[this post originally appeared on the Forbes CMO Network]
How can you improve the success of your company and the trajectory of your career at the same time? Become a modern marketer! While the term “modern marketing” is getting a lot of visibility these days, what does the phrase really mean? And what does it take to turn your organization into a practitioner of modern marketing? I believe there are five key tenets to modern marketing, which, if embraced, can transform a company and a career.
1. Customer-centricity rules
By shifting the lens of your organization from pushing products to engaging customers, your organization can reap several positives. You can become purpose-driven and stop focusing purely on product positioning. You become more open to embracing customer feedback and acting upon it. And you can better package multi-product solutions that meet real customer needs instead of just promoting the features of an often complex array of products. Blair Christie has managed just such a transition at Cisco, and the company has improved its value per customer by a factor of five when focusing on solutions instead of single products.
2. Experiences matter
For much of my career, brand building programs have centered on executing great advertising campaigns that had starting and end points. But that philosophy must change. Today a brand’s reputation is forged by the opinions of customers perpetually shared with other customers. And what are they sharing? Their experiences both positive and negative. There is active debate on the role of CMOs in architecting and managing the customer experience when their departments don’t have control of the full customer experience. But that hasn’t stopped progressive leaders like John Wallis (ex Hyatt) who worked closely with his operations and IT counterparts to transform the culture of the company and equip frontline employees with the tools they need to deliver consistently and guests with tools and apps that help them have great experiences.
3. Decision journeys inform
If experiences matter, the starting point for managing them holistically is to map the end-to-end decision journeys of customers. Simply defining a lead funnel and creating “upper, mid and lower funnel” programs is insufficient. By mapping the key steps customers take to discover, explore, buy, use and share, marketers can better develop engagement programs that are aligned with their customers’ interests at each step of the process. This leads to better planning of relevant and actionable content that delivers seamless experiences across touch points. The customer decision journey mapping that my firm (nFusion) has done for one particular software company has led to a more unified set of activities across its marketing and sales organizations and an enhanced digital experience for the company’s customers. This process can work for you as well.
4. Omni-channel orchestration unites
Having a map of all the customer touch points is one thing. Orchestrating the activities across all the internal departmental silos is another. For years companies have invested in the teams and tools needed to optimize specific channels of engagement — digital advertising, PPC, SEO, email, social, mobile, e-commerce and more. This may have lead to best-in-class channel-specific programs, but it has often resulted in worst-in-class customer experiences characterized by fragmented and sometimes conflicting experiences for customers. While CMOs like Jeff Jones at Target TGT +0.11% and Karen Quintos at Dell have made significant progress with the first three tenets, both acknowledge that cross-business-unit, omni-channel orchestration remains a challenge that they are working to address. So don’t feel alone if this tenet is a struggle for your organization; you are in good company.
5. Personalization connects
Best-in-class marketers have long developed segmentation strategies and personas to guide their programs. But today’s customers expect more. We all know that brands with which we have relationships have information about us that, when used properly, helps those brands deliver superior experiences. Further, we expect those experiences to be personally relevant to us regardless of the device we are using and where or when we are using it. Fortunately, marketing technology is making it easier to deliver on those expectations. Companies like JetBlue are providing real-time information that enhances our travel experiences, putting relevant data in the palms of our hands. Few companies currently have the capabilities to deliver truly personalized omni-channel experiences today, but with tools offered by marketing cloud vendors, it is possible to progress toward this goal faster than ever before.
If you want to be the change agent who transforms your company into a modern marketing practitioner, think about how you can put these five tenets into practice in the coming year. Do you have questions about how to do that? Add a comment or drop me a note and I’ll share suggestions that address your specific challenges in future posts.