Marketing Capabilities – 7 key steps to success


Flock Associates Marketing Capabilities

In a recent Marketing Capabilities study conducted for the World Federation of Advertisers by our own Maarten Albarda:

  • 71% of leading global companies said that marketing was key to their growth
  • However only 54% thought that they were World Class marketers
  • Only 48% of CMO’s were responsible for developing marketing capability plans
  • Only 39% of companies had any KPI’s to track the effectiveness of their investment in marketing capabilities
  • Of sixteen criteria that were offered as being important E-commerce came lowest, with creative excellence second lowest. Really?

So, when everyone thinks marketing is so important why is the investment in marketing capabilities so haphazard?

If you wanted a world class football team you’d set up a great academy, you’d also recruit and pick the best players, devise the best system for them to play in, and have loads of training. You’d also make sure you’d have great statistics and learn from success and failures alike.

So, if you’d do this for a football team, why not a global marketing team? Why wouldn’t you have a marketing capabilities program?

At Flock we have helped many clients create marketing capability programs. Here are our seven key steps to success:

  1. Start with a long term marketing strategy

Many people begin looking at structure, roles, and responsibilities and so on but do not relate them to the company’s marketing strategies. If you look at where the consumer will be and what they require of you in three years time, and build your plans round that you won’t go far wrong. A great marketing strategy is the key to a great marketing capability plan.

  1. Figure out what you want in-house and what out-sourced

What roles and marketing capabilities do you need or want in-house? Data? Creative services? Web and content management? Social Media community management? Technology and data are changing marketing fast you may should make a conscious business decision on what marketing capabilities you want in-house versus out of house. This may also lead to a fundamental agency ecosystem review.

  1. Work out the best process

Before you rush to structures we’d suggest you work out the best process, and only then map roles and responsibilities onto this, that drives the structure. We see time and time again marketers wrestling with organisation charts before points 1-3 are done. This is why so many marketing reorganisations fail, it’s because they are only a part of the solution not the solution itself.

  1. Set a structure that is based around the consumer needs

Organise around your consumer needs. It’s amazing how many marketing departments are supposed to be the “voice of the customer” in a company, and yet are structured inside out. If marketing isn’t organised around customer needs, how can you meet their needs?!

  1. Build a team of stars

It’s simple. If you want World Class Marketing get World Class Marketers in key roles. A few great brains are worth more than lots and lots of ok ones. And, this team needs to be a team. We are shocked at how little time and effort goes into building effective teams in many marketing organisations. It’s amazing how often we run workshops for clients where half the people don’t know each other, or only know each other by e-mail!

  1. Train for excellence

If you know that data will be more important in the future, what are you doing to train your teams to deal with data and to harness it? If Digital is disrupting your business, how are you looking to get ahead? If your training plans are better than your competitors, there is a good chance you’ll beat them. It’s true in sport, it’s true in marketing. It’s just ignored a lot on marketing!

  1. Measure your progress

If you are not measuring your skills, your gaps, and the success and failures of your marketing capability programs the chances are they just won’t work.

So, seven steps to a successful marketing capability program. If you’d like to see the World Federation of Advertiser’s study, see some case histories, or discuss developing a marketing capabilities program, give us a call or drop us a line.

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