designing marketing around the customer journey. Unders­tanding what a prospect or customer is trying to get done or decide that leads to initially discov­ering your product is a very different propos­ition than prompting them to pick your product now.

Mining data for insights and actions

Big data, little data – what we really need are more actionable insights from data and ways to trigger actions based upon data and insights. Data science is hard. While it takes more geeky collab­orators than the creatives who bring advert­ising ideas to life it is hardly an exact science nor does it need to be. Direct marketers believe the customer can be instru­mented to the point of becoming a truly predic­table wind-up doll. Or more accura­tely, they live and die by the numbers with little concern for the prospect or customer save for the action they wish to stimulate. The modern CMO never loses sight nor compassion for the customer. They see data and insights as a better way to empower a test-a­nd-­learn marketing machine.

5. Designed for testing and agility

Building a marketing organi­zation that can plan and create fast while turning on a dime isn’t as it easy as it might appear. It takes the A/B testing method­ology of direct marketers, the ability to create content, not just advert­ise­ments, quickly and in response to data, and the discipline of deciph­ering perfor­mance immedi­ately. Think about how that affects review and approval cycles. Creative and content are now never “perfect” but simply ready-­to-­pub­lish. In short, it changes everyt­hing.

6. A culture of collab­oration

No one discipline rules the roost and the only way to ‘punch above your weight’ in a world gone made with ad spend is to plan integrated programs and get every discipline to work together. Planning models can help. Fostering a culture where people are rewarded for collab­orating with a method of working by which the best collab­orators become the best marketers makes all of the differ­ence.

7. The addres­sable individual

Not all that long ago, we talked about building addres­sable audiences. Brands did that through their social channels and through partnering with mysterious companies in the ad stack that could create and maintain custom audiences. Meanwhile, the customer experience team defined an ambition to treat every customer as an individual promising to deliver increa­singly person­alized services relevant to the indivi­dual. The addres­sable individual – whether they are an existing customer or a prospect – is clearly where we are heading. That means thousands or millions, depending on your business, of micro-­seg­ments and ultimately indivi­duals getting customized treatment from the brand. What IBM and Salesforce label “the connected customer” where we evolve past segments to addressing indivi­duals will require a lot of technology and technology mastery to execute.

8. Being of Use

With an onslaught of media choices, channels, shows, messages and more, the one thing none of us have enough of is time. Marketers cannot hope to sell through interr­uptive advert­ising. It just won’t break through. We need to learn how we can be of-use to people such that we deliver welcome value. Great content, better or more complete service, person­alized value and even discounts, even new products can all address genuine consumer needs. We can shift from an annoying “push” model of marketing to a “pull” model where even our marketing becomes a welcome contri­bution.

9. Content marketing

Content is at the heart of the “pull” ambition for brands. Can we create useful and/or entert­aining content that connects with people at the right moments in their journey as customers (custo­mer­s-t­o-be)? Most organi­zations can create the white paper, the how-to video series, even the entert­aining content partne­rship (or more realis­tic­ally, the content ‘spons­ors­hip’). Building a content culture and machine inside the marketing function is a lot harder. As with many good ideas, the devil is in the doing (or the details of the doing). Applying a data-d­riven approach where speed-­to-­publish matters more than creating the one perfect commun­ication is hard. It’s not just a process shift with different job functions (e.g. editors and writers) but a culture shift as to what gets approved and out the door.

10. Reducing friction

It is difficult to draw lines between a marketer’s job and those directly respon­sible for a seamless and fricti­on-free customer experi­ence. As marketers shift from pure ad messages to creating content that is valuable to prospects and customers alike, they inevitably will think about ways to reduce the friction people experience when doing any kind of business with a brand. It can be reducing a few button­-clicks in a process, standa­rdizing form design, providing some useful how-to content. Every service intera­ction has the potential to strengthen a relati­onship and drive advocacy or do just the opposite.

11. Relent­lessly accoun­table

Building brand for brand’s sake only makes sense in the most market­ing­-ce­ntric of companies. For most other companies, we want to know how marketing drives sales-­related metrics. That requires getting more complex attrib­ution models, combining online and offline data, and subscr­ibing to the customer journey planning model. Most modern marketers know they need a “dashb­oard” – that magical interface that funnels all marketing and sales data into some natural synthesis. Fewer start by designing the measur­ement model that will facilitate marketing investment decisi­on-­making and perfor­mance optimi­zation. This step ensures that the dashboard displays meaning not just data.

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