Ask any CMO—or spend just a few moments reviewing the day’s industry news, replete with announcements of emerging technologies, data sources and media alternatives—and one truth will become abundantly clear: A new era of marketing possibility is upon us.
“What an exciting time to be a marketer! Never before in history has there been a combination of technology, social realignment, behavioral changes and a variety of channels converging at once, causing marketing organizations to really consider how, in fact, they are prepared to deal with the new normal of constant change.”
—2011 Mid-Year Marketing Trends Study, The Kern Organization
“Marketing is moving from the outskirts to the core of the enterprise as the key owner of critical activities like nurturing the dialogue with customers, developing customer-centric strategies across the enterprise and helping other executives implement these concepts across their respective departments.”
—The Evolved CMO 2012, Forrester Research and Heidrick & Struggles
“More than ever before, marketers are implementing transformational programs to revitalize marketing operations, accelerate customer acquisition and revenue and predict how to better shape and influence market demand.”
— The 2011 State of Marketing, CMO Council
On the surface, the promise of this “new era” is substantial, offering brands unprecedented new tools to identify ideal prospects, extend real-time offers and maintain profitable, long-term customer relationships. But for all this potential, many executives gripe that their efforts to drive substantial marketing performance improvement continue to be stymied by one fundamental challenge:
They can’t make them work.
Dig a little deeper, and their complaints resonate in unison. Corporate bureaucracies don’t allow for the quick decision making needed to capitalize on new opportunities. Institutional silos (separating lines of business, functional groups, geographic divisions and other internal units) independently manage data, creative, financial and human resources, limiting their ability to fully leverage the company’s assets. And even those investments focused on driving positive change—new marketing automation platforms, for example—often suffer from lengthy implementation and review processes, sapping value at every stage of the effort.
Considered collectively, this span of challenges suggests that for many companies, existing marketing infrastructures—designed to support long-discarded economic models, advertising strategies and media toolsets—are simply no longer viable. More concerning is the approach that most enterprises have adopted in tackling that challenge. Rather than seeking out the kind of transformative change necessary to keep pace in a media landscape increasingly paced by disruptive digital innovations, most are approaching their fundamental “marketing misalignment” challenge as a series of smaller, disconnected operational issues—each demanding their own technology, manpower and budgetary fixes.
That approach, not surprisingly, isn’t working.
Increasingly, marketers are looking for a new path to marketing productivity, grounded in the experience of seeing their enterprise peers benefit from holistic process optimization efforts, and focused on the critical imperative that a true “new era” infrastructure be built upon functional pillars that are both stronger and more extensible than those that have supported advertising and marketing execution to date.
This white paper—based on Winterberry Group’s extensive strategic consulting experience in the advertising and marketing ecosystem, as well as a dedicated research effort that included in-person and telephone interviews with over two dozen executive-level marketing thought leaders in early 2012—explores the extent to which that “new era” is truly upon us, and outlines a series of operating principles that marketers should view as fundamental to enabling substantial, profitable change in the years to come.
It will demonstrate that traditional approaches to managing marketing channels, campaigns and brand messages are rapidly falling by the wayside. Likewise, it will illustrate how achieving true transformative performance improvement demands the holistic optimization of four central marketing operations pillars—people, platforms, partners and processes—as driven by five overarching priorities:
Speed: to enable “right-time” responsiveness, provide for a constant firstmover capability and minimize costly cycle time issues
Insight: to better understand customers and prospects (and their likely needs, preferences and response cues) as well as the contributions of various promotional channels in the broader media mix
Access: to provide a steady stream of the appropriate inputs—including data, creative assets and business rules—to drive seamless, “always-on” execution
Flexibility: to support rapid (and sometimes substantial) changes in business need, strategic priority, channel preference and competitive demand • Security: to safeguard critical resources—including customer information, brand assets and delivery tools—and reinforce confidence in the marketing operations infrastructure and its underlying value proposition.