The marketing landscape has changed dramatically in the last ten to fifteen years. The birth of new marketing channels — email, social platforms, video, podcasts, text messaging — has given marketers a host of new opportunities and technologies to reach consumers. The rise of these channels also means that marketers now have instant access to loads of useful behavioral data and analytics.
All of this data can examine the “what’s” and the “how’s” of customer behavior in order to inform the “why’s” of consumer behavior, preferences, and purchasing decisions. But does your marketing team have the analytical skills required to make sense of all that data? Can they interpret metrics in order to identify trends? Do they use key findings to modify their input and yield better outcomes? Do they have the processes and technology in place to organize and house the data to allow for quick and easy interpretation?
If you answered no to any or all those questions, you’re not alone. Most marketing teams are a mix of extremely seasoned creative thinkers and strategists and efficient implementors and managers. However, most marketing teams are lacking in data gathering, organization and analysis.
Here’s why it’s time to focus on expanding your marketing team’s capabilities to better position your brand for the future.
A holistic marketing team keeps your brand at the forefront of marketing trends
Over the course of the last decade, the rise of big data has flipped tried and true marketing principles on their head. Here’s one example to illustrate this. In the past, a marketing campaign began with a creative brief. That brief was developed primarily from the point of view of the brand: What do we want to say to our audience? How do we want our customers to think, believe, and act? How can we best deliver our message?
From there, marketing teams generated an idea, launched a campaign that cast a fairly wide net though perhaps was tailored toward a specific group or region with unique messaging or relevant content. The team would receive campaign performance data and review whether the message resonated, drove purchase decisions or engagement – and make adjustments accordingly.
Today, forward-thinking brands flip this process around by leading with data, not following it. They start with customer insights instead of a creative brief. They ask things like: What does the data say? What do our clients care about? Where are they getting information? How do they make purchasing decisions? How do we stack up against our competitors in their minds? These insights enable them to develop a deep understanding of what target audiences want and how they behave. Then they generate the creative idea and launch a strategy that is uniquely tailored to the data.
The future of marketing is extreme personalization
Future-focused marketing is all about delivering the right message to the right person at the right time. This involves moving away from the batch, campaign-oriented processes of a decade ago. It’s time to embrace the always-on, always-changing consumer through a real-time customer engagement strategy.
But how? This shift requires:
- Rock-solid brand and marketing operations to ensure brand consistency across every new channel.
- Advanced data gathering and organization tools, and the skills to understand how to read and interpret the data
- Strategists and creatives who can develop tailored messaging that resonates not just to a segment, but to an individual.
- A mutual respect between the creatives and the analysts, in order to both understand your audience deeply and engage with them smartly to build stronger relationships and loyalty
Identify the key functions for your marketing operations team
Marketing will always demand creativity, innovation, and big-picture thinking. But if you want your brand to remain relevant and competitive in a rapidly changing environment, it’s time to expand your analytical side of the marketing house.
Start by taking a deep look at your business and marketing objectives and understanding what type of consumer data and research you need to achieve them.
For some companies, that can mean setting up the right infrastructure and metrics to measure the cost of new customer acquisition. For others, it can be ways to measure the ROI of social media spend across all your paid social channels
Then, based on what your specific marketing team needs, you can build a team that can deliver the optimal brand experience. Think outside the box of the ‘traditional’ marketing roles to positions that can really use data and analytics to drive strategy. For example, if the majority of your revenue is driven by your website, you want to bring on a user experience expert who can very closely monitor and analyze how users interact with your site, what leads them to purchase, how they got there, etc.. If your business is primarily driven by influencers and social media, you will want to bring on someone who really understands how to use social listening tools, optimize paid social, and understand trends in social media channels.
It may not be possible to hire a person dedicated for these roles. But if you want your brand to meet the demands of advanced personalization, it’s essential that your team has the right skills to do so.
Your brand deserves — and requires — a creative, data-driven marketing team
As an executive marketing leader, you have a new mandate: shore up your brand and marketing operations to give your marketing team the resources they need to move your brand forward. Your classical marketers need colleagues who bring the advanced organizational, analytical, and technical skills that complement what they bring to the table.
Take steps now to capture your brand’s full potential and increase your brand’s value by streamlining your operations, making use of all the data and the metrics available to you, and helping your creative team develop personalized marketing strategies that connect your brand to your audience in exciting new ways.