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group of business people sit at conference table to discuss the characteristics of best-in-class marketing organizations

Focus On These 4 Capabilities To Thrive

November 23, 2023

In the world of marketing, there are organizations who merely follow the tide, and then there are the Value Creators: the speedboats racing to the horizon. 

While these standout organizations excel in numerous ways, it’s important to note that even they, alongside their peers, have access to many strategies that help them to continuously elevate their game. As we explore marketing performance and measurement in depth, it becomes clear that there are universal areas that need improvement. 

In this post, we highlight key areas where all marketing entities can amplify their expertise. Drawing from the third chapter of the 2021-22 Marketing Performance Management study by VisionEdge Marketing, Inc. (VEM) and the University of Texas, Dallas, Jindal School of Management, this article explores the future trends and predictions in the realm of marketing performance, offering readers a glimpse into what lies ahead.

Quick Takeaways

  • Despite the rise of data analytics tools, many marketing organizations, including Value Creators, face challenges in effectively utilizing data for decision-making.
  • While Value Creators excel in many performance management aspects, there’s a pressing need for all marketing personas to enhance data utilization, elevate performance metrics, and adopt advanced tools.
  • Operational excellence in marketing is being hindered by factors such as data complexity, shifting market dynamics, and resource constraints.
  • For marketing organizations to truly thrive, they must prioritize continuous learning, foster a culture of adaptability, and invest in the right talent and strategies.

 

Understanding Best-in-Class Marketing Organizations

The MPM Benchmark Study, spanning 16 years, adopted a grading approach to gauge how top executives perceived the significance and input of the Marketing team. Consequently, this led to the segmentation of Marketing roles into three unique personas:

  1. Value Creators. Value Creators focus on a customer-centric approach, leveraging data-driven insights to achieve sustainable and profitable growth. They prioritize customer success and value, aligning their strategies with customer-centric imperatives.
  2. Sales Enablers. Sales Enablers ensure that sales teams have the necessary resources, knowledge, and training to effectively sell products or services. They play a crucial role in bridging the gap between marketing efforts and sales outcomes.
  3. Campaign Producers. Campaign Producers work to promote a product, service, or brand through various marketing channels. They strategize, design, and oversee campaigns to ensure they reach the target audience effectively.

To fully grasp the insights and discussions presented in this article, it is essential to familiarize yourself with these key terms as they are integral to the content that follows. 

1. The Data Deficiency Dilemma​

In the digital age, data has emerged as the cornerstone of effective decision-making. Yet, even as the tools and technologies for data analytics have grown, many marketing organizations find themselves grappling with a specific challenge: the data deficiency dilemma.

The Current Landscape ​

Value Creators, often hailed as the vanguard of marketing excellence, have undeniably showcased their prowess in harnessing data to drive effectiveness and informed decision-making. Their strategies, rooted in data analytics, have often set them apart from their peers. 

However, a closer look reveals a more nuanced picture. Despite the emphasis on data-driven strategies and the increased availability of sophisticated analytics tools, both Value Creators and their counterparts have made limited progress in these areas.

graphs show that Value Creators and their counterparts have made limited progress in using data

The Underlying Issues

Several factors contribute to this data deficiency:

  1. Overemphasis on Tools, Underemphasis on Strategy. The market is flooded with analytics tools, each promising unparalleled insights. However, tools alone are not the solution. Without a clear strategy on how to leverage these tools, organizations can find themselves drowning in data without deriving actionable insights.
  2. Lack of Skills and Training. While tools are available, the expertise to use them effectively might be lacking. Organizations need to invest in training their teams to harness the full potential of these tools.
  3. Silos and Fragmentation. Data often exists in silos across different departments. Without a unified view, it’s challenging to derive holistic insights.

The Road Ahead

The data deficiency dilemma is not too great to overcome. With a renewed focus on integrating data into the core of marketing strategies, organizations can bridge the gap.

This involves not just investing in tools, but also in people and processes. Collaboration, continuous learning, and a commitment to data-driven decision-making will be key.

2. Expanding Horizons

Value Creators have consistently demonstrated superiority over other personas in numerous performance management aspects. Their ability to harness data, derive insights, and drive impactful campaigns has set them apart. However, a deeper dive into the perceptions of the C-Suite presents a more nuanced narrative.

Despite their achievements, the C-Suite remains largely underwhelmed by Marketing’s overall contribution to business growth. 

The numbers are telling: Value Creators, while leading, score a 7.8 out of 10. In contrast, Sales Enablers and Campaign Producers trail behind with scores of 6.1 and 4.3 respectively

graphic shows that Value Creators only managed a 7.8 out of 100 in effective data utilization

The Imperative to Evolve

The data underscores a pressing need for all Marketing personas, including Value Creators, to:

  • Enhance Data Utilization. The potential of data remains largely untapped. There’s a pressing need to better harness data to drive both marketing and overall business performance.
  • Elevate Performance Metrics. While Value Creators have made strides in this domain, the journey is far from over. The emphasis should be on tracking, measuring, and showcasing the tangible value added by marketing initiatives.
  • Adopt Advanced Tools. The Metrics Catalog and Data Chains, two marketing performance management tools, represent the next frontier. Their adoption can significantly enhance the efficacy and impact of marketing campaigns.
graphs show that using metrics and data chains would benefit all personas

The Path Forward​

The journey of expanding horizons is both challenging and rewarding. For Value Creators and other marketing personas, the way forward involves:

  • Continuous Learning. Embracing new tools, techniques, and strategies to stay ahead of the curve.
  • Collaboration. Engaging with the C-Suite to align marketing goals with broader business objectives and to ensure that marketing’s contributions are recognized and valued.
  • Commitment to Excellence. Never settling for the status quo and always striving for higher benchmarks of performance.

