Marketers: Who’s Sitting at Your Strategy Table Now?

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Some days I wish I’d grown up in the Mad Men era. So simple. Need great marketing? Call Don Draper, write a check, run the ads. Sell more stuff. Lather, rinse, repeat. The ad agency was at the center of the universe because your advertising strategy = your marketing strategy. Fast forward to the digital data era, and it’s a whole new gang at the strategy table.

A modern marketing team needs to be able to analyze an endless stream of real-time data coming off of multiple technology tools: CDPs, CRMs, marketing automation, customer engagement, data warehouses…the list goes on. And to decode it, you need professional help and professional tools. This doesn’t mean your ad agency isn’t at the table, but it does mean they aren’t taking up all the seats.

Marketing leaders now have some new allies in the fight for customer acquisition and customer retention, and they come in the form of technologists, data scientists, business intelligence analysts, growth professionals, operations specialists, CRM managers, attribution analysts, and, OK, maybe a marketer or two. The emergence of these new roles and how they are integrated into the fabric of marketing mark a defining moment in the evolution of the discipline.

Today, great campaigns require help from functions that did not exist in the Mad Men days:

Chief Growth Officer: Growth = acquisition. Silicon Valley companies have been obsessed with growth at all costs, and this role bridges the gap between marketing and product. What experiments can you do to drive growth? What features will entice new customers? How can customer feedback be incorporated into the product roadmap? Having a person dedicated to user acquisition and retention will only help make your campaign more successful, both short- and long-term.

CIO / CTO / CPO: Technical people will help turn your ideas into reality, and also make sure that your campaigns are always up and running. For example, food delivery apps may want to create campaigns for rainy weather. In order to do so, that app would need engineering help to integrate with a contextual location technology. A more technical person will also provide the checks and balances that will ensure your customers’ data will be secure, and that you’re in compliance with all of the emerging privacy laws. The risk of not working with the technology team is twofold: your digital experiences may not always work (think downtime and outages), and you run the risk of being deleted (Braze’s recent privacy survey found that 84% of adults have decided against engaging with a company because of privacy concerns).

Chief Data Officer: Marketing happens in real time now—campaigns are adjusted in milliseconds based on how customers are responding to them. Don Draper used to wait for sales results—now we know, in an instant, whether a promotion works or it doesn’t. Consumers make decisions to buy, watch or ride on the spot—marketers have to respond in that same time frame with actions that are highly personalized and relevant. Data needs to be ingested, classified, orchestrated, and personalized, so that you can iterate and improve the campaign. Giving everyone greater speed to insights will enable the business to learn and grow faster.

Marketers have to reach across the aisle and bring growth professionals, technologists, and data scientists into the conversation, way up front in the ideation process. What data do we have? What data should we have? How do we get it? How do we use it? What action should we take? How will we know if it’s working?

The answers to these questions are attainable, but they probably won’t come from your ad agency. They’ll come from stakeholders at the “new” marketing strategy table.

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