Wednesday, November 23, 2005

For Technology-Enabled On-Demand Marketing -- Outsource

The CMO Council met recently in Monterey, California and focused on technology-enabled on-demand marketing. But for most attendees this notion is either an aspiration or an apparition.

That’s because relatively few marketing organizations have embraced a data-driven sensibility, implemented a functional CRM system or allocated resources to automate and measure marketing activities. In fact, in a survey conducted for the Council, CMOs confess that the lack of customer insight, business knowledge and marketing analytics and measurement are their three greatest weaknesses contributing to the devaluation of the marketing function and the marketing organization within Fortune 1000 companies.

The sands are shifting under their feet but CMOs can’t seem to react fast enough to these seismic events to keep their jobs longer than an average of 23 months.


Too many CMOs only know what they’ve experienced themselves. Most came up through the risk adverse ranks of corporations or were imported from the big agency world where branding was the only thing that mattered, where print and broadcast were the given pillars in any effort ad where customers were an abstraction and sales were an annoyance. Most have only a superficial understanding of the nuts and bolts of the businesses they are in, don’t get metrics or measurement and bristle at the idea that numbers rather than big ideas or dramatic images can change the game.

Too many CMOs don’t have enough people or the right people to embrace technology and on-demand marketing. Marketers have been systematically eliminated by cost cutting measures and many of the survivors don’t have enough grounding in technology and metrics to make a difference. And even when they adopt technology they rudely discover it takes or diverts people to learn and use the technology before you can realize the benefits In many cases, useful technology and CRM systems don’t get used because there is no time for training, experimentation or gathering content and data necessary to feed the beast..

Too many CMOs still are limited by corporate silos. They don’t control the full range of marketing assets and capabilities, have limited access to financial data and find themselves fighting other units to align with IT, web sites, sales, operations, telemarketing, PR and other functional units that should be deployed as a holistic marketing ecosystem.

So what should CMOs do?

Assuming the objective is to get more for each marketing dollar spent and find ways to sell more things faster, the short answer is …Outsource.

The effective CMO recognizes the limitations on resources and the lingering doubts about marketing in the C suite and will embrace a strategy to assemble the necessary components rather than build them from scratch or aggregate them through empire building. He or she understands that performance – measured by some kind of ROI calculation – becomes the barometer of job security rather than how much everyone loves the new campaign.

The trick then becomes finding the right external partners with the right attitude, the right cost structure and the right tool set. And then, CMOs must find the right lieutenant to efficiently assemble, direct and align the outside players with marketing and sales plans, timetables and existing internal organizations to deliver measurable results.

We are seeing the emergence of these trusted lieutenants, senior Marketing Operations executives, tasked with this job. And they are talking the talk of marketing resource management (MRM) and scouring the landscape for partners, usually not ad agencies that can jump into the fray, deploy expertise and technology quickly without prompting battles with IT or requiring too many additional people to provide liaison.

These emerging marketing companies are the ones to watch for clever innovations, breakthrough technologies and traction in utilizing CRM and other data sources to move forward in automating repetitive marketing functions.


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