In this last article of this series we come full circle to the first, where we discussed the changing role of marketing and how this impacts the CMO. The continuing emphasis on managing customer experiences and leading digital transformations is making the essential CMO characteristics we discussed in that article—being tech savvy, transformative, cogent and cohesive—imperative.
Marketing is touching more areas in the organization than ever before, as evidenced by findings from The CMO Survey, a study conducted by Duke’s University’s Fuqua School of Business and Deloitte, where 81% of respondents said their role has broadened.
If as a marketer you increasingly find yourself at the helm of multi-channel business strategies, and if your interactions with C-suite partners are increasing as a result, it will be critical to use your influence to ensure your company is ready to handle the sweeping changes that experience management and digital transformations will cause.
To see how you are doing and identify your aspirational next-steps, compare your company to the best practices of industry leaders in these five critical organizational readiness areas.
Executive Support and Visibility: Do senior executives understand the importance of your brand and customer-focused marketing initiatives and do they actively support the CMO in the cross-channel activities needed to execute on these?
The Evolving Company: Executives beyond marketing are aware of both branding and campaign activities. They understand the effort required to implement customer-focused marketing as well as the benefits. However, understanding is not shared across all members of the C-suite and initiatives such as experience management are not yet as widely embraced as they should be.
The Progressive Company: While the CMO is accountable for communicating progress and success, a diverse group of executives is regularly engaged in marketing, campaign and branding discussions. They understand the benefit of customer experience management and invite key marketing analysts and data scientists to board meetings, at which we are asked to report on changes to customer segments, interaction behaviors and digital adoption rates.
Skills and Training: Analysis: What level of analytical skills exists within your company and how widespread are these skills?
The Evolving Company: While there are pockets of strong analytic skills distributed throughout various business units, the overall strength in this area is not where is should be. Some of the strongest analysis skills live in the marketing group.
There is a high demand among marketing analysts for reports and analytics, thus we have request backlogs. This is sometimes backfilled with contract personnel and/or third parties. Analytic activity is kept in-house wherever possible.
The Progressive Company: Executives understand the value of analytics to run the business and expect employees to make fact-based decisions. There are substantial analytical skills in various business units throughout the organization and analysts, data scientists and statisticians are actively recruited and hired.
Existing employees are encouraged to expand their skill sets in these areas, and given a variety of educational opportunities both internally and externally.
Skill and Training: Technology Delivery and Integration: How strong is your IT department in terms of delivering and supporting applications? Do you embrace new technologies early in their lifecycle or prefer to wait until they become industry standard?
The Evolving Company: The IT group is pretty good at supporting purchase and implementation of applications like marketing technology. However, there is a substantial backlog of needed updates to legacy applications and bandwidth is limited. IT is developing a series of standards for lines of business that independently acquire new technology, including cloud applications.
The need exists to integrate some of our customer facing applications and series of projects is planned. There is a group tasked with identifying emerging technologies and they are contemplating the development of an innovation lab to expand this capability.
The Progressive Company: IT is a trusted partner that helps business units understand new and emerging technology, and supports their acquisition and implementation. There are standards for purchase and implementation of cloud-based solutions and are encouraged to do this where it makes sense.
Custom integrations are built where needed, and these extend to the cloud where appropriate. There is an innovation lab that allows users to experiment with new technologies and concepts.
Skills and Training: Marketing. What level of marketing skills exists within your company and do these skills include digital design (e.g., web, mobile, responsive, digital advertising)? How well do you understand the capabilities provided by the marketing technology ecosystem and how fully are these capabilities utilized?
The Evolving Company: The organization is strong in the traditional marketing oriented skills (campaign design, campaign analysis and reporting, content creation, graphic design, etc.). They actively develop or recruit more resources with the skills needed to run a digital marketing program (SEO, email & website design, social & mobile design, etc.) but may also rely on agency partners to augment our skill base in these areas.
The company understands many of the capabilities of our marketing technology but may not be fully utilizing all of these due to a variety of factors (e.g., inflexible business processes, social/mobile data limitations, etc.). Vendor training is provided frequently.
The Progressive Company: There is a full range of traditional marketing skills (campaign design, campaign analysis and reporting, content creation, graphic design, etc.) as well as strong digital skills (e.g., SEO, email & website design, social & mobile design, etc.).
Marketing tech is utilized to their fullest extent. On-going training on our technologies is conducted and the company participates in vendor user groups to suggest improvements and understand how others are utilizing the tools.
Collaboration. How does your company approach initiatives that require collaboration across business units? Is information shared widely across the organization and do tools exist to facilitate collaboration?
The Evolving Company: While obusiness units function somewhat autonomously, there is some successful cross-functional initiatives (e.g., data governance). Standardized repositories of company-wide information are set up and regularly maintained. Alerts and notifications guide individuals as to what has changed. Information is managed centrally and individuals are encouraged to continuously contribute new information and ideas.
The Progressive Company: All parts of the business, including third parties and suppliers, are fully involved through collaboration in the development and marketing of the products and services of the business. Employees are fully empowered to make and influence change. The business actively seeks ways to improve knowledge sharing and identify and remove roadblocks.
Didn’t make the chart? Then your marketing group is probably nascent. Because nascent companies tend to significant gaps in necessary skills, consider augmenting these with external resources. Evolving? Providing executives with education on both benefits gained and effort needed for experience management can set you in the right direction. Progressive? Congratulations! Progressive companies have a broad array of skillsets, strong partnerships with IT, and knowledge of the technologies available. You can stay on top by continuing to foster business unit relationships and employee collaboration.