Bud Selig, the commissioner of Major League Baseball, dropped a bombshell last week when he revealed that he doesn’t use email. What’s more, he pledged he “never will.” BusinessWeek followed up with an article about other execs who feel the same way: Janet Napolitano, Sheldon Adelson, etc. Shunning email sounds ridiculous, doesn’t it? But let me ask this: How many of your marketing operations are equally as antiquated?
Before anyone launches into a rant about tech-averse leadership, I suggest taking a good hard look at the way your team works. Do you still rely on the manual manipulation of data and operations? I know many marketers who, even today, begin each project with a hard-copy job starter form. They cram that into a color-coded folder with a stack of other papers, and then walk it all to and fro to track down creative review and approvals.
Likewise, many marketing organizations still use basic spreadsheets to manage their marketing budgets. I have to be honest. That’s always baffled me. Wouldn’t it be absurd for a global corporation to use Excel workbooks to track its overall finances? Why was that method ever considered acceptable for marketing?
The list of dysfunctional marketing operations could go on and on, and the problem is: The old ways of doing business are holding marketers back. If you’re saddled with old-fashioned processes (and mindsets!), you just can’t keep pace.
Sure, years ago, marketers had a small handful of channels to manage, and it was possible to keep track of them on spreadsheets and in email inbox folders. Back then, no one expected real-time decision-making. Heck, not so long ago, annual reports were the norm.
But all that has changed. Nowadays, marketers must adopt data-driven strategies so they can adapt to dramatically different consumer behaviors, ones shaped by the internet, mobile devices, social networks and a global marketplace that is now always on and constantly connected.
The increasing complexity and volume of customer interactions has accelerated the need for marketing organizations to update both internal and external processes. Not only do today’s marketers need to create omni-channel customer experiences; they also must implement tools to integrate data and processes, analyze information for key customer insights and be able to link their efforts directly to revenue growth.
Where should you begin?
That question is generating plenty of conversation in both our industry and in academia. Case in point: The University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business’ Center for Complexity in Business (CCB) will be hosting a Roundtable in Washington, D.C. on August 1 to explore this very topic. Experts from both industry and academia will be focusing on the three key aspects you need to consider:
- Tracking. Define your customer experience as it is today. What data do you need to improve it? What’s your strategy for collecting and storing that data?
- Analysis. Digital marketing analytics will reveal the key customer insights locked in the data you gather. Then, you can use these insights to inform and guide your decisions going forward.
- Optimization. You’ll need to develop models and operationalize key insights and findings into scalable and ongoing marketing data analytics processes.
My hope is that, rather than chiding Bud Selig and other execs who don’t use email, marketers will see this news as a wake-up call to step up and start leading the way. What’s holding you back from providing the relevant, personalized messages your customers crave?
This article was originally published on Forbes.com.
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