Group Vice President, Executive Advisory Strategies
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Our current market landscape is being led by self-educated buyers, and these buyers are moving fast and marketers need to move faster. Rich Vancil, Group VP of IDC, kicked off his IDC Directions session on “Best Practices in Building the New Marketing Machine” with this sentiment. So how do marketers not just move faster, but smarter? Vancil shared five key competencies to consider for modern marketing organizations based on recent research.
1. Content Marketing
Given the session kick-off and the value of reaching the self-educated buyer, it is no surprise that content marketing is a top factor. However, companies are not being as strategic as they could be. In many organizations, there are multiple groups engaging the customer—product marketing, corporate marketing, field marketing, PR (earned media), and social—and unfortunately, tone and style often do not align. To reduce this “messiness” and provide a more omni-channel approach, a head of content or editor in chief should be considered. This position allows content paths/links to be created and a consistent message shared with your customers.Once this great content is created, work with your employees to be advocates and share the content socially to expand the reach.
2. Sales & Channel Enablement
This is an evergreen issue. Sales is often sent materials directly from multiple groups, like product marketing, which can be overwhelming to the team. This is where sales enablement through corporate marketing can be extremely beneficial. The sales enablement team can be the intermediary to ensure materials are, in fact, sales ready and provide ongoing content audits to streamline the path of sales-ready tools. Allowing the sales team to spend more time with final tools and most important, your customers.
3. Customer Intelligence & Analytics
Data is a must-have for understanding the buyer’s journey, unfortunately; that data is normally poor, or not parsed out effectively. To use data effectively, it is encouraged to build a marketing operations ambassador program, which allows non-marketing employees access to marketing data to leverage for decisions. For example, finance could use some data to determine customer lifetime value or for budgeting, whereas sales may be able to tie customer engagements to sales to learn more about prospects.
4. Integrated Digital & Social Engagement
Providing an omni-channel experience is an ideal scenario for most marketers; however, we are not there yet. Similar to the challenges of multiple groups producing content, traditional media teams and those responsible for social promotions face similar disconnects, and it’s noticeable. However, having individuals own specific tools and collaborate/streamline messaging is key for success in the quickly growing social world.
5. Loyalty & Advocacy
Many organizations live and breathe through a subscription economy, particularly when it comes to software. The challenge can be keeping customers happy as new competing solutions are constantly being launched. Building this loyalty and advocacy lies across the product, corporate, and field marketing teams. Customer success teams that care about a customer’s experience and determine ways to reduce response time and ease of use can play a major role in success.
Throughout the session, there were many nodding heads on areas that need to be improved in order to move to a modern marketing organization. Where are your competency gaps and what ways can your team improve the customer experience? Share them with @IDCUKI or Richard Vancil (firstname.lastname@example.org)