3 Marketing Mindsets That Must Change for Companies to Successfully Integrate
Sure, there are all these nifty tools out there to make life easier, but many companies are still struggling with how to institutionalize change—especially when it comes to integration. Businesses wanting to become the customer-centric ideal need to have communications cross channels, embedded with the data necessary to allow cross-trained personnel to nimbly respond.
To do that, many of the old ways of thinking need to go by the wayside, say Dave Frankland, vice president and principal analyst at Cambridge, Mass.-based research company Forrester Research; Clare Hart, CEO at Omaha, Neb.-based marketing product and services provider Infogroup; Paul Magill, a principal at New York-based management consulting firm McKinsey & Co.; and Dana L. Wade, consultant in the Marketing Officer Practice at Chicago-based executive search firm Spencer Stuart.
The quartet spoke in New York during DMA's All for One Summit session "Is Your Organization Up to the Challenge of Integration?" on June 21. They provided these insights on how businesses can organize in order to integrate:
1. Personnel: To properly integrate, companies need transformative leaders rather than operational ones, Wade says.
Magill adds that that vision means marketing will "orchestrate customer engagement across the entire company." While that doesn't mean marketing will control decisions, it does mean the organization should allocate decision rights to cross-trained personnel.
One marketer that took steps to implement this thinking is San Francisco-based clothing retailer Gap, Frankland says. One department would enter the meeting of another and "shut up," he says. After simply listening and waiting a week, the guests would then provide suggestions to the departments they visited.
Learning about other departments helps dispel false beliefs about colleagues. Wade notes that data analysts are not only capable of creative thinking, they are creative thinkers at heart. Magill says human resources personnel, for instance, also are capable of branding decisions.
At the same time, Wade reminds the audience that "customers [and] consumers own the brand" as much as, or more than, marketers.
2. Data: "We're all drowning in data," Frankland says. Using analytics is part of the answer, but he says "the more important side of it is, 'What's the question you're asking?' "
Having data answer that question makes more sense, he says.
McKinsey research finds that businesses should create data streams with feedback loops, Magill says. To that end, Wade says dashboards are going to control marketing and organizations more and more. However, it's also more important than ever to trust gut feelings and consider whether, intuitively, what the dashboard is saying is right.
ROI is a tunnel-vision metric, Magill agrees. Keep an eye on the big picture.
3. Change while doing regular business: Don't be another Blockbuster, be a Procter & Gamble, Frankland says. The biggest challenge he has is having clients adapt while keeping the lights on. So Frankland asks, "How do I help you keep the bus moving, but change the wheels?"
That involves ridding organizations of another legacy mindset, Magill says: Stop thinking of marketing as separate from customer experience and change the campaign method to one of continuous communication.
"It's a lot of introspection," Magill says.