Taking a just-in-time approach to marketing can deliver a higher return on marketing dollars, according to our new report based on a survey of more than 500 chief marketing officers globally including consumer goods companies. Companies identified as just-in-time marketers are three times more likely to beat their peers on revenue growth.
But what is just-in-time marketing?
Its very essence is having a laser focus on creating the right marketing content only when it’s needed and for consumers exactly when they are in the buying mood. Mass marketing, by contrast, is about creating extensive content aimed at the broadest possible audience. And mass marketing is proving to be less and less successful: CMOs surveyed in the study said that as little as 20% of the customers they typically reach through this approach are interested in the promoted product or able to buy it.
By adopting just-in-time practices, leading consumer goods companies are unlocking value that was previously trapped or unattainable. They are much better at avoiding wasting their marketing dollars by engaging with customers at the exact moment of need. For example, 82% of just-in-time marketers report making large efforts to minimize their marketing inefficiencies, compared to only 49% of their peers.
Not only do consumer goods companies that engage just-in-time marketing drive better financial results and reduce waste, they are also ahead of the curve with several key capabilities:
· Right-time marketing flexibility – 57% are “very satisfied” with their ability to share the right message with consumers at the right time (peers: 36%).
· Ability to generate customer insight – 87% have employees with specialized analytical skills to develop actionable customer insights (peers: 67%).
· Higher digital integration – Just-in-time marketing companies don’t isolate digital marketing efforts from the rest of their marketing organization, as 58% described their digital and traditional marketing initiatives as “very highly integrated” (peers: 19%).
· Freedom with technology – 58% report “complete independence” when it comes to making IT investment decisions (peers: 14%) – indicating that the CIO-CMO relationship has grown more collaborative in just-in-time marketing companies.
Based on these insights, consumer goods organizations wanting to transform their marketing operations to just-in-time marketing operations should take these steps:
· Optimize marketing operations. Sharpen operations and train people to execute quickly; to react smarter and more nimbly; to glean insights and turn them around in days or weeks, not months. Put talent and decisions closer to the front line, aggregate the insights and act on them. Optimize your governance structure and make sure you know who is accountable and responsible for every decision, eliminating process steps and handoffs where possible.
· Become an effective “listener.” Listen through social media for cues to take immediate action, and become more comfortable using unstructured data to make decisions based on a combination of data-based insights and instincts.
· Solve for leading indicators – not just for the masses. Don’t simply take a lowest-common-denominator approach with your marketing. Consider consumers who are outside the norm today, but who may well be leading-edge predictors of your consumer base in the near future.
Marketing organizations are increasingly held accountable for delivering tangible business outcomes. To provide an edge in the marketplace, traditional marketing organizations need to invest in the capabilities and technologies that will transform their operations, moving them toward an as-a-service model. The winners will be those who balance creative excellence with operational rigor.