- Construct a technology road map based on business drivers to guide investment
- Consolidate applications into a platform with data and process level integration to improve efficiency and effectiveness
- Work to integrate marketing technology with the enterprise infrastructure to reveal deeper insights into customers, partners, and market opportunities
- Establish inter-disciplinary teams and processes to combat the silos point solutions can create
- Learn to leverage corporate IT to improve vendor management, due diligence, and governance practices
- Unsustainable complexity: Point solutions have come to market independently leaving it up to marketers to assemble them into rational infrastructures. This is a highly inefficient market model for buyers and sellers.
- Transition to platforms: The consolidation of point solutions into platforms has already begun. Many noteworthy acquisitions have been made by major vendors such as Adobe, IBM, Oracle, salesforce.com, and SAP. However, this phase of market development will not last long as markets move rapidly from platforms to “… as a Service” models.
- Digital and creative coming together:AdAge recently named IBM the number one global digital agency in the world. IBM is rapidly hiring from the agency world to build out its creative services. Adobe has deep and long standing technology partnerships with many top agencies. The agency world needs a value proposition that will allow them restore margins and regain strategic relevance.
- Interaction: The primary function of these solutions is to be customer facing
- Content: The primary function of these solutions is to facilitate the production and management of marketing content
- Data and Analytics: The primary function of these solutions is to store and produce insights from customer, operations, and financial data
- Management and Administration: The primary function of these solutions is to provide internal communications, workflows, budgeting and expense tracking.
- Company size
- Business model (eComm, B2C, B2B direct, B2B indirect)
- Vertical industry
- Mission of marketing (awareness, demand generation, etc.)
Using these factors, the map can be easily customized to show the current state, recommended next steps, and long term vision for just about any marketing organization. If you’re a pure eCommerce company the advertising and digital commerce areas will be much more important and sales enablement would disappear. If you’re a B2B direct company digital commerce might be a very low priority and sales enablement would loom large in your plans. Regardless of whether you’re CPG, Health Care, Financial Services, startup or global enterprise, we can build a map to get your marketing, IT, and executive teams on the same page with respect to your marketing technology requirements.
Dreamforce, Salesforce’s user conference, is always a phenomenon – boatloads of sales and marketing tips and tricks alongside the philanthropic videos and big name entertainment. However, it was these three ideas that impressed me most.
Marketing automation enters the age of the platform: The integration theme threaded through Dreamforce as the company unveiled Salesforce 1, a platform for the Internet of Customers. Providing a quality digital customer experience requires the integration of applications, data, messaging channels, and delivery mechanisms (including mobile and machines). Like an orchestra playing a piece of music, a brand is more richly experienced by multiple instruments simultaneously. Orchestration is the key. If the oboe plays independently in this corner and the violin over there, you can imagine the discord – even if they all work from the same sheet music. Integration, platforms, and clouds are themes I’ve also heard from Oracle Eloqua, Marketo, Adobe, IBM, Hubspot, and Microsoft. Most of these companies will fill in important platform gaps over the next few years to become winners (I think Salesforce will clearly be in this camp).
Why this matters: Marketing technology platforms will prod two big changes. Marketing will need to reorganize and become multi-channel and customer experience oriented. And although vendors playing nice together will be easier to do in the cloud than it was for on-premise software, CMOs will someday find it valuable to standardize on a platform (or “cloud”). Hopefully, they will have differentiated choices that optimize for different business models.
Growing importance of design: I was super impressed with the fireside chat between Marissa Mayer, CEO of Yahoo and Marc Benioff, Salesforce’s CEO. I found Marissa’s ideas on design most intriguing. It’s a topic you don’t hear much about in business circles, yet it was clear that her views on design informed her strategy for Yahoo and her leadership style. One of Marissa’s points – don’t design for the expert. Create a “big green button” for the thing people most want to do. Expert users can afford to work a little harder to get their bells and whistles. Simple things, if they are the right things, make a huge difference. Think about the impact of Amazon’s iconic Add-to Cart one-click shopping.
