Today’s marketing leaders can no longer just think of marketing. They have to think about their proprietary views of the marketplace, their competition, and how their businesses need to transform to compete in a digital world. They must consider how their marketing technology, operations, resources, and budgets can drive real business growth and change management. They need to understand how their organizations must evolve internally to meet these new challenges.
But, most of all, they must realize that the marketing machine built using a company’s technology is the model for business transformation.
My advice is to start with a systematic approach to driving change in your organization. Five steps will guide you:
1. Understand the evolving landscape: That includes consumer value systems, competitive context, and innovations on the horizon.
2. Make a case for change: Build a strong strategic positioning and business case through defined value creation and growth opportunities.
3. Define the future-state connected consumer experience: This will transform the business and deliver measurable growth.
4. Build the martech roadmap: Prepare for the future state through an assessment of organizational fitness and marketing technology capabilities.
5. Ready the enterprise: Activate the future state by delivering a future-fit organization capable of delivering the aspirational connected consumer experience.
While this article focuses mostly on numbers 2 and 5, the entire framework will help you understand the macro process for digital transformation within your organization. Let’s now look at the process of turning your martech stack into a marketing machine and the principles to apply to transform your business.
What Is A Modern Marketing Machine?
Combining business and marketing strategy with a scalable operational model that uses data and analytics to inform and optimize customer communications and actions on top of your connected enterprise martech stack—that’s a modern marketing machine.
The process of building, creating, and running this machine has all the core principles for you to digitally transform your business.
Business And Marketing Strategy Theme: Alignment
To get your marketing machine to hum, you need alignment across key functional areas in your organization. This is the collective tissue that drives your company’s ability to create a connected consumer experience. Shared goals, shared accountabilities, cross-functional teams, and the right people are the only ways a company can digitally transform. Functional alignments need to happen across marketing and business strategy, user experience, marketing operations, IT, and data and analytics.
Marketing Operations Theme: Efficiency
It may seem intuitive to want efficient operations, but let’s look at how marketing operations in the new world of digital create greater business opportunities in three key areas: technical connectivity, scale, and automation. The outcome of this process will translate to increased revenue, cost savings, greater speed to market, and increased per-employee productivity.
• Technical connectivity spans beyond your email system and website. You need to connect CRM, data, workflow, revenue, retail, and social channels to allow operations to implement your marketing/business strategy. Driving this connectivity gives your business greater insight to key business drivers, as well as provides levers to pull to improve marketing and sales alignment. For example, United Rentals recently redesigned and rebuilt its digital catalog, from browsing to booking. Along with a modern, mobile-friendly design, a slew of functional enhancements provided customers with the ability to discover, decide, and transact online—all without having to make a call.
• Scale allows your marketing operations team to drive greater output using available technology. It should help you think about ways to use your technology to save time and money. For example, having a global content-tagging taxonomy, putting all your content in your DAM, and providing channel rights to your global team will provide brand consistency and content production savings and increase speed to market.
• Automation provides the opportunity for reduced manual process and input, greater speed to market, and the ability to utilize new advancements in machine learning. By enabling your marketing technology to think and work for you, you can have your biggest expense—people—doing more strategic work. This thinking should extend through connectivity to your CRM systems to provide real-time, insightful lead information for your sales teams.
Data And Analytics Theme: More Money
The days of traditional marketing dashboards and data are over. Why care about clicks, opens, and page views when you have an attribution model that shows what activities your customers are doing that lead to sales? You can now repeat and automate those actions to increase sales and reduce costs. Why care about pipeline numbers when you can increase lead quality and allow sales to hit higher close rates? The depth of today’s marketing data and analytics capabilities should enlighten you and drive greater accountability across your organization, dispelling the old-school excuse of, “Well, we just don’t know.”
Fulcrum For Change
Your martech stack and the creation of your marketing machine is not just a capital investment asked for by IT or marketing. It’s not just an infrastructure necessity for privacy and security. It’s not just a website, an email platform, a data mart, or a blogging platform. It’s the impetus and fulcrum for driving digital and business transformation at your company. It’s a core set of processes and functions that extend across your organization. And it’s a driver for change, improvement, and modernization to compete in today’s modern digital world.