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5 ways to create marketing ecosystem value

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Marketers today seek continuous decision support in every facet of the go-to-market process. Product life cycles are shorter, audiences more connected and markets more complex and globally distributed. These new challenges make embracing the need for real-time, process-improvement platforms and solutions a strategic priority for brands. Throughout 2010, the CMO Council hosted a series of roundtable discussions and more than 25 interviews with leading marketers to discuss how top brands are handling the rapid technology changes and the increasing demand for greater market insight. From the resulting research study, “Unify to Multiply Marketing Ecosystem Effectiveness,” here are five ways to create value for your marketing ecosystem: 1) Break down functional silos. Talk about taking down the Berlin Wall—overcoming functional fiefdoms can be just as tough. Functional heads—demand-gen, advertising, sales, etc.—tend to resist relinquishing control or even blending assets to achieve common business goals. The new reality of integrated, multichannel marketing has yet to be embraced by many organizations. B-to-b groups may be slightly ahead of the b-to-c pack in this regard. 2) Institutionalize the use of data analytics. Companies don't lack data, whether transactional, behavioral, attitudinal or demographic. They lack expertise to extract meaningful, predictable and actionable insight from customer information. Too frequently, companies lack an established analytics team, standardized practices and centralized capabilities. Yet analytically driven campaigns by marketing leaders, such as Kimberly-Clark, Procter & Gamble and Visa, are establishing new standards. 3) Provide market insights plus intelligence on demand. With the mandate for greater “Market Sense-Ability,” smart companies are embracing new online “agenting” tools to enhance brand protection, monitor corporate reputations and track tonality of customer conversations. In addition, the Internet and mobile channels can more efficiently blend new sources of market insight and consumer behavior with primary research. Integrating accessible intelligence across global organizations has become imperative. This improves the quality of decisions across the marketing ecosystem and reduces redundant or irrelevant spending. 4) Transfer best-practices knowledge worldwide. Often the most innovative marketing takes place in regional or emerging markets where inspiration and perspiration must offset budget limitations. Centers of excellence focusing on best practices and knowledge transfer can elevate performance and bring consistency across diverse agencies worldwide. Leveraging online collaboration networks, resource centers and global group meetings will improve marketing output and brand development. 5) Synchronize supply- and demand-side operations. Forecasting product demand, managing inventory and tracking sales data are problematic for marketers that lack real-time operational visibility. Too often companies struggle with an overabundance or paucity of product in the production pipeline. Consequently, back-end business intelligence must be combined with transactional data, competitive pricing dynamics and shopper marketing realities. Donovan Neale-May is executive director of the CMO Council. He can be reached at donovan@cmocouncil.org.
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