Gartner predicted three years ago that chief marketing officers would outspend chief information officers on information technology solutions by 2017. Though there’s been much debate since, signs point to this transition becoming reality.
Due to the use of cloud computing, new software tools and data analytics, today’s CMOs find themselves at the center of a fundamental evolution in the marketing organization. But this evolution is not only about the software or the data. It’s also about using shared information to empower the enterprise business engine to drive growth and profitability. As marketing transforms into a primarily data-driven practice, businesses need to understand the services and professional hires that will enable them to stay competitive.
Virtually every type of business sells something to its customers. To do this successfully, there must be some configuration of sales, customer service and marketing — even when marketing involves not advertising, but networking or other activities that create awareness and leads. This triangle between finding leads (marketing), turning them into customers (sales), and keeping them happy (customer service) is the business engine of the enterprise. Today, this engine has an opportunity to become robustly connected, with marketing playing a key role in the process.
At the center of every business engine is the customer — the future or present client of the business. Marketing has more opportunities than ever to connect with the customer as an individual by tailoring experiences to fit explicit or yet-to-be-discovered needs and offering 1:1 messaging to guide prospects down the sales funnel. This opportunity, however, also comes with challenges. As enterprises look to deploy new solutions, buyers should be aware of three major considerations before embarking on a purchasing decision.
1. A Newer, More Collaborative Breed
Today’s marketers are certainly more data-savvy, more technology-oriented and more ROI-aware than ever before, but what makes them stand out is their ability to collaborate. This new breed of marketer places less emphasis on individual accolades or hiring the most goût du jour creative agency, focusing instead on building a collaborative platform across marketing, sales and customer service to optimize the experiences that will turn leads into cutomers. Watch this amazing TED Talk by The Boston Consulting Group’s Yves Morieux to learn more about collaboration in the modern workplace.
2. Future-Proof Technology
Future-proof technology has relevance to the future, but also provides a sustainable business model.
In his outlook note for 2015, Pivotal Research Group senior analyst, Brian Wieser writes: “Technologies and associated business models have become increasingly mature, and many of the companies driving them have become relatively large. … Many of these companies likely operate with costs and cash outflows in excess of revenues and will require ongoing capital infusions to sustain, let alone expand, their current scale.”
With an increasing amount of companies crowding the marketing technology landscape, being technology-savvy for a marketer means not only knowing how to put together a functional MarTech stack, but also how to discern which key pieces of the stack have the right balance of innovation and sustainability to stay relevant for tomorrow’s business needs.
3. Operational Alignment: People, Technology And Processes
Marketers who will win tomorrow’s business are the ones who understand how to power their engines with the best people, technology and processes in order to achieve their respective business goals. By surrounding themselves with collaborative individuals who understand their role as a living part of a very complex engine that will propel the enterprise to the next level, a foundation for long-term success is laid.
In addition to choosing valuable team members, marketers must also have an in-depth understanding of technologies that foster innovation and provide a vision beyond today’s goals, reaching forward to future possibilities for business development and growth. Implementing processes that empower the enterprise business engine to shift gears, and continually make improvements that drive the business more effectively and efficiently, provides the final step in optimum operational alignment for any marketing organization.
The challenges faced by today’s marketers — including the variety of systems, platforms, and tools now available — means that marketing departments need to consistently think about how the solutions they are building today will stay relevant in the future.