city street in motion

Most marketers these days have lofty goals. They want personalized, one-to-one marketing with their customers.

But those goals require businesses to act with speed and agility. 

And as a result, marketing is still very much a case of the old assembly line: designing and executing campaigns is a multi-departmental mission that demands the participation of multiple company functions cooperating in a linear workflow.

See If This Sounds Familiar

The marketing department defines a campaign brief and sends it out to campaign managers.

The campaign managers define a query designed to select the appropriate customer groups.

Someone else manually uploads the customer lists.

The creative team is tasked with coming up with engaging artwork.

After the campaign is executed, the analytics team assesses results and, ideally, shares meaningful insights.

After all this, marketing already regrets coming up with the campaign idea in the first place. So many people are involved — with their demanding schedules and competing priorities — that weeks pass before a campaign moves from start to finish.

The Quest for More Effective Marketing

This waterfall approach affects not only speed of execution, but also the essence of marketing itself.

Instead of interacting with many customer segments in campaigns that are personalized, relevant and effective, marketers are stuck with the old “Big Campaign.”

The cumbersome workflow kills all initiatives that don’t promise significant results and inevitably leads to a stunted ideation cycle and customers who are chronically underwhelmed.

From Paralysis to Control

To get to the desired goal of personalized, spot-on interactions and enhanced relationships with their customers, businesses must embrace agile marketing.

Intimate, one-to-one communication endows brands with an aura of emotional intelligence, sensitivity and customer-centricity that wins over the hearts of customers. In this sense, advanced, data-driven marketing is geared at generating a strategic uplift for your business.

However, agile, digital-first, contextual marketing requires an organizational paradigm shift, which often scares businesses into paralysis.

5 Steps to Better Marketing

Here are some steps you can take to overcome this stagnation and ease your business into the new era in marketing:

Cross-Train

Just like in a manufacturing assembly line, marketing production cycles rely heavily on the presence and schedules of the individuals involved in the task. But cross-training workers to perform multiple tasks mitigates this difficulty by allowing greater flexibility. The method, often referred to as “skill chaining,” increases productivity by creating a skill overlap that streamlines the work process.

Hire Talent

Art and science play equal parts on the modern marketer’s skill set. Fluency in data science and analytics are paramount, and so are creativity, digital savvy and business know-how. Recruiting well-rounded marketing talent is sometimes the best next step you can take in order to boost your marketing results. A marketer that is equally at ease with the creative team and the analytics team can consolidate the marketing cycle and speed up both ideation and execution.

Take the Technological Leap

With the new generation of data-driven marketing and customer relationship marketing (CRM) solutions, marketing can manage hundreds of distinct customer groups and ensure that each one receives the most relevant and effective campaign. With robust data and predictive analytical capabilities, these marketing tools allow small, integrated marketing A-teams to manage workflows and execute campaigns from start to finish, without the need to outsource campaign components to a host of other departments.

Bring in Professional Services

Many companies out there have perfected the art of agile marketing through technology and training, and offer consulting services to help you achieve the same. In the age of high professional demands, it may be worthwhile to aid your organizational transition by bringing in the experts.

Outsource

At times it’s easier to make a change after experiencing its benefits. If you’re still weary of agile marketing, you may want to outsource parts of your marketing efforts to businesses that offer these services. Deep customer segmentation, campaign performance analysis, campaign optimization and report creation are all services that can be obtained from external sources.

Change is Necessary

To stay relevant, marketing in customer-facing businesses needs to become agile, effective, creative and responsive.

Marketers have to change the way they operate, get more from their data and increase interactivity with happier customers.

As a CMO or marketer, it’s up to you to make sure your company gets there.

Title image "Market St" (CC BY-SA 2.0) by Davide D'Amico