The Marketing Strategist:
Marketing’s Four Paths to Strategic Growth
Marketing is expanding in both scope and influence. This has created new sets of challenges and opportunities. The top challenge is prioritization; how should marketing balance its traditional tactical roles with new strategic responsibilities? The golden opportunity is for marketing to step up, influence others, and drive change.
A subset of marketing leaders has done just that. These leaders have earned a voice (and a seat) at the boardroom table and are driving strategic growth for their organizations.
ITSMA research with marketing executives at leading organizations has uncovered the ways in which marketing is playing a more strategic role.
The roadmap for marketers to raise their strategy game generally falls into four categories:
Brand: Empowered marketers use their brand and communications expertise to become internal change agents for business strategy execution.
At Cognizant, brand and strategy go hand in hand. The company very effectively balances the tactical and strategic roles of marketing by dividing it into two separate organizations: field marketing and corporate marketing. While field marketing responds to the day-to-day needs of lead generation and Account-Based Marketing, corporate marketing keeps an eye on the future. It focuses on growing segments and shifting buying preferences to help maneuver the brand and business to meet client needs and stay focused on growth.
Sales/revenue: Strategic marketers do more than generate and nurture leads; they collaborate with sales and business unit (BU) leaders to profile ideal customers, segment and select target markets, deepen engagement, strengthen customer relationships, develop key account strategies, and provide feedback to shape the offerings portfolio.
In the UK and Ireland division of Atos, everything marketing does links back to topline impact for the organization, underscoring its value to the business. The overall mission is to create a personalized, omnichannel experience for clients powered by insights. Marketing’s purpose at Atos is to support business growth by driving new pipeline, closing deals, and delivering revenue.
Customer experience: Marketing doesn’t need to own the end-to-end process; the focus instead should be on leading experience design and orchestrating cross-organizational commitment and collaboration at every stage.
Misys (now part of Finastra following a merger with D+H in 2017) launched a cross-functional, fully integrated customer engagement program to reorient the company around the customer experience and effectively create customers for life. Misys Connect bundled 10 value-added programs into a programmatic model for B2B omnichannel customer engagement and success. Examples of programs included advisory boards, online communities, case studies and references, and an awards program. The Misys Customer Health Index (CHI) provided an instantaneous view of a customer’s end-to-end experience with the company, enabling the appropriate teams to address necessary issues.
Market/customer insight: Marketing brings an outside-in orientation to the company; market, customer, and competitive insights are essential as companies place their strategic bets.
Marketers at Optum have become customer and market experts. Every month the CMO shares a synopsis of its gathered intelligence with the senior management and operations executives. In addition, marketing works with product development teams early in the development cycle, conducting messaging and positioning workshops and helping BU leaders understand the competitive landscape through deep-dive workshops. Rather than simply report the facts, Optum marketing interprets the data and specifies the implications.
Marketing is poised to be more than just an internal agency focused on brand and communications or a sales support function generating leads. With the right mix of skills, executive support, internal communications, and training, marketing can take its seat at the strategy table, providing exponentially more value for the business.
Read our ITSMA Update, Marketing’s Four Paths to Drive Strategic Growth, that explores the progress that marketers have made over time to evolve their teams beyond the traditional perceptions of marketing as a marcom, lead-generation, or sales-support function into the more valued and powerful realm of providing insights, enhancing the customer experience, shaping strategy, and driving business growth.
Learn more about ITSMA research on Strengthening Marketing as a Driver of Strategic Growth and Strengthening Marketing’s Role in Customer Experience and Success by watching our webcast replays on these topics.