Think marketing outcomes first, techniques second

By | 3 minute read | March 26, 2019

Recent years have demonstrated that marketers can no longer rely on traditional marketing techniques. In order to be successful, they need to increasingly combine three core marketing competencies: brand management, experience design, and performance marketing.

Merging these competencies can be difficult as they generally come from different skills within an organization. One of the first and best ways for modern marketing to take shape and overcome this is by aligning on high priority outcomes for the business.

Common and coordinated business outcomes

In stark contrast to the days in marketing when more advertising equaled more brand awareness and ultimately better sales, modern marketing operations is driven by dynamic segment understanding and multivariate testing. Simply put, it is much more instrumented, and it is much more measured. While it’s a given that digital marketing activities provide performance metrics, many offline marketing activities like trade shows, industry articles, and television advertising are generating customer-level performance metrics as well.

With many measures and metrics available for marketers to better understand their customers, companies are awash in customer and marketing performance data. One of the primary issues in this data glut is a lack of understanding on what action, if any, to take when performance data is coming in. Most firms struggle because they haven’t declared common and coordinated business outcomes in which to measure performance against.

Business outcomes may vary from brand to brand, region to region, but in order to understand a holistic impact of marketing efforts firms are increasingly tying global marketing activity to common business outcomes and defining common marketing performance data models to consistently tie back to results.

Many channels…many systems

Another challenge for marketers to drive action from insight has been the siloed nature of many marketing channel activities. Email marketing, commerce, mobile, social, and media efforts all operating and reporting out into their own swim lanes provides brands little insight into cross channel acquisition performance. Brands may know which channel converts best but have little understanding of cross channel interactions taking place. For example, customers choosing to call a phone number from the website may represent an unintended path but these interactions could provide tremendous insights depending on how that sequence performs.

Many brands also continue to struggle with measuring their marketing activities against business outcomes because the plumbing is complex. There are many systems of record that are specific to industry and legacy investments. Getting access to data that represents true business outcomes could be problematic, acquiring that system’s data to feed into new performance management tools could be challenging, and accessing that data in real-time may not even be possible.

Optimize your marketing

However, these challenges can be overcome when tackled head on in an agile (purposely lower case for now) way. Approaching this type of transformation as a program as opposed to a project could provide the best mindset for success. Targeting a realistic Minimally Viable Product (MVP) phase that offers value to your performance marketing organization and shows proof of the benefits through actionable insights is a good starting point in this type of transformation.

IBM iX has been working with many clients to help them better understand IBM Marketing’s own transformation and their efforts to become a data driven marketing organization. It’s an ongoing process, but the results are clear. Our marketing organization has gained the ability to track efforts across our global organization, by brand, and by campaign, and uses that information to weigh business impact across all marketing decisions.

We can help your company optimize their marketing initiatives as well. We can provide hands-on coaching for analyzing marketing operations performance and identifying potential bottlenecks. We can help you lay the foundation for a data- and process-centric culture of continuous experimentation and optimization.

Let’s continue the conversation. Learn how IBM iX can help accelerate your marketing programs with two transformative opportunities: Connected experience journey and Program performance diagnostics.

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