– A Global Marketing Group Company

As the digital consumer transforms, so has the marketing department. C-Level executives are adapting to the process of evolving expectations and deploying new experiences.

Customers reward strong brands, large or small, with their advocacy and on-going business.  According to IDC, two-thirds of the CEOs of Global 2000 companies have digital transformation as a core corporate strategy. A Walker study indicates that by the year 2020, customer experience will overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator.

Customer driven organizations

A customer driven organization requires a full organizational review.  The premise is to know thyself – then make an impact on the world.

Begin by harnessing the sense of purpose of your organization.  What problem are you solving for your customers and why are you different.  This sets the tone and theme for the rest of the transformation efforts.

All successful organizations have well aligned go-to-market teams.  These are across marketing, sales, customer success, and product/operations.  Transformations begin between marketing and sales, then with other groups. A typical exception is product leading high-growth companies.  They may start with the marketing and product alignment.

Alignment matches customer persona with the complete experience. Traditional segmentation is a common starting point but rapidly evolves.

Cross-functional teams between departments are effective.  All sales do not have to work with all marketing all the time.  For example, sale teams responsible for enterprises work with marketers with similar responsibilities. As another example, members of sales, product, marketing, and customer success collaborate on ‘first-time homebuyers’ persona. These can be the same individuals and manage these cross-org teams is a change.

Forming these cross-organizational teams have to lead to new dynamics in an organization’s hierarchy.

Breaking down teams in this way delivers an aligned customer-focused collaboration.

It’s all about that data

Successful brands think about a digital transformation from a data perspective. Technology implementation becomes about data democratization.

Authors of “Winning with Data,” Tomasz Tunguz and Frank Bien, promote data democratization. The concept as they describe it is well articulated:

“When we say data-driven, we’re talking about companies that operationalize data. We [are] talking about workers who wake up every morning and use data to tune their actions throughout the day.”

Successful marketing leaders recognize their operational role beyond marketing. Robust data analysis skills are invaluable. Operational data awareness reveals company insights into the health of the organization. Knowing the engagement data reveals customer and marketplace insights. The intersection allows marketers to tap into a dynamic story.

With data democratization, there is not only greater transparency but also a better sense of a teams role and clarity.  Then technology becomes a more straightforward implementation. For marketing technology leaders, access to this visibility is a professional gamechanger.

Signals and agility

With a strong customer-focused, data-enabled culture, an organization can develop signals and create agility.  ‘Signals’ provide insights and opportunities. ‘Agility’ is the capacity to react to them.

Your brand is not only one producing content and engagement data.  Consumers create digital footprints associated with your brand. These millions upon billions of data points are rich in signals.

Technology is a problem… and an answer

As go-to-market teams become dedicated to measurement, the tech fragmentation hinders progress. Having researched the nearly 7,000 vendors for the latest Martech Landscape, it can be overwhelming. Add to the dizzying pace of marketing execution for an array of personas and channels only increases the challenge.

Tech and teams convert data into signals differently. There are differing dimensions, buckets, and depth. This causes silos, incompleteness, and inconsistency.  So instead of making informed decisions, go-to-market leaders rely on what they’ve done or copy other’s plans.  This creates missed opportunities to engage your customers with your unique brand at the right moment.

Technology only magnifies the people, process, and data behind them. When you get these down pat, expect good outcomes and ROI from your technology implementations.

Getting to know you… getting to know all about you

Many successful leaders have their teams begin by focusing on one customer persona. Focus, go deep, connect the experience, and include feedback.  Learn as a cross-functional team. Defining the right metrics, agreed meaning, the cadence of execution, and sentiment among customers.  Where I’ve seen teams the most successful is when they develop a strong intuition and accurate projection of campaign outcomes.

Agility comes from a full understanding and empathy, data, and seasoned marketing execution.  At this point authority on matters become decentralized.  Sounds like chaos?  Not so with an excellent team, training, and culture.

Invest in YOUR people

Adaptation requires a different way to look at people and training.

Goals over tasks

The best leadership delivers clarity and purpose to their teams.  Rather than assigning tasks, assign customer/revenue goals and let your team figure it out.  Enabling your team to navigate themselves can generate creative options.  They will discover innovative ways to meet customers needs and forecast opportunities.

Recess over classrooms

I’m a huge fan of “play.”  Doing has long proven to have a longer lasting impact than reading or audio learning. Not only should you consider training your team on skills, but interactions with customers and the industry at large.

Also, train teams to become better with data judgment and decision-making ability. These teams improve the accuracy of forecasting by up to 83% (according to super forecasting expert Philip E. Tetlock).

Seek out ‘T-Shaped’ talent

Scott Brinker, from his book Hacking Marketing, says “These [full-stack marketers] are T-shaped people: deep in at least one area but proficient across many.”  Adaptable talent can meet the dynamic nature of customer needs and expectations.

Be like them

Companies like Amazon, Hubspot, Atlassian, Microsoft, Apple, Southwest, and T-Mobile are a few of many examples where marketing finds their way beyond the department to deliver innovation and experiences.

By breaking down silos beyond marketing, we see companies emerge resilient and responsive to opportunities never achievable before.

One of the best metrics of success is the community engagement and advocacy. As a result, these companies experience profitability, revenue growth, resilience, and/or increase in shareholder value.

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