By Henry Schuck
CMOs and other marketing executives have their hands full dealing with all the disruptive changes in marketing. Because of all the data surging forth from the Internet and marketing software, marketing has become a technology hub. Trends show that by 2017, the marketing department will control the lion’s share of the technology budget with the CMO spending more on IT than the CIO.
Marketing today is so driven by software and analytics – think predictive modeling, CRM, programmatic algorithms – that it’s added a new level of complexity to the marketer’s job. Sales and marketing departments now use technology to manage everything from prospect and customer relationships, internal and external communications, sales and marketing processes, campaign performance, project and product development. Since many of these technologies impact only marketing, the IT department often isn’t involved in purchasing decisions.
The net effect organizationally has been to create a bewildering marketing landscape dotted with often unfamiliar titles and departments. A title in one company, for example, may not mean what it does in another. At the electronic company GameStop, there is a director of digital marketing and a direct report who is an email marketing manager. Meanwhile, retailer Bed, Bath and Beyond has three ecommerce marketers and no email marketing manager.
This makes it confusing for marketers, not to mention technology sales people trying to understand who decision makers are.
As new products are introduced, more business processes automated and as technologies evolve, this will create even more upheaval within organizations.
Here is a look at some of the challenges facing marketing departments as technology takes center stage — and how you can meet them:
- Break Up Silos. As individual departments more and more manage their own technology purchases, organizations will struggle to coordinate cross functionally. Suddenly, a company is dealing with multiple products to track customer interactions – one from customer service, another from sales and a third from marketing – with no integration with each other or with existing marketing automation programs like Salesforce and Marketo. Marketing technology leaders need to provide the glue and intelligence to ensure the proper alignment across departments.
- Forget Channels. Marketers are accustomed to being channel overseers – think social media, digital, event marketing, advertising. Yet, customers today are everywhere and marketers in turn need to meet the customer on her terms. That means moving from a channel-focused strategy to a customer-oriented one, where the marketer is knowledgeable about the customer and her needs on all channels.
- Ignore Campaigns. Marketing today is a 24/7 job. Don’t expect to have one major campaign and then take a breather. Like a political candidate who is always running for office, marketers need to be marketing all the time, whether blogging, creating content, engaging on social media or somehow letting customers know that you are there for them.
- Spray and Pray No More. People are bombarded with untargeted solicitations every day. Most never see the light of day because they don’t target someone’s goals or pain points. Don’t sell features, sell benefits. Use all your prospect data to to find the right person and reach out with a solution. Consider it marketing to an audience of one.
- Think customer experience and marketing performance, not just cost. While IT typically focuses on cost and risk avoidance, marketing needs to think beyond that. Don’t forget the importance of the benefits from technology. How does the technology improve the customer experience? And ultimately how does it boost marketing performance?
As marketing continues to evolve into a technology-driven function, the structure and processes of marketing need to change to reflect and support that fact. This is a major opportunity for marketers to distinguish themselves by harnessing the power within technology to improve their business performance.
Henry Schuck is co-founder and CEO of DiscoverOrg.