In today's marketing landscape, we must adapt to be equal parts masterful storytellers and analytics experts.
There is an interesting dichotomy in the world of marketing – one that requires both an artistic eye for aesthetics, storytelling and bringing people together and an aptitude for numbers, budgets, KPIs and ROI. We marketers truly live at the intersection of yin and yang in the business world.
I find it no coincidence then, that some of the marketers who have been the most influential in my career have all had a math and engineering background.
There’s simply no debating the fact that technology has been thrust to the forefront of all our conversations these days. Now more than ever, we have the ability (and expectations) to understand our customers, deliver flawless customer experiences and provide our board with the metrics that drive home the real value of our marketing spends.
When I was starting my MBA, I thought marketing was a man in a chicken suit passing out brochures on the street corner.
Fortunately, I’ve pivoted my approach to marketing. However – in order to stay relevant with our ever-evolving customers – so must our brands.
At Esri, we have a history of selling our product to GIS professionals who understand our difficult value proposition as-is, fueled by benefits and features, not emotions. The challenge of my team now is getting outside of this technical language and showing the end users how we are changing the world every day. We provide clean drinking water, safer communities and peace of mind to our customers and their families - which is quite a powerful story that we are able to tell. It lies in the hands of the marketing team to weave a story that both simplifies our service in a relatable, human way and does our tech team (who has poured their passion into engineering such a complicated product) justice.
This is where we became the interpreters of both sides, bringing them together in an elegant way.
For example, we know that today's consumers demand to be engaged with on an emotional level, forging true connections as opposed to simply trying to persuade behaviors. Yet, we must never lose sight of our business goals, striving to develop a comprehensive lead to cash process that delivers measurable ROI. In order to do this, our marketing team must work collaboratively with the sales operations and creative services teams on a daily basis to find the sweet spot where we are delivering on both fronts. A challenge that can be made easier if you have taken the time and effort to understand and appreciate both points of view as a marketer.
Showing the Value of the Marketing Role
As someone mentioning the benefits of being driven by math and analytics, I’m of course going to add my two cents on showing return to my C-Suite.
We know too well the constant struggle to effectively track marketing efforts back to sales conversions (especially in a long-tail industry such as mine), risking budget cuts at the first sign of low ROI. However, by taking an offensive approach to data and analytics, I’ve been able to influence budgets and proactively guide funding conversations in order to prevent cuts before they happen.
Fortunately, I've been able to work with a talented team of people in order to build metrics and reporting systems that bring transparency and accountability to our marketing programs. This has enabled us to lay out in concrete terms the difference that seemingly small cut would actually make in our ability to meet deliverables and fill our pipelines. And that’s perhaps one of the first steps you can make as a marketer in your organization: articulating value to your Board or C-Suite in a way that leads with business goals first and marketing implementations second, all the while understanding the complicated intricacies of the consumer that couldn’t possibly be minimized to a spreadsheet of numbers and data.
In short, in order to be effective marketers for today’s consumers and brands, we really must be engineers of the customer experience, artfully intertwining our brand purpose into the lives of our everyday consumers while understanding the math that drives our marketing initiatives.
Are you up for the challenge?
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