Why this matters: Change-agents (managers, marketing ops pro’s, communicators, etc.) would benefit from getting grounding in design. You might start with a little podcast I recently found called 99% Invisible.
Marketing in the moment: Marketing is speeding up. Few marketers remain unconvinced about the value of personalization. Messages are more effective when they leverage the viewer’s attributes. Now it seems that time is also becoming an impact point. Your message is more relevant if it pops up within the context of a real-time conversation. Some moments are daily habits – such as exercising, or conducting a task at work. Other moments are occasional, shared, and public – such as a sports event or an event like Dreamforce. Some moments can be planned for but others will pop up opportunistically and you need to be ready.
Why this matters: Marketers pay lip service to the concept of “agile” but marketing in the moment requires a truly different approach than planning a launch. Agility is what enabled the Oreo marketing team to steal the moment at the Superbowl. Read this Wired story to learn how they did it.
These are three ideas that I’m going to pay more attention to.
Cars with no drivers. Airport ticket counters with only touch-screens. Surgery with no doctors. Automation has taken over human jobs since the industrial revolution. But this trend may be accelerating with the “Great Restructuring“. Which marketing jobs will automation make obsolete?
Time magazine recently published an article titled The Robot Economy which highlights the types of jobs that will flourish (and which won’t) as automation expands. Time says,
“If your job involves learning a set of logical rules or a statistical model that you apply task after task – whether you are grilling a hamburger or issuing a boarding pass or completing a tax return – you are ripe for replacement by a robot.”
Marketing automation is one of the fastest growing sectors of the technology industry, growing at 11.8% in 2012 according to the IDC 2012 Worldwide Marketing Automation Vendor Share Report. Most marketers would agree that marketing automation drives gains for their companies – improved customer engagement, greater marketing accountability, better pipeline management, etc. But is it good for marketing people? The jury is out on whether automation is reducing marketing headcount. On the precipice of the 2008 downturn, the IDC Tech Marketing Benchmark showed a decline in marketing headcount as a percentage of total employees to approximately 1.5% and the number has sat roughly at that level for the last few years.
Winners and Losers in Marketing Jobs? Nate Silver’s book, The Signal and the Noise, is about making better decisions using analytics. In a chapter about chess, Silver summarizes a 1950 paper by MIT’s Claude Shannon on the benefits of a computer in making decisions versus the benefits of a human. Claude Shannon said that computers are better at decision-making because:
- They are very fast at making calculations
- They won’t make errors, unless the errors are encoded in the program
- They won’t get lazy and fail to fully analyze a position or all possible moves
- They won’t play emotionally and become overconfident in an apparent winning position that might be squandered or grow despondent in a difficult one that might be salvage
Claude Shannon said that humans are better at decision-making because:
- Our minds are flexible, able to shift gears to solve a problem rather than follow a set of code
- We have the capacity for imagination
- We have the ability to reason
- We have the ability to learn
Silver concludes that the reason why a computer like IBM’s Deep Blue could beat a chessmaster is that chess is a deterministic game, that is, there is no luck involved. In deterministic situations, where there is perfect information and perfect knowledge of the rules, computers do a better job. However, wherever there is uncertainty, a better decision will be made if humans help out.
Future proof your career. To ensure you head your career in a confident direction, gain competency in the following types of marketing skills:
- Solve problems that have never been solved before: Work that is genuinely non-routine, creative, or paradoxical – such as people or customer management, strategy development, and design. However, be warned that being creative does not let you off the hook for learning to use data to inform the creative process.
- Analyze for insight: While analytic tools will do most of the heavy lifting for us, humans will give meaning to the data patterns as well as to create models, frameworks, and stories for using the analysis.
