Technology has changed marketing. Actually, technology has changed consumer behavior, both B2C and B2B, and these behavior changes demand a new marketing approach.
If you look at recent studies you will see that by and large, companies get a low score for their marketing efforts and capabilities. Consider some recent examples. While digital marketing has become an imperative marketing practice, only 8% of companies think they have strong digital marketing in place. Forbes recently asked “Why Does Most Marketing Stink?” And eMarketer just showed the overwhelming disparity between marketers and customer expectations.
Now the title of this article asks “What Does It Take to Deliver Superior Marketing?” And then I give you studies that say most marketing sucks. You might be led to believe that simply having good marketing would be satisfactory. This perspective is a major mistake. Jim Collins taught us that “good” is the anti-Christ of “great.” And probably more important than Collin’s assertions think about the abundance of media brands throw at us. If you want to standout, you must be superior.
So as marketers our first step is to acknowledge we have a problem. But this problem can be fixed looking at three areas:
2) skill sets
3) playing field
So first, let’s look at experience. As one Twitter profile I read said, “It takes a year to learn marketing, but a lifetime to become an expert.” Well, maybe not a lifetime, but I would agree with Malcolm Gladwell’s “10,000-Hour Rule”, that claims that it takes 10,000 hours of practice to be successful. Today, many young digital natives are placed in marketing leadership roles due to their digital prowess. What about their marketing prowess? And at the same time, I have seen way too many strategy and marketing leaders that lack digital knowledge and hands on experience. Superior marketing requires a leader that has lived through wins, mistakes, and an abundance of practice hours. But that is not enough. The experienced marketing leader must be an “adaptable marketer.” One who is a constant student of changes in technology and consumer behavior.
The second challenge in delivering superior marketing are the skill sets required. Granted this may be somewhat subjective, but I believe that marketing skills require the widest breath of proficiencies. Consider the diagram below …
On the y-axis, you see that marketing requires a big picture thinker. Someone that can put together a grand strategy that plays like an Oscar winning film that captures an audience, intrigues them, and motivates them to take action. At the same time you need someone that is extremely detailed and can plan and manage every meticulous aspect. Marketing execution is tough and not managing the delivery of one little task can ruin the vast orchestrated delivery. If you look at the x-axis you see two opposite ends of the gamut – strong content and writing skills and strong analytically skills. It is rare that someone is stellar in both of these areas. Thus you need to have the right people on your team. But at the same time, the leader needs to have complete understanding of content production and marketing analytics even if they have a subject matter expert executing these areas on their team.
The last category to consider for superior delivery of marketing is where marketing is channeled. Specifically online and offline. While digital marketing is getting the share hold of attention, offline marketing remains an imperative element of direct marketing and establishing brand preference. Most brands require a strong balance of offline and online marketing. This means that there must be integrated, coordinated, and collaborative offline and online marketing activities. A marketing leader must be experienced and skilled in doing so.
From my perspective, today’s marketing activities remain segmented due mainly to the issues I have raised in this article. If marketing leaders want to have respect at the executive table, they need to bring together all the disparate elements that today’s technology and consumer behavior demands. These technological and consumer changes demand an extreme marketing makeover. Does your company have the guts and leadership to drive superior marketing?
Make It Happen,