While marketing as a function has changed dramatically from the years past, there is an increasing array of methods to align your brand/company to its central marketing credo. These methods have received some major face lifts in recent years with the advancements in network-based technologies designed to connect marketers with social platforms, provide tools for analysis, and align business goals with customer expectations.
“Marketing has entered a new era of rapid advance. Those unwilling to experiment with new combinations of traditional and internet marketing will be left behind.” —Chris Trimble, Adjunct Associate Professor of Business Administration, Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth and Coauthor, Ten Rules for Strategic Innovators: From Idea to Execution
“Everyone’s got a customer, and ensuring that those relationships are effective is a perennial challenge.” – Bill Brand, VP and Principal Analyist, Forrester Research
Pain Points of Today’s Marketers
We can dive into some of the specifics of the challenges as defined in a blog post by Adam Needles. What are the ‘pain points’ of marketing organizations that integrated marketing management platforms seek to address, and what are the challenges to meeting these needs? Marketers’ pain points – i.e., the activities that are critical to their success, but that are not always easy to achieve – are quite simple. Addressing them is the challenge. These pain points include:
- Centralizing management, control, coordination and communication
- Conducting marketing operations effectively and efficiently
- Maximizing value from current and potential customers
- Measuring and (eventually) predicting marketing outcomes
- Opening lines of communication with new potential customers and/or re-opening lines of communication with existing customers
- Showing positive net present value (NPV) of marketing investments
- Stemming the constant loss of sales leads through ‘leaky’ sales/marketing integration
As Adam so precisely outlined, these pain points can be pervasive throughout the organization and managing most, if not all of them, crucial to your company’s marketing success. We see this in the B2B space as well.
B2B Marketers Have Similar Struggles
With B2B marketing, the messaging often requires a wholly separate approach as the consumer model is not that of the general consumer. However, marketing pain points are similar in the B2B world. Some critical questions being asked are:
- With customer experience ranking as the single most exciting opportunity for client-side respondents, how can organizations ensure they are delivering a great customer experience?
- For B2B marketers, content marketing is seen as the most exciting opportunity for 2014. But how can marketers ensure their content is effective?
- Which areas will marketers experiment with most heavily in 2014?s
- Is email still relevant when engaging with millennials?
- In a data-driven world, how important is creativity to the marketing department?
For an organization willing and able to face the challenge head on; there will be a need to create a systematic approach to marketing. One of the ways is to create solutions that embody integrated or Enterprise Marketing Management.
Bringing It All Together With Enterprise Marketing Management
What are the major ‘camps’ of integrated marketing management, what does each bring to the table and what do their distinctions mean for marketers?
The integrated marketing management layer is more architectural vision than reality. Today, there are three major camps that deliver degrees of capabilities that approach this vision; meanwhile, there is a ‘fourth’ camp that remains the old standby and that is worth mentioning. The challenge in introducing these camps is that the lines between them are rapidly blurring. The primary factors for this trend include:
- Common set of features and capabilities: As vendors adopt similar tactical capabilities, ‘automation’ and points of integration; it makes it harder to discern their differences.
- Customers’ increasing shift towards forming buying decisions online: This means that nuanced Internet-based dialogue is more important than before … and is rapidly becoming a common point of focus for all of the camps.
- Emergence of Web services/cloud services integration: The issue of adopting a singular, end-to-end solution versus going ‘best of breed’ is no longer as important as it once was as integration becomes easier to achieve … putting marketing applications on course to do an end-run around IT and eventually be ‘plug and play.’
Value Proposition for Enterprise Marketing Management (EMM)
The future of marketing is clear – customers are shifting their buying habits online and viewing products and offerings via mobile devices, computers, and social networks. Marketing to customers using these platforms, integrating ‘plug and play’ applications for marketers, and providing tools to analyze and improve company offerings are paramount.
Where will your company’s marketing focus be in 2014?
If EMM is the answer, contact us today and let’s talk further. Here’s to your success in the new year!