- Make unstructured decisions: Unstructured decisions are those where no explicit process for deciding can be put in place – such as an EMT (Emergency Medical Technician). Almost every category of marketing has jobs like this. Put yourself in the line of fire, where there are tough trade-offs, and information is ambiguous.
- Persuade: Automation can take over lead nurturing by listening to online data, analyzing it for behavior patterns, and responding with the most relevant selection from a content catalog. However, blending a human with automation may get you better results. A leading tech company found that although they can go straight through to purchase using automation, that adding an inside sales person to the conversation increased deal size by 3x.
What ideas have you seen marketers implement to help future proof their departments?
- Marketers: lobby your top executives to make regular sales process training for marketing a priority.
- Sales executives: demand that marketing know how the different parts of your sales force work so they can more effectively develop prospects and serve customers.
- CEOs: get smart about your customer supply chain by applying the same level of due diligence and process discipline to it that you have to your product and services units. As a result, you will make much more effective use of marketing investment and be able to hold your whole customer facing team accountable for its contribution to your strategic objectives.
- Engagement – who’s downloading what how often from the platform
- Transactions – deal registration, order submission, billing update, MDF reconciliation.
- Execution– the number of leads their marketing has produced, how leads are progressing through their pipeline
- Social interactions – groups they join, how they participate, what SMEs they interact with.
- Performance data – closed deals, order value
Companies simply cannot excel at modern marketing without strong Marketing Operations. These professionals reinforce high performance by strengthening processes, technology, metrics, and best practices. A recent study by IDC CMO Advisory Service, in conjunction with MOCCA, found that the Marketing Operations function is flourishing and expanding beyond its original charter.
Marketing Operations has been a rising star from its inception. I like to compare Marketing Operations to the structural frame of building. Try to scale without steel girders and you get a weak and wobbly high-rise. Your marketing will also be weak and wobbly without Marketing Operations. IDC first recognized Marketing Operations in 2005 in its annual Tech Marketing Benchmarks study. Then, Marketing Operations represented 2.5% of the total marketing staff. The team became a fast-rising star – driven by the need for marketing accountability and the addition of marketing automation. In 2012, tech companies averaged 4.4% of their staff in Marketing Operations. IDC believes that the optimal percentage is between 4% and 6% of total marketing staff. Below 4%, a company will lack the necessary operational capabilities for solid management and transformation. Above 6%, a company should examine whether it’s time to infuse operational capabilities into other functions rather than holding them in a single role.
IDC’s Definition of Marketing Operations: Internal staff responsible for developing and orchestrating the processes and systems required to enable efficient and effective marketing. More specifically, marketing operations staff members are responsible for developing and managing the processes to ensure smooth operation of strategic planning, financial management, marketing performance measurement (including dashboard development), marketing infrastructure, marketing and sales alignment, and overall marketing excellence.
In this new study, called Marketing Operations Expands, IDC finds the Marketing Operations function expanding. It has progressed beyond its early charter of planning and resource management to become an important part of lead management and marketing technology among other areas. More than 70% of survey participants say their role has broadened in the last year and more than 80% say it has become more important. The top six responsibilities for Marketing Automation are: automation, analytics, process improvement, campaign execution, and planning/budgeting. Survey participants, many who are members of MOCCA, the marketing operations professional organization, told IDC that Marketing Operations is also spreading out from its original corporate center to regional teams and beyond its origin in technology companies into new industries.
How should marketing leaders view the expansion of the Marketing Operations role? On the positive side, Marketing Operations can serve as an important and exciting pilot lab for new marketing science initiatives. However, in many organizations, IDC observes that Marketing Operations risks becoming the dumping grounds for not just critical operational tasks, but also for most of the “odd jobs” in the department. Too much expansion, or the wrong kind, results in performance degradation.
For more information on the IDC CMO Advisory Service Marketing Operations Expands research report (which contains important information on organizational structure, skills, job scope, success factors, and much more) check the MOCCA website or contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.