The importance placed on marketing, particularly in a B2B environment, has rocketed skywards over the last few years. Board members and business owners are switching from sales-led to marketing-led strategies in order to increase revenue and profit. Additionally, recent changes in buying processes have had a huge impact upon the way we, as consumers, choose suppliers and ultimately select products. This has meant traditional marketing departments have had to adapt or risk experiencing a siginifcant downturn in the effectiveness of their marketing activity.
So, what to do?
Abandon marketing silos
Whether you have a vast marketing department, or even the smallest 2-person team, both will need structure and direction. So how should you organise a department for maximum effectiveness in 2020? Gone are the days of marketing silos where PR experts write news releases, event teams plan annual trade show calendars and the advertising desk plans its media bookings. Today, the key to a successful marketing department is simple: Have one central group focussed around Customer Experience (CX).
CX must take centre stage
By 2020, 21% of marketers will structure their teams around customer experience, . The very best marketing teams will be focussed on getting to know the customer rather than being product or channel centric. It’s almost impossible to understate this; the importance of understanding your customer is critical.
Think about this for a moment – if you feel that your suppliers and/or business partners understand you, your situation and the business issues you’re trying to tackle, of course you’ll be loyal to them. Therefore, investing in CX as a marketing team is an investment in customer attraction and retention. This kind of brand loyalty is essential to the growth of any business.
Marketing owns the customer journey
Successful marketing teams have a strategic understanding of data-driven customer personas, customer journey mapping, and customer analytics. The key here is “data driven”. Not just a gut-feeling, some outdated received wisdom about who your potential customers may be, or some vague idea of why they would buy from you. We’re talking primary hard data. Proof. Once you have this, it becomes far easier to define your target audience.
In shifting from a “functional organisation” (structured by job title and/or team, such as advertising, sales, customer service etc) toward a CX orientation, marketing teams are taking on more ownership of the entire customer journey; as opposed to simply passing a customer from one part of a team to another as they journey from suspects to prospects, to customers, to repeat customers, to advocates.
Building a marketing team around the dynamic nature of customer experience can release some of the pressure on the existing organisational structure. The focus should be on the capabilities and work style of team members, rather than on how the team is organised. There is likely to be increasingly blurred lines between marketing, customer service, IT and R&D personnel, as each department (in the old style) works more closely with each other. Therefore, this is also a great opportunity to optimise resources and work collaboratively across what was previously constrained within organisational boundaries.
Integrating CX into your existing marketing structure
Investing in customer research is a great place to start. Tools such as customer survey software and customer journey mapping will empower your marketing team to understand and develop personas and journey maps in a way totally unique to your prospects and customers. You will undoubtedly need to assess the capability of team members and deal with any skills gaps quickly.
We have found it’s valuable to look at whether you getting the best out the technology you already use. For example, is your CRM a glorified address book or a tool used to build meaningful relationships? Are there gaps along the customer journey that strategic marketing technology, such as email marketing, marketing automation, or social media marketing, could help you fill? Can you identify where you customers are having a disjointed and therefore difficult journey?
As you drive your marketing strategy towards CX, future successful teams will not only need to have the technical understanding for your key marketing technologies, they will also need to have the soft skills required to thrive in a CX-focused environment. All Marketing leaders should be able to restructure their departments to embrace CX, but they will only be successful if they have a creative team that can effectively problem solve, make the most of marketing technology and resources, and change quickly as the business requires it.
If you’re already there, that’s great. If you think you might need some help focussing your team on CX, get in touch!
 Source: Gartner