Change is Changing: 6 NEW triggers for Marketing Transformation

We often focus on process- and tech-led change, but things seem a little different than they did just a year ago.

Jim Kalbach, a noted expert in user experience design and information architecture, recently published Mapping Experiences. This comprehensive book is not only about how to document experiences, but really is a how-to guide for marketing.

Kalbach brings forward many approaches and examples of the types of mappings firms have used to strategize and create alignment to orchestrate the execution of these mappings. As a consultant I enjoy a good mapping. At the same time, my clients would say the real challenge is using the new perspectives that come from the mapping to make substantive structural changes to their businesses.

My takeaway is that these “alignment diagrams” may bring managers across the firm together on the same page, but aren’t these types of mappings the ACTUAL way a company should operate?

Marketing technology is maturing, and is ripe to be better applied.

We have come to believe that now, more than in the last 10 years, companies are ripe for change to a future state that truly does overcome organizational silos in favor of properly implemented technology that enables the customer experience and journeys described in these mappings.

In Scott Brinker’s Marketing Technology Landscape 2016, the fluidity of marketing technology jumps off the super graphic -- with the growing number of vendors -- while convergence and consolidation loom on the horizon. The editorial around the super graphic proclaims that marketing’s current challenges have less to do with the technology itself, but are more about how to apply the technology.

Now, in 2016, after many firms have their first runs at major change initiatives behind them, we are seeing new motives for change. These new motives are less about defining teams and reporting lines and single tools; and more about broadly implementing technology and understanding what it really takes to deliver a unified customer experience.

Based on our client experiences, I think it is safe to say that most medium and large businesses already have all the technology they need to deliver the intended customer experiences, and to do so with a sufficiently efficient marketing supply chain. Companies should surely reevaluate highest priority requirements and consider changes to their stack, but those are just the details.

With invigorating customer experience and journey goals now documented in the company’s alignment diagrams and an abundance of available technology, where will change come from in the next 2 to 3 years?

6 new triggers for change:

  1. The shift from sales-led revenue generation to scalable marketing-led revenue generation means that sales and marketing are finally converging… and we can now unify interactions and define frameworks and approaches that represent how sales and marketing tactics should align. One version of the truth can set the goal posts for all stakeholders, now more than in the last decade.
  2. Marketing leaders have new c-level goals in delivering (or contributing to) a unified customer experience, and now must steer the ship to unify sales and marketing, and all the processes, systems, tools, messaging, and taxonomy that support them. Relatedly, focus have advanced from marketing automation to integration, for better customer experiences and efficiency.
  3. New appreciation for smart process design that drives roles, behaviors, AND technology configuration, following many not-so-successful technology implementations. Marketers now need to have reliable planning processes that coordinate the assembly of good strategy and execution processes set for omni-channel engagement.
  4. Marketers are developing new expertise in the whole stack, whereas previously marketing technology practitioners were very deep in individual solutions. As the stack becomes more integrated, marketers acquire new knowledge and skills to boost the value of the sum of the parts.
  5. Marketers understand that a ubiquitous approach is critical for creating content that truly represents the essence of the firm, and to efficiently distribute that content through multiple online and offline channels. Workflow, taxonomy and metadata are understood to be the underpinning of marketing operations.
  6. The newfound appetite for business blueprinting and operating models will help companies organize themselves for optimal positioning in today’s fluid environment, blowing up stifling silos as they go. Indeed, customer journeys and experiences need to be mapped, but so do the company’s capabilities that deliver them.

As this next round of change takes shape, marketers need to consolidate their highest impact initiatives into a management plan that coordinates the initiatives to achieve a unified customer experience and other goals. If the initiatives don’t work towards a common end, making those alignment diagrams a reality is assured not to happen.

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