I spent Wednesday in an all day session with some Fortune 500 companies discussing how to improve global marketing operations. It was a great session with a lot of sharing among the companies. We had equal representation from Marketing and IT and a few even indulged in the tiramisu.
A rare thing happened in the middle of the day that I wanted to share more broadly. Have you ever had the light bulb go off in your head – a new clarity on a complex topic, a new way of looking at things. Once it goes off, the idea seems so obvious that you can’t believe you didn’t know that before. Now have you ever had that happen as part of a group? When everyone’s light bulb goes off at the same time? That is what happened yesterday.
I will try to replicate it in this blog, although I won’t be able to recreate the feeling in the room.
The Light bulb
The whole marketing world is talking about digital channels (mobile, social and content marketing) – and yet completely missing one of the biggest changes they bring. In the marketing world that nearly all current CMOs grew up in, nearly all marketing campaigns and communications went through broadcast channels (TV, Print, Radio, Outdoor). In the broadcast world, campaign success is largely driven by the strategy, concept and creative. So this is what most CMOs continue to focus on today across channels. Campaign execution is owned by the channel providers and advertisers don’t need to worry about it.
So far there shouldn’t be any light bulbs in your head. Here’s the light bulb: The new digital channels (social, mobile, content marketing) are not broadcast channels. To be effective they need to be timely, authentic and participative conversations from real people inside of companies.
It is the realization that companies must own execution for these new channels that is freaking out most Chief Marketing Officers. It is not a skill they have learned on their way up to their role and they are unsure on how to proceed.
So, any light bulbs? Seems obvious now that you see it. But I challenge you to find any reference on the web that talks about the shift in execution ownership from broadcast channels to digital channels. Anyone else in the midst of helping companies with this challenge? I’d love to hear from you. We are also trying to figure out the best way to depict this graphically. Please share your suggestions to improve the graphic.
IBM recently released a great survey of Chief Marketing Officers based on 1,700 face-to-face conversations with CMOs. That’s really quite an astounding number. If you haven’t seen it yet you can find it here – IBM CMO Survey. Its 72 pages, so there are a lot of potential takeaways. I’ll share my big “aha!” moment as I read through it:
My “Aha!”: Digital Channel Execution
Take a look at the top 3 items on the chart below. These are the top items about which CMOs feel most unprepared. Now ask yourself, what is the root cause behind these top 3 items? New channels are nothing new for marketing. Bathroom walls, airplane tray tables – I get calls every day from someone pitching me a new channel idea. But none of those other channels make me feel unprepared. Why? Because all of these are variants of broadcast channels (print, TV, etc.) and the owner of the channel handles all execution. I tell them what I want and they do the rest. There is no conversation, no interaction with prospects, no feedback. My ad stands there alone, lonely. This is not true with digital channels. To succeed requires authenticity, interaction and feedback and I can’t be authentic if I outsource my own voice.
CMOs are unprepared for digital channels because it requires taking on the execution – which is a totally new world for the vast majority of CMOs that grew up in a broadcast world and continue to focus on the success criteria of that era. Unlike a broadcast world, execution now impacts campaign performance and companies need to take ownership for execution.
Rich Vancil at IDC completed a very interesting survey regarding the growth of global marketing operations roles early in the year and I wanted to share this great information more broadly. [Unfortunately the original report appears have been taken down, 10/7/11. You can find the 2006 version available here or order the 2011 one here from IDC] Rick found that there has been a rapid growth in marketing operations roles from 2006 to 2010. Specific “Marketing Operations” titles have been growing 10% a year since 2006 and now represent 6.5% of all marketing roles. Continue reading »