Marketing's new contemporary definition recognizes four key tenets.
Posted Nov 1, 2005
When storm clouds begin to build my weather alert radio springs to life. The computer-generated voice gets to the point, and then calls for action. "The National Doppler Radar System has indicated that local conditions are right to produce severe weather. High winds, damaging hail, and flash floods are likely products of this storm. Seek immediate shelter."
No doubt you've noticed that today's business climate has the ingredients for generating the perfect marketing storm. Imagine the message from a CEO alert system. "The CEO alert system has indicated that conditions are right to produce severe stock value turbulence. High discounts, damaging customer churn, and flash flood mass marketing are likely elements of this storm. Seek immediate shelter with a new CMO."
Does your CEO seem to be in a perpetual red alert? If so, you are not building a marketing organization that is capable of successfully guiding your company in today's business climate. Marketing has a key role to play in strategic planning, because it is the job of marketing leadership to understand and manage the links between the business and the business climate. There is a tremendous opportunity for marketing leadership to defuse the marketing storm by building a marketing-ready enterprise.
Building the marketing-ready enterprise
What is a marketing-ready enterprise? One that is focused on its marketing strategy--and the execution of that strategy--to create a sustainable competitive advantage resulting in value for both the customer and the organization. The American Marketing Association defines marketing as: "An organizational function and a set of processes for creating, communicating, and delivering value to customers, and for managing customer relationships in ways that benefit the organization and its stakeholders."
The marketing-ready enterprise delivers on this definition--providing measurable value--by profitably aligning the right customer with the right product, with the right message, at the right time. Marketing's new contemporary definition recognizes four key tenets:
1. Marketing is an enterprise function and process.
2. Marketing focuses on creating, communicating, and delivering value for customers.
3. Managing customer relationships implies a dialogue or relational exchange that supports ongoing customer value.
4. Marketing creates value in ways that benefit the organization and its stakeholders.
To support these tenets the marketing-ready enterprise establishes a holistic approach to the marketing discipline by focusing on the development and evolution of four key marketing competence areas. Those discipline areas are planning, targeting, acting, and learning.
This starts with a sound marketing infrastructure with a technology and analytics platform that runs throughout the organization, tying every silo of information together to form a complete picture of the customer. Customer transactional data from back-office accounting systems and front-office CRM systems must be linked with financial data so that calculating individual customer profitability reflects the total value of the relationship. These efforts should align your marketing strategy with your corporate strategy to assure that you are supporting your corporate mission and goals.
Targeting starts with knowing your customer. Marketers are realizing that their target markets are not stationary. They become moving targets as needs and preferences change during the customer life cycle. And customers are seeking information from a broader range of sources than ever before, and in the process they are filtering out messages that don't resonate or speak to their specific needs and values. Targeting provides resonance by consistently identifying and developing the right offer, for the right customer at the right time.
The marketing-ready enterprise is able to create the path from marketing initiative to net profit by understanding the relationship between marketing and sales. Acting starts with campaign execution and optimization. Acting involves the ability to consistently provide the desired customer experience by delivering the right offer, to the right customer, at the right time.
Learning encompasses the processes and technology for gathering, tracking, and reviewing performance metrics. For all aspects of these efforts, measuring, monitoring performance, reporting, and learning from the results will be critical to achieving and maintaining success.
Today's CMOs realize that Ted Turner's advice "Early to bed, early to rise, work like hell and advertise" is not something a marketer can bet her career on anymore. The proliferation of media and distribution channels, combined with consumers' increasing demand for communications relevance due to multitasking lifestyles, has created the perfect marketing storm. The need for more rigorous marketing discipline and competence has never been greater. The CMO's new approach for creating a sustainable competitive advantage is to build a marketing-ready enterprise.
About the Author
Alan See is Senior CRM Strategist for SAS' Customer Solutions and Alliances and serves as an associate faculty member for the University of Phoenix's College of Business & Management. He holds BBA and MBA degree's from Abilene Christian University. Contact him at Alan.See@SAS.com