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What are the top capabilities required for today’s marketers?

Expert advice from David Reibstien of Wharton, Helena Schwenk of MWD Advisors, and Charlene Li of Altimeter

In the new white paper, Driving Profitable Growth: The Thought Leader Perspective, the first of a four-part series, you’ll find out what David Reibstien of Wharton, Helena Schwenk of MWD Advisors, and Charlene Li of Altimeter have to say about key issues in marketing today and the top capabilities required for marketers.

Read on for a quick overview of key points from the white paper.  You can also watch these experts share their insights and practical advice in the Q&A videos below.  And I hope you’ll join the conversation by adding your own thoughts and experiences in the comments section.

David Reibstien: Revenue, profit and loss leaders

David Reibstien, Professor of Marketing at Wharton Business School

The William Stewart Woodside Professor, Professor of Marketing at Wharton Business School and author of Marketing Metrics: 50+ Measures Every Manager Should Master. David speaks to three key issues:

  • Identifying growth markets.
  • Understanding customers across the organization.
  • Taking the best action.

Identifying growth markets
Many organizations begin by following macro trends – be that growth in a population or the buzz of a topic like “social”. The greater challenge is identifying unmet needs where there will be little if any competition. Top 3 points in this section were:

  • Organizations need to better understand what’s going on in people’s lives
  • They will need to better understand how value is created and how that impacts Customer Lifetime Value
  • Marketers will need to be able to articulate their strategy and prove or quantify how it will deliver

Understanding customers across the organization
Organizations will need to look at micro level data from across the portfolio. To do this effectively, the CMO will need to work closely with the CIO & CFO to collect the insights and determine value. There is rarely a “standard cost” associated with activity and why 20% of your customers typically destroy 400% of profit.

David believes the CMO will not only need to understand their customer wants and needs, but also the cost implications to serve and grow that business to maximize profit – for the whole organization – not just marketing.

Taking the best action
Taking the best action is all about context and timing with a realization that what worked before may not necessarily be a good predictor of future behavior. With that in mind, organizations need to continually test, learn and adapt – increasingly in real time.

The future …
The focus will be on predicting what a customer will be doing, what will be relevant to them and how the organization will need to adapt. Marketers will be more efficient and realizing greater growth per dollar spent.

Helena Schwenk

Helena Schwenk, Principal analyst at MWD advisors

Principal analyst at MWD advisors, a European IT advisory firm who consult with organizations to create tangible business improvements from IT investments. Helena discussed:

  • Acquisition, cross sell/ up sell and retention.
  • Relevance, loyalty and optimization.

Acquisition, cross sell/ up sell and retention
It’s not about doing one better than the other, but ensuring balance throughout the customer journey. Economic uncertainty means sales cycles will potentially be slower and more complex. Organizations will be focused on ensuring processes are in place to ensure the right actions can be taken at the right time – consistently.

Helena mapped out capabilities across three dimensions:

  • The organization.
  • Understanding customer value.
  • Use of analytics and data.

Relevance, loyalty and optimization
CMOs will need to look at the best marketing actions that will be both relevant to the customer, and move the organization towards its long term vision for sustained profitable growth – taking all constraints and considerations into account.

Better segmentation, predictive analytics and most importantly optimization techniques help deliver on this vision in the most efficient and cost effective way.

The future …
Helena sees a steady progression of developing deeper insights from more data. Not in a single channel, but across multiple channels simultaneously. Areas of focus will be:

  • Alignment.
  • Opportunities from mobile and social.
  • Creating a centralized decisioning capability.

Charlene Li: Conversational marketing

Charlene Li, Founder of Altimeter Group

Founder of Altimeter Group a leading research-based advisory firm with a focus on disruptive technologies, and the author of the New York Times bestseller, Open Leadership. Charlene Li spoke to three main issues:

  • Getting a holistic view of customers.
  • Defining value.
  • Moving to conversational marketing.

Getting a holistic view of customers
It’s about understanding your overall relationship in the context of everything your customer is doing – even outside your industry. It’s about understanding how the relationship will change over time and what you are trying to build towards. With that understanding, you can begin to identify a roadmap for engagement that will be relevant, timely and appreciated.

Defining value
Historically organizations have thought about value in terms of transactions and monetary expressions. But the reality is that value could be expressed in referrals to other very valuable customers. It could be expressed in terms of support your customer provides to other customers. It could be in the form of providing ideas and insights that improve the development of products and services.

Moving to conversational marketing
People are tired of being “messaged to.” Instead, Charlene see’s the rise of conversational marketing – something far more “free form”; conversations people want to have; conversations that are spontaneous; conversations that happen in real time. In other words, a more “human” approach rather than “corporate” planning campaigns and messages.

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tools haven’t been about the relationship. They have been about the transaction – managing the pipeline; managing where people are in the process. Analytics can help take those inputs and put the right three or four offers or actions in front of you, in context, that will move you to a more strategic relationship.

The future …
Marketers will begin looking at all the markers of value creation: the value associated with a transaction; how well a person is connected and the value of influence; the value created when your customer provides support and guidance.

The focus will switch to alignment, process and strategy: what conversations should they engage in and not? Which platforms and tools will they invest in?

Within 5 years, Charlene believes conversations across multiple channels will be as natural as the air we breathe.

For more, download the full white paper, or check out the full four-part series.

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