The “Expanding Horizons” narrative is a call for all marketing organizations to push their boundaries, challenge existing paradigms, and chart new territories of excellence.

3. The Quest for Operational Excellence

A concerning trend has emerged across all marketing personas. Despite the advancements in data analytics and the tools available, there has been a noticeable regression in the use of data to enhance operational efficiency.

graph shows that the C-Suit remains underwhelmed by marketing’s use of data to improve performance

This decline is not just limited to one or two areas, but spans across various facets of marketing operations.

For instance, both Value Creators and Campaign Producers have witnessed a dip in their ability to set precise performance targets for their initiatives. While Value Creators still outperform their counterparts, the decline is evident and cannot be overlooked.

The Underlying Challenges

Several factors contribute to this operational conundrum:

  • Complexity of Data. With the influx of data from various sources, setting precise targets and metrics has become increasingly complex. The challenge is not just in gathering data, but in sifting through it to derive actionable insights.
  • Shifting Market Dynamics. The rapid pace of market changes means that targets set yesterday might not be relevant today. This dynamic nature requires a more agile approach to operational planning and execution.
  • Resource Constraints. Often, organizations face constraints in terms of tools, talent, or time, which can impede their quest for operational excellence.

Moving Forward​

To reclaim their stride in operational excellence, organizations, especially Value Creators, need to:

  • Realign with Core Objectives. It’s essential to revisit the core objectives and ensure that all operational strategies are aligned with these goals.
  • Invest in Training. Equip teams with the necessary skills to harness data effectively and set accurate performance targets.
  • Leverage Technology. Embrace advanced tools and platforms that can aid in data analysis, target setting, and performance tracking.
  • Foster Collaboration. Encourage cross-functional collaboration to ensure that operational strategies are holistic and take into account the broader organizational goals.

The quest for operational excellence is ongoing. While challenges exist, they are but stepping stones for organizations to refine their strategies, enhance their capabilities, and achieve unparalleled operational success.

4. Areas Ripe for Improvement

In the pursuit of marketing excellence, continuous improvement is a necessity. While Value Creators have set themselves apart in various domains, a closer examination reveals several areas where they, along with other marketing personas, can further refine their strategies and approaches.

Predictive Modeling: The Untapped Potential

Value Creators lead the pack in developing predictive models, but the margin is slimmer than one might expect—just a 20% lead. 

Predictive modeling, with its ability to forecast trends, customer behaviors, and market shifts, holds immense potential. Harnessing this potential can provide organizations with a competitive edge, allowing them to anticipate market changes and adjust their strategies proactively.

Diving Deeper into Data Utilization

While Value Creators are notably more effective (ranging from 45-70% better) at leveraging data in specific areas, there’s a vast landscape of improvement awaiting them:

  • Understanding Customer Preferences. In an era where customization is key, understanding customer channel and content preferences can significantly enhance engagement and loyalty.
  • Optimizing Media and Channel Mix. Allocating resources effectively across various media and channels can maximize reach and impact.
  • Improving Campaign Performance. Continuous monitoring and tweaking of campaigns based on real-time data can drive better results.
  • Segmentation Strategies. Defining and targeting specific market and customer segments can lead to more personalized and effective campaigns.
  • Product/Service Offerings. Data-driven insights can guide organizations in refining their product or service offerings to better meet customer needs.
  • Elevating Customer Engagement/Experience. In a competitive market, enhancing the customer experience is paramount. Data can provide insights into areas of improvement, ensuring customers remain loyal and engaged.

The journey towards marketing excellence is marked by both achievements and learning opportunities. For Value Creators and other marketing personas, these areas of improvement are not setbacks but rather signposts pointing towards greater success. 

By addressing these areas, organizations can not only enhance their current strategies but also position themselves as leaders in the ever-evolving world of marketing.

Recommendations for B2B Organizations

While Value Creators lead the pack in many aspects of performance management and measurements, the journey to perfection is far from over. Every Marketing organization, regardless of its current standing, has the potential to elevate its performance management capabilities and earn accolades from the C-Suite.

A top-tier Marketing function is invaluable for business growth and strategic decision-making. Our study sheds light on the characteristics and capabilities that define Value Creators:

Enhance Visual Creator Skills

Even the best Marketing personas, scoring between 90-100, only managed a 7.8 out of 100 in effective data utilization. 

The key to bridging this gap lies in mastering data analytics and fostering alignment between Marketing and organizational goals.

Foster an Adaptive Culture

For a Marketing function to truly evolve into a Value/Growth Creator, three elements are crucial:

  1. A culture that prioritizes data-derived insights
  2. Robust performance management
  3. Unwavering customer-centricity

Fostering an adaptive culture in Marketing is a multifaceted endeavor. It requires a shift in mindset, the right tools, and an unwavering commitment to excellence.

Hiring the Right Talent

The recruitment process offers a golden opportunity to onboard individuals with the “Value Creator” mindset. However, it’s essential to ensure that the organizational culture supports and nurtures these talents.

Be a Best-in-Class Marketing Organization Today with ISBM

Data remains a transformative force, with Value Creators leading the charge. However, our exploration highlights untapped potential and areas primed for enhancement. While tools and technologies are pivotal, the true differentiators are strategy, continuous learning, and unwavering commitment to excellence. 

As organizations navigate this dynamic realm, harnessing data, investing in talent, fostering adaptability, and challenging the status quo are paramount. The journey to marketing excellence is unending, but for those poised to embrace its challenges, the horizon is filled with boundless opportunities.

Ready to adapt, evolve, and strive for excellence? ISBM is a nonprofit, global network of business researchers and practitioners. Ask about how an ISBM Membership can help you now or visit ISBM today to learn more!

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