Marketing Transformation

Moving Past Classic Marketing Mode


There was a time when marketing made all the rules. Professionals just like you and me would put together a simple strategy, put together a creative concept, and buy a media plan with a broad-brush to pave the way to success.

This is classical marketing.

But somewhere along the way things changed. It’s hard to say exactly where but the progress of the past ten years has dug a mote between what used to work and what really works today.

Here are a few reasons why classical marketing doesn’t work anymore:

The rest of the organization is outpacing (or on their way to outpacing) marketing’s ability to provide support. As product development teams and digital transformation initiatives embrace the ‘speed of business’, organizations are using agile processes that are iterative, that follow the data, and are moving more quickly than ever.



Technology has changed consumer behavior and the buying process. As technology innovations continue to churn, so does the customer journey. This mandates rapid adoption of what works versus anything that was once conceivably considered to be ‘tried and true’ and that requires following the data.

Data is how decisions need to be made but there are still some marketers that don’t use the data as often as they should. Because, to do so requires real transformation, new processes, and alignment.

So, for marketing leaders that know their teams have to speed up and change it can be a catch-22. Their teams know classical marketing well and they’ve bolted on some new skills over the years to be more digital. At the core, though they are still running in ‘classic mode’ and it’s unclear on where to best start their fundamental marketing transformation.

That’s where I found myself when I was a Vice President. We had begun to implement data science to assess marketing performance and didn’t like what the data had to say. Something had to change. We had to speed up. We had to put the data to work. But, it wasn’t clear how because several straightforward attempts had failed.

What eventually provided the right set of ingredients for marketing transformation included three things:

We had to adjust our overall view from a fixed mindset to a growth mindset. For example, an annual or seasonal plan had been the convention. Really putting the data to work though meant we had to evolve to a state of constant strategic iteration.

Planned experimentations with agile processes revealed best practices for agile marketing and helped us gain real traction. It turned out the leading approach for technology teams was a good fit for high performing marketing. For example, flexible value streams helped provide a system for prioritization.

As my business coach at the time said, “achieving high performance over and over again requires continuous alignment”. That was an important reminder. Our transformation effort needed a communications plan. For example, a weekly digest was one way we kept everyone rowing in the same direction.

The road from 'A' to 'B' had a lot of twists and turns but it was worth it. Here’s what we gained as a result:

* 3x increase in ROI
* Improvements in collaboration & culture overall
* Speed
* Trust in our capabilities
* Lower overhead (i.e. Lean)
* Leadership
* Data monetization

It’s these types of results that makes marketing transformation something everyone is working through. And, competitiveness hangs in the balance. The speed by which each organization achieves their own changes will dictate how successful they are in the marketplace long term.

There was a time when marketing made all the rules. Together, we can reestablish that leadership as long as we pivot away from processes that are out of date and towards sustainable success through marketing transformation.

Learn more about our marketing transformation services.

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