Strategy is a fundamental driver of business success, yet it is one of the most misunderstood terms thrown around the halls of business. Often mistaken for a goal or tactic, a strategy is how a company chooses to reach its goals, or to paraphrase Michael Porter it’s ‘doing things differently or doing different things’ to gain market advantage.
On a day to day basis how many times do you stop and think about the structure of your marketing team and the impact it’s having on how well you are going to market? Honestly? Yet, with the current situation of ever changing strategic focus coupled with mounting pressures on marketing to do more for less, deliver more tangible business results, become more customer oriented or be more agile, it’s something we at TrinityP3 feel needs to be thought about. Often.
I love a buzzword as much as the next person, which is why I love working in marketing. Some of my favourites include, gamification, amplification, customer-centricity, authenticity, influencer and agile marketing. Wait, what? Agile marketing isn’t a buzzword, it’s a genuine go to market strategy that has been transported across from the world of software development and is now being successfully utilised across marketing teams from education to garden centres. Isn’t it?
Imagine the industry you work in is impacted by changes so seismic that it fundamentally shifts how your business could or should operate. How would your business survive? How would your marketing team cope? Would they? This exact situation has happened to a sizeable number of industries over the past decade or so, including the music industry, publishing, technology companies, disability service providers and the higher education market.
Each year at TrinityP3 we work on many large strategic marketing projects. Ranging from marketing performance solutions to technology solutions to roster alignments, most of what we do will often involve a lot of people across quite complex organisation structures. Depending on the brief we will engage with CEOs, CMOs, CFOs CTO’s or procurement, as well as pretty much everyone in between. And at times it can, quite rightly, feel like everyone in the business is invested in or involved with the brief we are answering.
In a recent TrinityP3 post, Darren wrote about the growing problem marketers appear to be having with data, posing the hypothesis that the problem with data (and its effective use in marketing) is due to the fact many marketers misuse it in its application. At the end of the post Darren asks what is stopping marketers from coexisting with and embracing data and analytics in their roles and questions whether this lack of data trust stems from a lack of understanding.
Transparency. Mention this word at the next industry function and most people will assume you are talking about the very hot topic of media transparency. Transparency in marketing and advertising has always been a bit of a topic and is primarily thought of as an output (an unnecessary one by some) that flows between the agency and client or brand and consumer. However, there is another movement around transparency that has been gaining momentum for the past number of years that positions it as an input, and that is transparency in the workplace.
Do silo marketing structures hinder the effectiveness of your agencies? In a nutshell, yes.I have previously written about the negative impact silo structures can have on the function of marketing inside a business and, consequently, its brand. However, left to their own devices, silo structured marketing teams will eventually damage more than just the effectiveness of a business, it will also negatively impact on the effectiveness of your agency.
Why? Because quite simply it’s hard to be effective when you have a fragmented client with competing goals, inconsistent processes and a disjointed approach to client-agency relationships.
A silo is a standalone structure that is used to store grain. It has no other purpose other than to store the grain it has inside it and if another type of grain needs to be stored then a separate silo is employed for the task. These silos do not work together – ever, even if one silo is overflowing and the other silo is only half full. Similarly, business silos, be they at an organisational or departmental level, are teams that work within their own boundaries, focused on delivering to their own strategies and objectives and behaving as though all the other silos are a direct threat to their very being.
How would you handle finding out your marketing spend had been misreported by millions of dollars? More importantly, how would you go about reallocating that spend against campaign activity to give you a better indication of ROI? Could you? Would you? ROI is a hot, hot topic. Well to be honest, it has been for a while now but as ROI software, apps and other such tools become accessible to businesses of all sizes, it seems it’s all anyone can talk about.
Hands up who has ever moved into an exciting new leadership role only to have the gloss of it all rapidly fade when you realise the team you are now responsible for just doesn’t work – at all? No matter how experienced you are in the industry, one of the biggest challenges you will face when you take on a new position, either within the same company or with a new company altogether, is taking on an existing team. These teams will have a dynamic and with that a status quo, so as a result it can be tough to integrate in and make leadership decisions while you are still trying to figure who is who and what the hell is going on.
When I first started out in marketing, we had a full service agency that handled all of our advertising and media needs; they were the true ‘one-stop’ shop and, at the time, it worked really well. From the client perspective we only had one agency relationship to manage, and as a result we invested a lot of energy into making sure it ran smoothly. In our eyes, the agency was a true business partner, not just a supplier, and they were treated as such. Over the past 20 years however, the advertising and marketing landscape has shifted dramatically; with new media, creative channels, a shift in the role of the consumer, speed to market and increased real-time performance accountability meaning there are few agencies who can offer the one-stop solution, and this means more agencies are now needed to deliver on a client’s business.
When your marketing department is made to feel like it has to carry a pick axe to get results, there’s something seriously wrong. And the fault does not necessarily lay at the feet of the poor pick axe carrying suckers in marketing, although it may. Over the years TrinityP3 have conducted a vast number of marketing strategic alignments, whereby we work with a business to undercover and help them understand whether or not their marketing structures are set up in a way that will support the business to deliver on their strategic goals.