Your marketing department is facing more challenges than ever before and it all boils down to two main areas: Brand Experience & Marketing Operations.
#1: The Brand Experience Problem
As a modern marketer, you have more on your plate than ever before. In the past, you were responsible for print, television, and web campaigns. Today, thanks to the advancement of digital consumer technologies like mobile and emerging interfaces, you must:
- Create exceptional experiences, not just campaigns. Campaigns push messaging onto customers: this old world of a one-way customer dialogue is dead. Just think of how many times you’ve muted television commercials or x-ed out of online advertisements in the past week. Customers today demand brands engage with them in a two-way conversation. They want interactions that are useful, interesting, and relevant. Brands like Apple and JetBlue get this and have centered their entire brand around delivering exceptional experiences.
- Produce consistent content faster, across all customer touchpoints. Customer needs are changing quickly, so marketers must deliver experiences, across multiple touchpoints, faster than ever before. I once talked to a B2B organization that was tasked by executives to move from an 8-week long approval process for campaigns to 2-week turnaround time. Today’s marketer can’t spend 2-3 months on a single campaign or brand experience. Think days and hours instead of months. Oreo’s famous tweet about the Superbowl blackout happened mere seconds after the inciting event.
- Deliver personalized content at the right moment. Customers are inundated with messaging (one of the world’s largest retailers has sent me 925 emails so far, this year, that is an average of three a day!) With all that noise, it is easy for a brand to get lost. Personalization will be critical to stand out in the crowd. Instead of sending 925 generic emails, we must tailor messaging to customers based on their exact needs. For example, AT&T sends new customers a personalized video via text explaining their first bill; North Face has unveiled an AI-powered digital personal shopper; and Google Assistant helps manage all day-to-day tasks across all your platforms.1
As the customers’ expectations expand, so do the marketing challenges. Creating personalized content that delivers a consistent message and exceptional experience is complicated. It’s impossible to keep up using traditional marketing methods without creating a void, at Aprimo we call this the Experience Gap.
#2: The Marketing Operations Problem
The focus on brand experiences puts the spotlight squarely on marketing. This is an incredible opportunity for marketers—whether you are a CMO, director, or individual contributor—since the value of marketing is elevated in the eyes of the CEO. However, despite these new opportunities for you to deliver a better brand experience the reality is it’s harder than ever before:
- Too much time spent on manual work. Recently I spoke to a luxury goods manufacturer who had to walk across the street, to the director’s office, to get content changes approved. You might not have to go to this extreme, but are many actions are still manual today? To submit a creative request do you have to come up with the idea, write it down, find the right person to email, and hope that they respond to your message? To fix the color on a product image do you have to set up a meeting (1-2 weeks out given everyone’s busy schedule), or schedule a web conference, and talk through the changes?
- Processes don’t scale. How many of us have had a meeting about a new campaign on Monday, only for the entire team to scramble to redo everything on Friday afternoon? Our current way of working, managing budgets, and managing content is the marketing equivalent of running around with our hair on fire. Not only does this not scale to marketing’s new demands, but it creates a culture of burnout and high turnover.
- Limited visibility. I once worked with a manufacturer that created separate experiences, content, and messaging for their email and social channels than in their web and print channels. This led to soaring content recreation costs, inconsistent brand, and divergent messaging. Marketing leaders need better visibility into marketing groups activities to help better make connections between channels, groups, and regions.
All these steps take time and resources. Yet marketers today are required to get more content in market faster than ever before with the same or fewer resources. You can’t keep up in the current scenario, we call this the Marketing Operations Gap. So many of marketers today are preoccupied with the next best way to execute and deliver experiences, that they aren’t efficiently running their marketing operations so they can do more with the resources and budget they have.
How do we close these gaps and be more productive?
Automated processes and new intelligent technologies are critical. They lessen the amount of time you spend on manual project management. Putting the right technology and agile marketing processes in place give you more control, visibility, and time to deliver great brand experiences and give you the advantage.
We’ll be going into more depth on how you can close these gaps in our upcoming Mind the Gap series. To learn more watch our recently recorded webinar – Mind the Gap: Making Marketing More Productive.
This is Part 1 in a four-part blog series. Be sure to check out the rest!
Additional blogs in the Mind the Gap Series:
About the Author
Anjali is a product marketing director at Aprimo, and looks after the strategy, go to market, positioning, and messaging for the Marketing Productivity, Plan and Spend, and Digital Asset Management products. Prior to joining Aprimo, she spent 8 years at Forrester Research where she covered the marketing technology, eCommerce, and digital agency spaces.Follow on Twitter More Content by Anjali Yakkundi