Make marketing technology work in an organization

Verna asked,

“What is the dynamic between the marketing technology operations and other technology teams?”

To make marketing technology work, we must be equal parts marketer and technologist. The Chief Marketing Technology Officer (or equivalent) is the bridge between the CMO and the CTO.

To make marketing technology work at an organization as a distinct entity, we must build two things: coalitions and insights.

Coalitions are allies in each of the departments of marketing and technology, respectively. Building relationships helps us to advance our strategic needs as marketing technologists. We find ways for everyone to win; a project success for marketing technology also means a success for marketing and a success for IT.

Insights are understandings of what other departments and teams are working on that we can integrate. Is IT deploying a new cloud database? Determine how we can make it a valuable part of our marketing work. Is marketing launching a new display ad campaign? Determine how we can make the campaign smarter and more efficient with technology.

The ideal situation is when we can bring marketing and IT together to share success. Both departments can point to successes we broker as their own; department heads can showcase how they, as team players, helped the other and helped the organization advance.

Marketing technology fails most when we lack both coalitions and insights; keep a careful eye on both and reinforce them to reduce the likelihood of failure.

toshitsugu takamatsu.jpg
Photo credit: Masaaki Hatsumi

The ninja of old have an expression, as relayed by Toshitsugu Takamatsu, 32nd grandmaster of the Togakure ninja lineage: the art of winning is attaining that which we need while making the world a better place. This aphorism perfectly encapsulates the answer to Verna’s question: we help marketing and IT to win, and in doing so, marketing technology wins as well.


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What does advanced marketing look like?

Kerry Gorgone asked this intriguing question on Twitter:

Kerry_O_Shea_Gorgone_on_Twitter____cspenn__cc_chapman__nichole_kelly__ginidietrich_I_need_some_advanced_marketing_subjects__What_topics_do_you_consider_Marketing_301__.jpg

Advanced marketing subjects is an interesting question. What is advanced marketing? What does advanced marketing look like?

To answer this question, let’s look from the perspective of the martial arts. In your beginning days, you learn mechanics. How to punch. How to kick. How to block or evade. You drill the basics, learn to condition your body and mind, and get good at doing very tactical things.

In your middle years, you evolve from individual tactics to series of tactics strung together. The Japanese martial arts call these kata; loosely translated, kata means form or pattern. They’re the memorialized versions of fights that were won and lessons learned, basic strategies for winning.

In your advanced years of training, you transcend tactics and individual fight strategies to look at strategies and points of view outside of the fight itself. What caused the fight? What causes people to be violent? How can you set up your life and the lives of those you care about to be less at risk of violence?

Turning this lens back on marketing, in the beginning of the career, you’re doing all the 101 stuff. What’s a good tweet? How often should you send email?

In the middle of your career, you should be building campaigns by putting tactics together, leveraging tactical synergies, and working towards your overall marketing goals.

The advanced part of your career is when you evolve beyond campaigns to grand strategy. What’s the big picture really look like? What are the things that will impact your marketing in the next year and the next decade?

For example, I was recently reading the World Economic Forum’s Global Risks 2015 report. This is a fascinating, brilliantly written report of political, economic, societal, and technological threats to our collective well-being. Look at some of the top-ranked threats:

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Let’s look at the upper right hand corner, which are the threats with the highest impact and the highest likelihood of occurring.

Cyber attacks. Water crisis. Underemployment. War. Climate change. All of these risks are macro trends that will impact our entire civilization. If they’re societal shocks, you can bet they’re going to impact your overall marketing strategy. The question becomes: what are you going to do about it? How are you going to plan for it?

Some of these macro trends will be marketing opportunities. On climate change, technologies that slow or even reverse climate change and carbon emissions will be hot commodities. If you’re looking for an exciting marketing opportunity, that kind of technology promises adventure for you. Underemployment will change the landscape of the workforce; can you be one of the leaders in finding new ways to retrain people or identify transferable skills we’re not even looking at now?

This is what advanced marketing looks like. It’s light-years beyond the best time to tweet or what color a dress is. Using your marketing skills to address these challenges will not only be profitable, but could make you into the superhero you’ve always wanted to be.


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How much should you give away in content marketing? Part 2 of 2

In the last post, we discussed a basic tactic for determining what you should and shouldn’t give away in your content marketing strategy. Let’s look at a more advanced strategy that’s derived from the old ninja clans of ancient Japan.

In the lore of the ninja, one of the most prized items held by the headmaster of the clan was the densho, or scrolls of martial techniques. These densho held descriptions of the clan’s secret fighting techniques, along with illustrations of how to perform the techniques, construct the tools, etc.

Winchendon Martial Arts Center

Their value was priceless and could mean the difference between literal life and death for the practitioners of that clan’s martial arts. As such, the techniques were closely guarded secrets, and were encoded in a very special way. Each technique was encoded in such a way that an uninitiated practitioner would read the technique and if they attempted it, as written, they’d end up getting themselves killed. The way the techniques were written was wrong.

Only those initiated by the clan’s master teachers were told exactly how the techniques were written down wrong, so that they knew what to adapt, ignore, or adjust to make them work. Sometimes it was enough to simply know that a technique should be on the reverse side; other times, the name of the technique gave a hint as to what it should feel like, rather than the written description.

We can take this technique and adapt it to our content marketing in a less harmful way. What can you safely give away? Give away the basic techniques, tactics, and methods, but make your content incomplete. Anyone who doesn’t work for your company or brand gets value, but doesn’t get the whole picture. For example, take a look at this simple recipe for cake. Ignore that there are no proportions; they’re unimportant for this example.

Eggs
Milk
Sugar
Flour
Cocoa
Yeast

If you were to bake up a cake with this basic recipe, you’d get a decent chocolate cake. However, there are two ingredients missing that could turn this average cake into a great cake – vanilla extract and salt. A pinch of salt drastically alters how our taste buds perceive flavor, and the vanilla adds a lot of depth to the flavors.

If I were working for a company that made cakes, I’d publish the basic recipe, while holding onto the “secret ingredients” for my company’s cakes that made them superior. The cake you baked with our recipe would still be good enough for when you just wanted some cake, but if you had a special occasion, you’d know that there was always something a little extra from a cake bought from our store.

No matter what your product, service, or company, there are likely basic and advanced recipes. Take a look at what recipes you have, determine what you can omit and still deliver a passable result, and use that as the basis for your content marketing. You can even tier your content marketing; a while back, I wrote a blog post about benchmarking in Google Analytics, but only premium subscribers to my newsletter got the advanced recipe.

Try this method of content marketing strategy to deliver value to your audiences without giving away everything!

…Of course, that does make you wonder what I left out of this post, doesn’t it?


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