How to Bridge Marketing's Digital Divide

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Back in December, we explored how marketing has transformed from a product-pushing entity to a customer-focused team striving to build value-based customer relationships. We concluded with the idea that marketing needs a systems mind-set—an approach to dealing with constant change that provides habits and tools to encourage us to be flexible thinkers and celebrate new ideas and ways of looking at things—to maximize its effectiveness using the technologies it has at its fingertips today. Now let's delve into this idea even further.

The Appproach: Agile Marketing

Many marketing organizations have already adopted a systems mind-set. They understand the value of a fluid ecosystem for collaboration and have established common and standard processes, practices, and priorities. They have alignment from business strategy to marketing strategy to marketing initiatives. The synergies of all these components working together in real time is pronounced.

A collaborative ecosystem moves us toward a more agile and innovative workplace. Assets and deliverables are produced in smaller units, allowing us to fail fast and learn faster. We can design programs in incremental fashion to more effectively promote and test customer engagement and revenue generation.

This approach is referred to as agile marketing, not to be confused with the agile framework that has existed in IT departments for at least two decades. High-growth companies are very mature in their adoption of agile marketing.

The Approach: Tools

At this point we have an organizational structure that is a fluid ecosystem bringing the right experts together in a collaborative environment. We have an approach to work that is agile. As in any business situation, we need technology to enable these processes.

Many marketers have a plethora of tools at their fingertips to facilitate their daily activities. Often these tools are disparate solutions addressing specific functions, rather than a collection of tools that are integrated and guide the workflow through each of the stages of marketing’s internal processes.

A single project-collaboration tool for managing workflow, approvals, communication, and status is a good alternative. Examples of this type of tool are Percolate, Monday.com, or Adobe Experience Manager.

The tool can be configured to reflect the common practices and processes that have been agreed to for all marketing programs. Passing deliverables on to the next step in the process, gathering approvals as they move, results in faster, more accurate, and less costly asset production.

Going to one source or tool to get program status and providing full transparency to management and all stakeholders results in higher levels of confidence for all. Based on my own experience with some great marketing teams, marketing organizations are in various stages of maturity when it comes to the marketing workflow components of their tech stack.

The Approach: Data

Data-driven marketers excel in product development, customer engagement, and measurement of results.

Data tells us what products customers and prospective customers want, and the features and functions they desire. High-quality data lets us interact with our communities in a more insightful way. It brings personalization to our engagement and intelligence for making the next best offer in cross-selling and upselling.

Customer engagement using accurate data engenders trust in your brand. Using contextual and relevant data reinforces our commitment to your customer relationships.

We can eliminate the data silos that prevent us from delivering an omnichannel CX by implementing a customer data platform (CDP). Leading CDPs can alleviate the negatives of siloed data and increase marketing effectiveness significantly.

Customer data platforms provide a single and comprehensive view of a customer across any touchpoint or business unit. Marketers use CDPs to drive CX across all channels in real time based on behavior. CDPs unify data into a single source of truth, and they are considered a transformative technology by Gartner.

All in all, eliminating the silos that separate people, technology, and data will remove many of the barriers to achieving excellence in marketing, realizing productivity improvements and generating revenue.

4 Benefits of Eliminating the Divide

As we bring the key solution components together, we have the foundation for a high-performing marketing ecosystem. That ecosystem results in:

1. Marketers more fully appreciating the value of omnichannel programs and a deepened understanding of the power and role of individual channels.

2. A scalable approach to work that delivers assets and programs that can be enhanced quickly and easily.

3. A spirit of continuous learning, improvement and innovation in a deeply collaborative environment.

4. Last but not least, marketing-influenced revenue with more profitable growth and retention.

By eliminating marketing’s digital divide, marketing transforms itself from a rigid, isolated hierarchy to an integrated and aligned ecosystem of internal and external marketers that deliver profitable growth and retention.

This happens because we’re combining left brain analytics with right brain creativity. Using an agile marketing approach, we’re failing fast and learning faster to drive innovation. Our programs are designed better, yielding more effective marketing. The progress of the programs is visible and transparent.

With the high level of team interaction, we’re reducing the probability of confusion and waste. And through the synergies of teaming, we’re achieving better results.

Marketing’s Call to Action

Best-in-class marketers take a holistic view of engagement. They understand touchpoints will take place over a diverse set of channels during the buyer’s journey. These marketers take an integrated approach to meld inbound and outbound teams and have them work and partner together. They adopt an “adapting is a continuous process” mentality.

Follow these steps to eliminate marketing’s digital divide:

  • Evaluate your organization and shape it to work in a more fluid network.
  • Develop and execute a change management program to get everyone on board and moving in the same direction.
  • Implement agile marketing in order to scale high-quality programs quickly.
  • Identify the metrics to measure success. Track them. Initiate improvements based on those metrics.

When we work as a channel agnostic team and focus on today’s multi-device, multi-channel buyer’s journeys, we can use diverse channel plays that reinforce and support each other to produce seamless and superior customer engagement with measurable improvements to profitable revenue growth.

In short, it’s no longer “digital marketing” . . . it’s just marketing.

The Growth Strategy Group’s Marianne S. Hewitt has held senior marketing and technology leadership positions in industry and practice leadership roles in the global consulting environment. She promotes marketers’ understanding to leverage and adapt the use of technology to marketing, sales and service to drive sustainable growth, enhance customer engagement and long-term customer relationships. Recognized for her powerful ability to influence and develop profitable strategies, she has demonstrated successes implementing governance, business processes, organization structures and technology solutions to help achieve business objectives (www.linkedin.com/in/marianneshewitt).

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