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Is this what the future holds for the management of marketing?

20th Feb 2015
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In the new Managing Digital Marketing 2015 report we summarised our recent research into the changes to processes, structure and teams needed for managing digital marketing. A broader viewpoint is available in this new research, The Next Era of Marketing (free download, registration needed) from The Economist.

This report included responses from senior marketers in larger organisations worldwide. 478 CMOs and senior marketing executives worldwide were survey. More than 50% of respondents hold the CMO title or top marketing position. Respondents we located in North America (33%), Europe (30%), Asia-Pacific (29%) and Rest of World - which encompasses Africa and Latin America (9%). More than 50% of survey respondents (52%) hail from companies with more than US$500m in revenue; 20% have revenue of over US $5bn.

Here's my brief summary to the implications of the report.

Changes to the structure of the marketing organisation

A clear finding in the research is the requirement for changes to the structure of the marketing organisation.

More than four out of five (81%) agree with the statement: “We need to change the structure and design of our marketing organisation to meet the needs of our business over the next three to five years.”

It could be argued that over a period of three to five years there will always be some pressing reason to change the structure of marketing, but this chart shows the vast majority looking to change with many seeing this as anurgent need. The report reveals that in these businesses, marketing is more likely to be seen as a cost centre and there is a wish to drive revenue, to be accountable for managing the end-to-end customer experience and engagement, to move aggressively to acquire talent and to actively leverage data and technology.

For a review of the options for changing the structure of marketing to integrate digital, see our template covering digital marketing organisation structures.

What is driving the wish for structural change?

The report examines the drivers for changes to structures and concludes that changes are needed for improved control of customer experience and engagement. The chart shows that CMOs are seeking to gain greater control of the customer experience with a shift away from this being more sales or service driven.

Considering the focus of experience improvements for engagement, the definition of engagement is reviewed and this, perhaps unsurprisingly, focuses on improving retention and repeat purchases rather than engagement at the top of the funnel to improve brand awareness. This focus for engagement on retention is the same as the focus on Engagement in the Smart Insights RACE Planning framework.

Which technology investments will businesses focus on?

We saw in the review of the Marketing Technology Landscape that there are now far more choices for marketing technology. The Economist report also considers where technology investments will be focused.

The results show that many respondents are seeking to invest in social media and mobile marketing, although other charts in the report shows that companies of different sizes have different marketing priorities. Among the top four investments listed in the next chart, social media marketing has a disproportionate share of sub-US$500m companies, while marketing analytics claim a high share of companies with revenue over US$5bn. The biggest share of large companies’ investments is in automation, analytics, creative/design and content. The biggest share of small companies’ investments—those with revenue under US$500m—is in website personalisation, social, e-mail marketing and marketing resource management.

A new February 2015 report from McKinsey 'The dawn of marketing’s new golden age' also suggests the power of technology and the need for new structures and skills to harness it. The reports describes it this way:

Advances in data, modeling, and automated analysis are creating ever more refined ways of targeting and measuring the returns on marketing investments, while generating powerful new clues about why consumers behave as they do. Long gone is spending guided mostly by intuition and focus groups. Instead, organizations are seeking greater precision by measuring and managing the consumer decision points where well-timed outlays can make the biggest difference.

Digital marketing skills development

In our report, we asked about the popularity of development of specific digital marketing skills for managing digital media channels and experiences. This new report looks at skills development at a higher level:

The top 3 areas for skills development are Digital Engagement, Marketing Ops and Technology and Strategy analysis closely followed by data analysis, demand generation and customer experience. This focus lends support to the idea  the T-shaped marketer who requires technology and data analysis skills although the report didn't ask about the need for creativity. It also highlights the need for those with a more strategic, planned approach to managing marketing.

Dave Chaffey is a digital strategist who is author of Digital Marketing: Strategy, Implementation and Practice


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