What a 2013 Marketing Department Looks Like
In talking to Chief Marketing Officers at Marketing Week Live a common theme came through – how do we structure a marketing department team to stay on top of the fast pace of change and smash our competition?
The reasons are obvious: competitive advantage, a better performing marketing budget, increased ROI for shareholders and firm data to show that what we do is more science than art (most CEO’s still think its the latter – you can’t blame them if CMO’s aren’t making the case but that can be the subject of another blog…)
Now its been awhile since I’ve headed up an in-house marketing team – 2005 to be precise – but it made me think, what would my 2013 team look like?
First I must look back at 8 years and remind myself what it looked like. Well, the channels were far more limited and the technology was too (I think I got a blackberry that year which was then seen as a real status symbol). Most of the ROI discussion was based on the number of ‘hits’ our website got, looking back it really feels like 20 years ago!
The team consisted of events, database, communications and web marketers. There was even a debate around whether web was controlled by Marketing or IT. The brand was centralised and (relatively) easy to control and we were backed up by agency experts in design and PR. We were a brand message machine!
In the intervening years so much has changed. People have started to use smartphones, they’ve become ‘social’, they’ve got less money in their pockets/budgets – they are all trying to get the best deal.
Understanding that the change in relationship between brands and consumers is now a level playing field is one thing but how do you get a team in place takes advantage of the opportunities rather than one which is struggling to keep up with the pace?
For a start I’d place a greater emphasis on getting shining stars into my team – talent that isn’t ‘getting its head around’ things like digital marketing and social media. This isn’t quite as visionary as I’m making it out to be. We’ve done it here at Fuel and the results have been impressive – fresher perspective, greater knowledge of channels, improved collaboration – people who can improve the knowledge and performance of the whole team whilst having room to grow.
Next up I want a miner or a team of miners. Whatever organisation you are in, you are sat on a gold mine of data – mine it! I can tell you now that the equipment available for striking gold is out there like never before. But of course great kit works best when it’s operated by smart operators. So what should these analysts be telling you?
At the basic level they should be demonstrating how big an audience you are reaching, how well you are engaging with it and what conversions you are making on campaigns. Lets face facts, your budget isn’t gonna get much bigger anytime soon so they can be providing you with insightful data to shape decision making. Eliminating wastage in the budget, freeing up cash for capitalising on opportunities and feeding into the creative people – the activists.
The activists need to be able to execute campaigns across all channels. If they are young enough, they’ll just see cross channel, two way communication between brands and consumers as the norm. If they are a little bit older they’ll know it’s importance given the trends. They will be renewed and ready to take advantage of their experience with some training and will (as I’ve seen here and in client organisations) energised by new talent and a more collaborative team approach rather than old school top down environment.
The final and critically important piece in the jigsaw is customer/client champions. These champions must know their audience like never before – treat them like individuals. It is here that there is a huge knowledge gap. Some smaller organisations still today think smashing out one way communication to mailing lists and playing the numbers game puts a tick in the CRM box! It didn’t in 2005 and certainly doesn’t now.
Clearly larger teams with greater resources are more sophisticated but there is always work to do, especially if you consider that customers and clients are joining diverse tribes rather than placing themselves into traditional social demographics. The champions in my team need to understand those tribal habits and engage with them; tight relationships with the analysts in the team are therefore a must.
So the 2013 line up looks like – analysts, activators, customer/client champions. They are all motivated by intelligence, results and facts rather than anecdotal tales, old school ideas and fiction. Crucially, they should be equipped and skilled enough to look ahead, embrace new channels and constantly take advantage of the pace of change. One thing is for sure, the pace of change in the marketing world shows no sign of slowing down.
What does your team look like?