Welcome to 2016. I hope you had a relaxing Christmas and New Year celebration with family and friends. I am currently on an extended summer break, so my focus at the moment is very much on trying to do a combination of improving old experiences and trying some new ones. Or as Leonardo da Vinci would say “Life is pretty simple: You do some stuff. Most fails. Some works. You do more of what works. If it works big, others quickly copy it. Then you do something else. The trick is the doing something else.”
So between plenty of sun and beach, I have thought a lot about the ‘cloud’. No not the one in the sky but the one that is reinventing business services for companies.
So with this pondering this month’s blog post investigates how can companies marketing department and it’s associated capability be digitally transformed to become a true cloud service. Completely in the cloud, so it’s termed a Marketing as a service (MaaS).
No doubt some companies existing marketing, services and capabilities have already gone someway to external cloud vendors i.e. Ad serving and Search optimisation been a long running example. More recently the Adobe Creative Cloud being a great example on what can be done in creating marketing cloud services around content creation.
My thought however is that the entire Marketing and CMO group work to be transferred to the cloud, to plan and manage marketing-intensive activities to create amazing customer experiences and new internal and outsourced cloud capabilities for their entire company or organisation.
While CFO’s and procurement are going to love this proposition as a reduce cost decision, the more interesting area for me is how the marketing department deliver better customer experiences, while also gaining efficiency (time) across the entire customer experience agenda if they operated in an Marketing as a service (MaaS).
How a Marketing as a service (MaaS) can be created and delivered to output effective compelling content that is focussed in the right channel is something that must be blueprinted internally with all agencies partners given an API and clear defined KPI’s, responsibilities and policy to work in a cross team collaborated working model.
The Marketing as a service (MaaS) would always setup with a twelve month calendar view and plan. That is an essential CEO requirement. More on that here.
Of course this twelve month plan can change to customer and market conditions but that data entry to the agencies is controlled by the Marketing and reflected in the workflow to each assigned service provider.
The Marketing as a service (MaaS) is setup with clear objectives on how to communicate with new and existing customers as the platform data is clearly defined on current customer segments. Once the Marketing department operate in the Marketing as a service (MaaS) the internal company resources are streamlined to focus on the customer experience and needs rather than to the workflow to execute communication programs of work.
The sooner the Marketing as a service (MaaS) can operate in real time, the quicker company boards can see delivered brand health metrics. Can see how they can deliver higher customer expectations which delivers high NPS results. These are usually key board KPI’s.
Another board room benefit from this real-time marketing cloud platform fuelled from the data the Marketing as a Service (MaaS) creates are the new outputted innovations that can go across the company.
This Marketing as Service (MaaS) full blueprint and capability moves beyond just digital cloud marketing automation services such as content marketing, landing page creation, campaigns design, lead distribution and marketing analytics. These features should already be in place in most organisations now as it’s the first essential element in delivering customer experience programs and a full working Marketing as Service (MaaS).
The blueprint I am speaking about is how to move all your marketing services and supplies to execute advanced marketing strategies and services in the cloud to craft engaging ‘brand story’ programs that are managed to the companies business plan and product launch calendar. The marketing executions capabilities in the Marketing as a Service (MaaS) all linked to the companies Customer Relationship Management agenda which goes across company divisions.
Yes it’s a digital transformation.
To bring every part of marketing ecosystem to the cloud I have learnt that the best way to achieve this outcome is to wrap it up in the companies overall digital transformation agenda.
Marketing departments play a key lead in crafting components that can be assembled on demand, so any new customer experience is quickly and effectively matched to the companies customer program of work.
During this study shows marketing have to stop wasting on execution workflow as this is where ineffective customer experiences programs fail.
We are now hitting an inflection point where the most sophisticated companies have begun to realise that the digital transformation is essential in the marketing department and 2016 will be the year we see it explode.
How to lead the organisation digital transformation agenda and entire work stream is the bigger question as you cannot conveniently package into a department or initiative that sits comfortably in old corporate structures. A cross team project is the only way to get sophisticated cross channel customer experiences created and to market.
The reason is every company division is now overlapping, sometime competing on what is the best customer experience agenda should be as more and more product an services are digital. The risk can lie where leaders in organisations make digital transformation decisions having not spent enough time in the current company digital customer experience themselves.
With this challenge to overcome you will see many CEO’s with past experience in digital transformation appreciate it can’t be just seen as a temporary if laborious process to update the infrastructure like building a new office and be handed to say IT, marketing or a product lead to implement. They have to drive digital transformation agendas themselves and this is why so many companies have appointed Chief Digital Offers who report to the CEO office leading the various work streams across division s and portfolios. More on why this is more effective can be found in various reports here.
The fact customer experience driven by cloud technology will become the new company normal now means the CEO must be confident on how digital transformation is led before any automation or effiency can delivered.
If anything, the demands technology puts on companies will continuously increase for departments across the entire organisation so there is investment decisions and again building off a cloud platform makes sense.
During this blog post I too a look at the CES event and the new cloud offerings across verticals and industries to see some best practice on how you operationalise a digital transformation to create new customer focussed products. I wanted to help orient the latest findings to go about a Marketing as a service (MaaS) blue print leadership structure.
The new technology innovations at CES in the cloud seem to learn heavily on creating entirely new divisions to tackle digital transformation rather subsumed under existing structures. Businesses are on the path to digital transformation know the Internet-of-Things (IoT) is the next industry revolution and the more experiences companies know what you create today is not always going to be relevant in five years time. It’s constant change cycle with the customer at the centre is the new business strategy and this means many companies lack people talent in this area of expertise.
At CES we see the usual noise from connected cars to smart home systems to wearables in healthcare that are interesting and evolving. But too often the one aspect that isn’t being talked about enough is the practical and necessary component to continue to update the product on how it will delight the customer and make money from this ubiquitous connectivity.
The better product launches do spend considerable more time on Marketing strategies, especially where they can get customer improvement in their product that drives future roadmaps.
The leading digital transformation examples focussed on how not to get disrupted or copied. What is interesting and where marketing did drive a key lead is what they doing with the ensuing avalanche of data the company they can now easily obtain as the technology and marketing are linked. The story on how this insight will drive the new in the company is very exciting to build company culture and attract great people.
This customer data from these new Internet-of-Things (IoT) is a wonderful extra fuel the Marketing as a service (MaaS) platform uses to output to the entire company digital transformation as its focussed on the customer.
With customers firmly in the driver’s seat of their interactions with brands, businesses the companies it becomes essential marketing does it bit to create positive and relevant customer experiences across channels and touchpoints, and the Marketing as a service (MaaS) blue print is the lead in the three dimensions of companies digital transformations, operational process, and technology.
We are seeing green shoots in Marketing as service (Maas) but 2016 will make large strides as it will be seen as an essential program of work to break down any internal struggling traditional silos, any lack of relationship with agencies, vendors and marketing service as it provides a true alignment with the whole company on the customer experience agenda.
If you would like to learn more about Marketing as a service (MaaS) to exceed customer expectations don’t hesitate to reach out.