The Mood of Marketing 2017 report provided fascinating insights on a rapidly changing industry. Recently published, it gathered together seventy four of the country’s leading marketers, and revealed the impact of data and technology on marketing in New Zealand. The report revealed four key takeaways:
Successful marketers create a clear and consistent brand story and vision - 65% of Mood of Marketing respondents measure their marketing effectiveness through brand awareness, and 67% expect their content marketing budgets to increase next year.
They use data driven insights to create personalised customer experiences
Within their organisations they are stepping forward to own the customer and customer experience
They place data and analytics at the heart of their work to improve decision making and the impact of their marketing - 79% believe CRM will be an entirely marketing owned function within the next three years.
The report also revealed another truth - numbers only tell half the story. In the case of data it’s how its turned into action that really marks the difference between success and failure.
We've been chatting with several of our respondents to dive deeper into their data stories and to provide a little human context to the Mood of Marketing numbers. In this, the first in a short series, we’re looking at the role marketing teams play in getting an organisation started with data.
Define your marketing outcomes
“Most businesses have huge amounts of data. But it’s what they do with it that makes it valuable.” - Julia Jack, CMO Mercury.
As an electricity generator and retailer, data wasn’t really the problem for Mercury. Unlike many New Zealand businesses, Mercury’s core business means they have real scale and volume to their data, at both the consumer and sector levels. When Julia started as CMO a year and a half ago she encouraged the business to spend time thinking about what they wanted that data to achieve, before diving into execution.
“We spent a lot of time on our desired marketing outcomes before we got deep with the technology,” says Julia. “In hindsight I’m really glad that happened”. Working this way helped Mercury identify two challenges they needed data to resolve - first, make the business more efficient in dealing with customers, and second, help drive creativity in product offerings.
These baselines were crucial. “They meant we had identified the key questions against which we could then validate all our subsequent work. Without committing that time upfront to agree on our marketing outcomes, we could easily have fallen into disarray”.
The stack versus the outcomes
That disarray is something Nathalie Morris sees happen a lot. “I can think of several high profile examples for the last few years where enterprise level organisations have ‘committed to data’ and then gone straight to the technology stack. Time and again it results in a real challenge for the organisation and typically poor outcomes”.
As GM of Data Powered Marketing at Qrious, Nathalie gives the same advice to all potential customers.
“The successful approach is almost always to define the customer experience outcome you require and THEN to find the technology to deliver it.”
It follows that business cases supporting data transformation are almost always more successful when clear on marketing outcomes.
Delivering those business cases requires strong marketing leadership, meaning a changing skill set for marketing leaders. As more eyes across the organisation are focused on data, successful CMOs and marketing managers now educate and execute. “As data has become more essential you see business cases driven from board imperatives, or even from the C-suite down… basically these leaders understand data is important but they don’t really understand what that means from an organisational point of view”.
Without clear marketing guidance, business cases like these usually start with technology requirements - “what do we have or what do we need” - and tend to create real issues when signed off and moving into execution.“It’s not necessarily the fault of the board, or C-suite either. Often the real knowledge on data sits at the middle management level in marketing, these are the people who can see why it’s needed. This is even more of a problem with SMEs, where structures may be a little leaner and marketing may not be at the top table. We need to be empowering and educating our marketing leaders to confidently step up to the C-suite, bringing with them their understanding of data, and helping their organisations to plan correctly for the transformations they need”.
Cross-functional teams and marketing imperatives
The ANZ data journey is a good example. Not unlike Mercury, ANZ generates real scale in data - this year the incoming Group Exec for Digital, Maile Carnegie, identified data as “... the ANZ’s crown jewels...”. For ANZ NZ, the journey to creating value from data required a strong focus not only on the technology but also on understanding how mobilising data can deliver value to both customers and the business. To achieve this, the organisation placed a premium on cross functional collaboration.
“In reality, delivery of any data strategy requires cross-functional teamwork. Here at ANZ we really do work closely together, with marketing and technology hand in hand with the business to create value for customers through data”.
For the marketing team, the key challenge has been identifying the value that using data can add to customer interactions, building that into a compelling case for investment that not only unlocks funding, but also helps to surface priorities that investment can address.
In terms of the goals of the strategy, marketing sets the tone, but adding a cross functional layer means data delivers much better results for the organisation.
“We knew data played a role in minimising risk, but it was vital to our success that we also identified the customer opportunity. By keeping the focus on customer it meant we (marketing) maintained a strong voice in both achieving board sign off, and in the technical roadmap we needed for execution”.
So if marketing is key in getting an organisation to focus on data, what happens next? How can the marketing teams lean in to keep the process rolling - and what are the next steps you need to think about? In the next in this series from the Mood of Marketing report we’ll take a look at technology decisions, and who should be driving them.