Chris Hummel, CMO & EVP,
Evaluating New Initiatives and Programs
Marketing doesn’t live in a vacuum. When it comes to evaluating and implementing new marketing initiatives and programs, the list of stakeholders and interested parties is endless: sales, IT, services, and finance, legal, the channel team and so on. With so many cooks in the kitchen, task number one is to make the objective clear to each team and explain what you want to do and why. Don’t forget to set the measure of success upfront. There have been too many times that I’ve seen teams determining how to measure success after a program is over. Each department should act as your advisor and help you formulate questions that you might not think of. These colleagues will become advocates as a result.
“Access to real-time data and analytics is a potential game-changer when it comes to delivering what customers want and when they want it”
Know your budget or how to secure it before you’re too far down the path. Outline which systems and programs you’re going to deprioritize to fund the new ones and make training part of the initiatives and programs. Many digital marketing and modern marketing programs fail when the team leaps in and doesn’t know what they are doing.
Understanding Modern Marketing
Digital, social, advocacy, content, thought leadership, user experience design, account based marketing, predictive analytics, non-linear demand funnels, buyer journeys and marketing automation. There’s no shortage of “new” approaches. But it always helps to start with the customer. Who are you trying to reach, what do you want to say to them, how will you say it to them and why should they engage. It’s the “engage” part that is the real cutting-edge piece. For two decades in the 1990s and early 2000s, we lived in an era of brute force marketing where the primary approach to marketing was to run an activity against a segmented audience, push them to respond and then constantly whittle down the responses to some percentage that bought from you. If the amount of sales justified the investment, you were good. Today, no one can control the buyer’s journey. Today, the real task is to engage your customers in an iterative conversation across multiple channels. Sure conversion rates still matter, but removing the binary nature of a yes or no matrix will pay huge dividends in really building loyal customers.
Three Points to Focus on while Developing Marketing Program
One, start by defining your target audience: Who are you trying to market to? Second, define a brand experience that represents who you are as a business. A brand is the rational and emotional articulation of your business strategy, not just a communications tool. Third, make sure you learn every time. Making mistakes is okay, repeating them is not.
Prioritizing Work as the Head of Marketing
The first priority is always talent. Make sure you bring on good people that know more than you do about something and keep them engaged. Then, to avoid drowning in internal fire drills, I take every chance I can to talk to and meet with customers and partners. Keeps me grounded. Next are my internal stakeholders, my business leaders and peers that so depend on me and my team doing the right thing to deliver their own business performance results. And finally, then I experiment. I always leave time for the doodles and scribbles that have sparked ideas that changed companies and even industries.
Trends Impacting Marketing Initiatives
One of the biggest trends is increasing access to real-time data and analytics. These valuable tools allow you to be more nimble and to quickly react to changing events and market conditions. This is a potential game-changer when it comes to delivering what customers want and when they want it. Big Data here we come!