Building a high performance customer-centric marketing operating model

by Justine Tabone

Unprecedented change in the customer environment has fundamentally transformed the role of marketing within enterprise organisations. New marketing specialities and increasing dependence on technology is demanding new skills that are in short supply. This pressure is further exacerbated by revolving marketing leadership, changing strategies and limited C-Suite buy-in to the value that this function delivers.

In the attempt to demonstrate ROI and deliver impact, the typical response is to invest in more resources and technology, sending marketing teams into an endless cycle of expensive change. We believe there is a better way. For organisations seeking to create a high-performance, customer-centric marketing function – a holistic, future-fit operating model is often the missing link. Beginning with a clear view of the ideal customer experience at critical moments, allows for high-priority marketing capabilities to be identified. The marketing function can then be pivoted and scaled within the same, or lower investment envelope.

Here are 5 important considerations when designing and implementing change to your marketing operating model:

1. Establish a clear role and purpose for the marketing function

Whether your marketing function is driven by the imperative to build new digital experiences as a first mover, reach new customers through integrated digital channels, reduce reliance on intermediaries or to support a significant technology transformation, establishing a clear purpose for change is a critical first step.
An effective purpose for driving change elevates the importance of the customer experience, creates an enduring frontline focal point and guides the inevitable trade-offs in decision making to be made in the operating model.
2. Invest in strategically aligned critical marketing capabilities

A shift in strategic direction for marketing will often highlight pivotal capability gaps that are required for the future. For example, a new marketing automation platform will generate the need for content creation along with campaign execution capabilities and will require additional data governance models to be put in place.

To identify and close these gaps, the first step is to define the desired future state customer experience at the moments that matter, and map your current organisational capabilities against this. Ruthlessly prioritising in this way will ensure that investment is made in the key capabilities, over the ‘nice to haves’ and remain in alignment with your overall strategic objectives.

3. Strategically source capabilities based on the need for speed versus control

There is a significant opportunity to drive long-term efficiency in marketing spend by bringing more capabilities in house, however doing so takes time and is not as easy as it sounds. A shortage of talent in the market and reluctance to invest in building the skills required, results in organisations turning to external partners to support them.

An effective sourcing strategy looks to build the vital capabilities such as pricing and product strategy internally in order to retain control, and outsources capabilities where timing, capacity and speed-to-market require flexibility such as content, campaigns and competitor insights.

4. Organise resources for efficiency and effectiveness

There are different configurations for organising resources into a high-performing, marketing operating model depending on the level of variability and complexity of activities, as well the as level of functional and business knowledge required.

For example, activities that would benefit from economies of scale for insight and intellect, that are value adding and judgement-based, rather than transactional and rules-based, are ideal for centres of excellence. Whereas high-volume, tactical activities are better organised into a shared services model.

Assess each current and future state capability to determine the level of centralisation required, ensuring that the resulting organisational structure provides full coverage of the end-to-end customer journey.

5. Upgrade ways of working and operating model enablers

A new marketing operating model will demand a significant shift in ways of working as new capabilities and / or partnerships are introduced. The reassignment of activities and resources into a reconfigured marketing organisation, will require clear role and goal clarity, both between marketing team members and cross-functionally.
For each capability set, identify the processes that will change based on the new operating model (e.g. new product development, lead generation, campaign development) and any cross-functional dependencies. Design and embed a closed-loop marketing process to plan, execute, manage and measure the effectiveness of activities across the customer journey. Support these changes by upgrading operating model enablers such as operating rhythm and KPIs to ensure that customer and commercial outcomes are being achieved.
Key Takeaway
For organisations seeking to create a high performance, customer-centric marketing function, a holistic, future-fit operating model is often what’s missing. Beginning with a clear view of the desired customer experience, allows for the critical, enabling marketing capabilities to be identified. Aligning these capabilities to priority customer moments that matter will ensure that investment can be made strategically and enable the marketing team to scale efficiently.

To understand more about Blackdot's perspective on building a future-fit marketing operating model, get in touch now: