Reinventing marketing – the capabilities that count

by Justine Tabone

Advancements in digital technology over the last 30 years, and consequent shifts in customer and buying behavior have led to a fundamental change for most industries. Organizations can no longer rely on product leadership, human contact and relationships as the cornerstone of customer engagement. Instead they’re having to make two major pivots – from mono to multi-channel and then further from multi to omni-channel. The speed and extent of this change for each organization, depends on the customer and competitive dynamics of their industry.

Across this continuum, the essential purpose of marketing remains; to build brand love, drive customer engagement, generate demand and support sales. However as organizations progress, the role that marketing plays increases significantly, along with the depth and breadth of capabilities required. As a result, many marketing teams have had to reinvent themselves to be at the forefront of the new go-to-market model.


Evolution of Marketing
In a relationship selling model, marketing is often organized by product or brand and each team is entrusted with innovating and managing propositions. A mix of internal and outsourced agency resources are typically used to develop communications, promotions and activation activity.
Where as in a multi-channel world, marketing is the custodian of customer insight – crystallizing segment-aligned propositions and encoding journeys. With every new channel leveraged, content and campaign execution needs to mature and be channel-aligned, as opposed to being centred on product. In order to make decisions around innovation, coordination and optimising activity across segments and channels, performance measurement and attribution becomes important.
Finally, for fully mature omni-channel execution, there is more role specialization required – data and analytics, and technology enablement also become critical. The marketing function is now truly journey-aligned, often working in agile cross-functional teams to create and implement differentiated customer experiences based on their value and preferences.

Marketing capabilities
As organizations progress, existing capabilities must be built upon and new capabilities introduced.


Brand Content and Communications
In organizations less progressed, generic content is often communicated through offline channels via product based campaigns. As more channels come on board, we move into the realm of integrated demand generation campaigns to assist with sales pipelines, and eventually dynamic personalization.
Product and Proposition
In less mature organizations, propositions tend to be “one size fits all”, linking to product features, pricing or benefits. In multi-channel models, we see greater segment alignment and bundling across product/service categories, evolving again for greater personalization to anchor omni-channel experiences.
Customer Journey and Insight
Sales-led organizations often have static customer models based on past behavior and value. More mature organizations have a single view of the customer, culminating in predictive insights aligned to customer journeys required for true omni-channel.
Content and Campaign Planning
At a basic level, marketing plan their campaigns around brand and product/service offerings, on a quarterly or annual basis. In more mature organizations, marketing collaborate with sales to map out the customer journey, identify target personas and understand preferences at the ‘moments that matter’. Finally, to deliver omni-channel experiences, a data-driven approach is taken to enable real-time personalization.
Channel Strategy
Organizations often start with a dependence on face-to-face channels, then pivot to a mix of digital and physical activity that is loosely coordinated. In an omni-channel approach, the effectiveness of each channel is well understood and integrated to deliver a seamless customer journey.
Performance Measurement and Attribution
Product-centric organizations are simple enough to not require significant measurement beyond brand health and campaign engagement. As more channels are introduced, the complexity of granular reporting to understand effectiveness rises. The ultimate goal is real-time measurement, attribution and optimization across all touchpoints.
Technology and Data
Having your marketing technology integrated with the CRM is important for multi-channel, while linking to a central data lake and analytics system will provide insight needed to further optimize the experience required for omni-channel.
Predictive Analytics
At the final stages of maturity, predictive analytics is introduced to drive automated segmentation, better understand customer behavior and deliver more meaningful content that resonates in real-time. It also supports with optimising resources and spend according to buying trends, and the qualification and prioritization of leads based on likelihood to act.

The question we are often asked by marketing folk is “How do you start making these changes?” – the answer is simple to express, but hard to execute effectively:

  • Start with the customer to understand their expectations of experience and channel preferences across their journey
  • Define your omni-channel aspiration – omni-channel utopia is not for everyone and the role and capabilities of marketing need to match your willingness to differentiate
  • Design marketing capabilities in-line with customer and channel strategy – understand where you need to be on the spectrum and the gap between current and future state maturity
  • Design and implement the marketing operating model based on strategic aspiration and operational reality.
In the next instalment of the blog, we will explore in more detail the operating model implications of these two pivots, including some case studies of where we have seen the transformation implemented successfully to progress go-to-market maturity.

Co-authored by Abhik Sengupta and Justine Tabone.