Anatomy of a world-class marketing organization

Is there such a thing as a template for a world-class marketing organization?  I don’t know, however, there are certain key functions that are critical to the success of one.  As I see it, there are 5 key pillars:

  1. Strategic Planning — Includes market assessment, competitive positioning and channel management with regards to profitability, share, leverage, etc.
  2. Products/Services — Product Development, Portfolio Management and Pricing
  3. Marketing Strategy & Execution —
    1. Brand Development/Extension and PR
    2. Segmentation & Customer Experience Management
    3. Budget Allocation
    4. Acquisition & Retention
    5. MarCom, Promotions
    6. Sales Support
  4. Operations — Website, eCommerce, Marketing Automation Platforms, Analytic tools, Social Media Monitoring tools, etc.
  5. Customer Satisfaction — Surveys, research through secondary data collected to help Strategic Planning and Product Development


Get Smart, Get Strategic, Get Data-Driven … but how?

We all understand that new technologies and relatively new channels such as social media are transforming the marketing landscape.  More and more prospects venture online and leave interesting insights for us to evaluate, analyze and act to help sharpen our respective messages.  The million dollar question is — how?

Following are some quick thoughts to help get the ball rolling:

  1. Customer/Prospect Engagement — Understand where the prospects procure their information.  Ensure congruency of a prospect’s evaluation/buying criteria to the current marketing process/touchpoints/content served, etc.  The critical goal is to create a consistent, omni-channel prospect journey that guides a prospect through the buying phases.
  2. Analytics Strategy — Beware of analysis paralysis!  Two main areas to evaluate – Quality of Leads and Marketing Effectiveness (RoMI).  To help sharpen the quality of leads, evaluate the various touchpoints through the marketing campaigns and analyse the information shared by the prospect.  This information should help determine the sales-readiness of a given prospect.  Gather feedback from sales on a consistent-basis to understand its definition of a good quality lead and the persona of those leads that do convert.  On the other hand, for Return on Marketing Investment, identify how the marketing organization is being gauged, the true impact of the team to the sales funnel (influenced and sourced sales pipeline) and the lead velocity from generation to conversion.  That should paint a relatively clear picture around the effectiveness of the marketing organization.
  3. Data Strategy — Identify the traditional silos of information across the entire organization.  Consolidate the data and rank it along completeness of all the fields, recency of the last update and the last interaction with the prospect.  In order to accomplish this goal, it may require a partnership between IT, Marketing, Sales and any other key business functions.
  4. Organizational Strategy — Since data-driven marketing transcends all departments and challenges conventional approaches, it may be disrupting traditional organizations and structures.  This approach will require a lot more collaboration with key functions such as IT, Sales and such.  Hence, getting the C-Suite on-board with the overall goal and vision is critical.
  5. Technology Strategy — Successful organizations not only nurture strategic partnerships between CMO and CIO but also marry business and technologies strategically.  Given the advent of Marketing Automation Platforms, Social Media monitoring tools, Modelling and Analytical Engines, it is imperative for an organization to leverage these off-the-shelf tools to help ‘do more with less’ while quantify the overall contributions of the marketing team towards the bottom line and the long-term business goals.

Hopefully, these points help get you thinking around the key spokes needed to run a marketing organization of the web 2.0 world.  Explore, test and scale is the new mantra.  Enjoy the journey!

Is SEO, as we know it, dead? Not!

With the introduction of Hummingbird, there is plenty of chatter about SEO and its effectiveness moving forward.  Questions such as – what happens to all my SEO efforts? Is it a waste? Should I invest any more time into SEO? – these questions are moot if you understand the tweak in the algorithm.

As I see it, it is the best thing to happen to a company if the company has been doing what it was supposed to do all along.  Keywords were being used as “short-cut” to get a page ranked.  Now, moving forward, Google is emphasizing what they term ‘Conversational Search’.  This way, if someone were to search for “Best place to buy an iPhone in my neighborhood”,  Google can discern the true context and the meaning of the search to rank and show pages whose content best relates to the prospect’s needs as opposed to pages that have keywords tagged such as ‘iPhone’, ‘buy’, etc.

So, all in all, the holy grail is to ensure the content of a website is in complete harmony with the needs of it’s targeted prospects.  If a company manages to accomplish this, it should see a spike in the quality of traffic.  Here’s a link that helps further understand the effects of Hummingbird to a company’s SEO strategy:

Go Content!