About 2 years ago at the Forrester Marketing Forum, David Cooperstein spoke about Adaptive Marketing, a new approach marketers must take to survive the significant changes put in front of us.
His main message – two years back – was that marketing will change rapidly and radically, caused by the technologies now at marketers’ and their customer’s disposal.
Around that time, IBM started their acquisition journey in the marketing space (now including Coremetrics, Unica, Demandtec, Tealeaf, Worklight and more). More recently, Oracle’s purchase of Vitrue, and Salesforce.com’s acquisition of Buddy Media continue the trend of enterprise software companies investing in technology for the marketing side of the house. Adobe and Google are right by their side, having already ingratiated themselves with marketers to deliver on creative execution, digital measurement, and of course search.
Two years later, it’s clear that most CMOs and senior marketers want to change and adapt. But they have a tough time understanding how to change. The ability to implement process changes and calculate careful organizational impacts will differentiate those CMOs that say they want to change from those that know how to make change happen.
As any IT or functional exec who has been through change management would tell marketers, technology does not solve for bad process, it just makes the problem more obvious. Why is this important now? Here are just a few minor things that have happened to marketing recently. “And none of these should be a surprise to marketers reading this”, according to David:
- Digital marketing has graduated to primetime. As you know, ‘Digital’ has moved from “that innovation thing” to a core part of the marketing mix. But the question that arises most often is how to train, organize and track all this new activity, and tie performance to business results.
- Marketing, media and service channels have exploded. The term, ‘omni-channel’, has finally been adopted by retailers who realize they need to be consistent with messaging and offers across all channels, simultaneously—something only technology can really solve for.
- ROI drives budget approval. You want more budget? Prove it to the CFO. But putting that into KPIs and integrating it with the overall management systems for the company will make the process smoother.
The major consulting firms need to pick up on this new area of technology-enabled change. Deloitte, IBM Global Services and Accenture all now have “Interactive” units that will deploy technology, but none of them have clearly articulated the change management required for marketing to succeed in implementing and making use of the technologies that are now available to them.
David: “Marketers, after you have your monthly lunch with the CIO start talking to folks at these integration firms, strategy firms and your agencies to get their thoughts about change management.” According to David you want these consultants to be smart on:
- The definition of the future organization – what are the new roles that people need to play in an adaptive organization?
- Mapping process within the technology – what are the essential processes that the marketing organization handles today, and what should change to make the marketing team more efficient and drive higher performance?
- The order of change management activities –what do you do with that clean sheet of white paper? Do you buy technology and then apply it to process, or do you map process then “paint” the technology with them?
- Choosing the technology that supports the process – once you know where you are going, can they help you evaluate the best solutions to get there?
- Roll out and measurement – how will you know you are heading in the right direction, and how will you prove that to the rest of the executive team?
David: “See who answers fastest, deepest, and with the most appropriate ROI on the investment. Then make sure that firm is compatible with customer databases, internal technology decisions, and your vision for the future of your organization. Then you can tap this resource to manage marketing at an entirely new level.”
nb This article appeared previously in Forbes 7/11/2012.