Balancing People, Process, and Tech

by Jesse Grittner
January 20, 2020

The combination of customer-level targeting and personalization, the ever-growing flood of data and use cases for its activation, and the increased focus on privacy and consumer control are critical factors in making every marketer’s job more complicated — but also more impactful. As a result, marketers are asking new questions about the performance of their marketing investments and trying to extract insight from an array of tools, platforms, and partners.

More and more marketers are recognizing the importance of taking a holistic and value-driven approach to measurement. Focusing on consumers and their needs increases the opportunity to grow sales and enhance customer performance, but it also demands deeper integration across teams and disciplines. The people who lead and staff those teams will need to be comfortable in cross-functional efforts, blending consumer insights, performance data, and marketing strategy to develop integrated plans across marketing, media, and measurement. 

In the short-term, marketers are likely to experience some frustration and challenges in activating on the insights offered by advanced marketing measurement. To bridge the gap, many will turn to external tools and partners who are familiar with the application of advanced measurement to media strategy, testing, and executions. This strategy will not yield long-term wins, as the organization’s technology stack will quickly outpace their operating model. 

In the longer-term, we expect a more fluid and diverse approach to career pathing, training, and development within marketing organizations. The most successful marketers will intentionally seek out a range of experiences that allows them to increase their understanding of the art and the science behind an effective marketing plan. 

As an example, many companies are creating Centers of Excellence (COEs) for Marketing Analytics. The purpose of such a COE is to centralize the knowledge and expertise that uses data and insights to inform marketing decision-making. Instead of housing these resources within individual marketing channels or sales channels (e.g., eCommerce, Stores), a COE model supports a holistic, consumer-centric approach. For example, one of our clients, a large technology company, introduced a Digital Marketing COE with leads representing various marketing channels, in addition to a lead for Measurement and Analytics. These leads connect with internal stakeholders, external partners, and industry thought leaders to develop recommendations and best practices for their respective areas. Each Product Marketing team can then tap into the relevant lead’s expertise as they develop their own marketing and media strategy, inclusive of measurement and optimization.

Meaningful organizational change will be required to enable these teams, including:

  • Reorganizing skill sets to bring data management/IT, analytics, creative, site, and marketing closer together, including in Center of Excellence (COE) models
  • Evolving KPIs to account for the full breadth of marketing’s impact
  • Exploring potential partners who speak marketing, data, and consumer fluently and can translate across those domains for internal teams
  • Building new career paths and training & development experiences to support the development of well-rounded marketers, including deeper immersion in data and analytics

It’s easy to become overwhelmed by all of the considerations involved in moving to a more advanced approach to marketing measurement. To get started, the most effective marketers start by asking where value is created in their business and set their priorities based on their ability to move the needle in those areas. Steady progress and a solid plan are the keys to driving impact over time.

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