Marketing is being asked to tackle issues from disruptions in markets they serve to societal concerns like global warming or social justice. It has never been more challenging or exciting to be a marketer or lead the marketing function.
In recent times, marketing transformations have been all the rage. In part led by customer experience improvements or increased personalization due to the availability of data and the technology that makes this possible. This has led to new ways of working like agile processes and the concept of “teams of teams” growing in use as leaders seek to empower their people and create greater impact and growth. It’s been rather remarkable and at the same time a dizzying pace of change.
Has your vision and strategy for how marketing creates value kept up with the pace of change?
Three Steps for Marketing Leaders to Update their Vision
I have identified 3 steps for marketing leaders to update their marketing organization vision and further future-proof their marketing efforts.
- Identify and define the growth levers available for marketing to create value
- Assess your organization’s ability to deliver future value for customers and the company
- Reframe marketing’s vision and value proposition and market marketing
Step 1: Identify and define the growth levers available for marketing to create value
Do you know how marketing can drive growth today and in the future? It sounds like a simple question, but the answers are as unique as every CMO job description.
Marketing leaders today need to work with their executive peers to understand the levers available to drive growth. For example, what is marketing’s role in driving customer acquisition? If B2C, this likely includes everything from brand awareness to potentially direct-to-consumer transactions on the web or in mobile. For B2B, this might be a grey area that includes hand-offs with the sales organization either before or after a lead becomes an opportunity.
The key to dive deeper into these conversations is understanding how marketing will play a role in attracting new customers, expanding existing customer relationships, retaining or renewing current customers, and how and where those transactions will likely occur. From there, marketing leaders can then determine what levers are available for marketing to pull and how those could be leveraged to create growth for the company.
Step 2: Assess your organization’s ability to deliver future value for customers and the company
One part of how marketing will create value for the organization is through the growth levers identified in step 1, but that should not be the only value that is created for the organization. Marketing should be a source of information and knowledge on how to optimize the growth for the company overall. This could be sources of information and knowledge about markets and customers to serve. It could also be an orchestration role to align enterprise efforts for improved in-market performance. It is important to have internal business stakeholders input and feedback in this process to help prioritize what is valuable today and most importantly where marketing drive value for the company in the future.
Beside assessing the where and how marketing will create value, there must be an honest and candid assessment of current capabilities across the full spectrum of marketing activities. It is important to gain this feedback both from within and outside the marketing organization. This can help identify how “self-aware” marketing as a team and function is not to mention the detailed development opportunities to enhance and the capabilities to take pride in.
Step 3: Reframe marketing’s vision and value proposition and market marketing
Now that you know the levers of growth that your marketing organization will tap and you have assessed both the marketing functions current capabilities and future needs, now it is time to prioritize where to focus the organizations resources. This could include reshuffling work or staffing to align with the growth levers or building capabilities that are going to be needed in the future. You’ll now have the vision and roadmap you need to align the company and your teams.
You are not done yet.
The company and your teams need to hear this new vision and how marketing will drive value and growth. They need to hear it in many different formats and at varying degrees of depth. Don’t forget this part of the plan. You now need to market marketing’s value and vision. This is one of the most important aspects to make sure everyone in the company has an updated view of marketing and its value. As marketers, we know that changing hearts and minds is no short-term task. You will need a steady drum beat of reminders and refreshers over the coming months and years.