Redefining Roles within Marketing

Patti RennerOne overlooked challenge of adopting a customer-centric cross-channel approach for marketing is not technology – it’s people. Teams within your organization are aligned around channel-specific responsibilities. Budgets are designed around channel-specific activities. The traditional funnel concept no longer works, but that doesn’t mean anyone is racing to replace it.
I invite you to take a step back and consider what is really going on with your customers. Here are some trends.
  1. Customers no longer respond well to marketing messages pushed out to them. They want stories, useful information, and ideas to entertain or enlighten them. The fact that this useful, entertaining content (aka “utility content”) is attached to your brand is a plus for you.
  2. People need depth of content to help them make a decision, or to validate the emotional “I-gotta-have-this” impulse when considering your offer. Websites, landing pages, case studies, videos, review forums… all of these help support the decision to buy. And since people are more likely to either ignore or not trust your advertising messages, these depth channels are worth attention.
  3. People are social. They want relationships with other people and with the brands they choose (in many, but not all cases). They use their purchase patterns to define themselves as individuals. To enhance your relationship, use your data to see what sites (social and others) your audience uses most often. Where do they spend their time connecting with others? Are they on Facebook, or are they scanning the recipe or weight-loss forums? Are they part of an online community? Are they posting to Pinterest or looking up DIY projects on home-improvement sites for inspiration? Be where they are, offering your brand as a helpful, supportive resource for them.

Knowing the value of reaching the customer with the information they want in the manner they prefer means your approach needs to shift internally. Nate Elliott, an analyst at Forrester Research brought up some interesting points at his closing remarks at the recent Marketing Leadership Forum event. While I’m not a huge fan of the forced acronyms (RaDaR, SoLoMo), etc.), he did bring up some excellent points about how today’s buyers engage. My question is this: If you had no legacy systems and were starting from scratch, would you structure things as they are today? Nate suggests changing up titles to reflect what the people do instead of the tools they use. I wonder how much easier it might be if you had a “Head of Reach” instead of “director of digital” or a “Head of Relationships” instead of “director of social engagement.” Something to consider as the funnel is crushed under the heel of today’s consumer. These are exciting times indeed.

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