Show 45 – Building a Modern Marketing Organisation of The Future

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Show 45 was sponsored by MOI and recorded at their Disrupt Forum in London.

L-R – Scott Allen, Joel Harrison, Gemma Davies, Russell Goldsmith, Julia Porter, Lorraine Graves

The first of Russell Goldsmith’s guests was Lorraine Graves, Head of Marketing for Cloud Infrastructure Services at Capgemini, one of three core business units that make up the Capgemini organisation.  Lorraine explained that they typically work with large businesses across both the Public and Private Sectors, including HMRC, Heathrow Airport, Rolls Royce, large banks and retailers. The audiences that they have to target are therefore key decision makers and influencers, i.e., CIO, CTO and COO, and she said that the focus is to deliver the right business outcomes.  To achieve this, Capgemini uses a full range of marketing activities including account based marketing, demand generation campaigns, relationship marketing, events and thought leadership.

Lorraine said that Capgemini is a matrix organisation, which therefore allows them to pull expertise from specialist teams such as their offshore design team, campaign management, digital and bid marketing.  This enables them to ensure they use the right resources to deal with the business requirement.

Capgemini are building a business where everyone is involved in marketing and have a culture that embraces agile marketing, where they put the customer first. As Lorraine explained, the agile manifesto focuses on individuals and interactions over processes and tools. The requirements and the solution evolve, plans need to be flexible, customer input is key, the work is tested early, and teams need to develop a continuous improvement mind-set.  Lorrain said that the agile marketing message is extended to all employees as Capgemini’s people are essentially Capgemini’s brand.  Therefore, with 9000 staff in UK, and 190,000 globally, internal communications is very important to achieve this, ensuring that everyone understands both the marketing and the business success matrix and how they are contributing. The intranet is therefore a key channel and Lorraine said that they also use tools such as Yammer, but that it’s about keeping the message fresh so that their people want to engage, particularly through social media.  The most successful thing they have found are ‘Success stories’, which she said is a great way to bring delivery to life, sharing how business was won, the highs and lows, and importantly the lessons learned, which therefore keeps people informed.

Part 2 – Scott Allen, CMO at Microsoft UK and Gemma Davies, Marketing Director of Apttus – Interview starts at 6:25

Given the topic of the evening was about building marketing organisations, the chat began by looking at both guests’ team’s structures and the kind of people they look for.  Scott said that the way he hires has changed over the last five years, with his team now being part scientist and part creative. He explained that traditionally, your marcomss professionals would have been great at content marketing, understand digital, good at social engagement, social media, social listening, and great at delivering local experiences, events, but now they also need to be part scientist, which means they need think about how they are more of a financial analyst, more technically proficient, understand data and how to analyse it and how to use data to make forward making decisions. Scott often tells his team to look 10% backwards and 90% forwards as he believes that if data is used in the right way you can absolutely deliver marketing better than the competition, but also make you better marketers too.

In comparison, Apptus clearly has smaller and more nimble local teams than Microsoft, with individuals performing multiple rolls.  Gemma said this means there are less specialists and more generalists, which she believes gives their employees the opportunity to maximise their learning and development.

Both Gemma and Scott agreed that their organisations are sales led – in fact, Scott feels that ultimately all organisations have a sales led focus.  We therefore discussed where the process begins to shift that focus to marketing.

Gemma said that every marketing function has to start with the business outcome in mind as when this goal is understood, they can ensure they have right performing team in place with the right skill sets.

At Microsoft, Scott encourages his marketing team to see customers more, to add value and often open doors within customers that the sales team wouldn’t necessarily get in front of. They think about the customer first and ensure that marketing is embedded in what he describes as the ‘sales rhythm’, so that they can understand what the sales team needs to achieve and what the customers do, which, according to Scott, ultimately makes them better marketers.

In continuing with the theme of building a marketing organisation, and whether culture of the business can be driven by the way the marketing is led, Scott said that everything needs to start at the top with the mission statement.  At Microsoft, that is to empower every person and every organisation on the planet to achieve more. Underneath that statement though, is the strategy, i.e., what you are trying to achieve and what ambition you have to achieve that strategy.

As a leader, Scott therefore talks about creating clarity, generating energy and setting the team up for success, which he then hopes drives a culture of a SMO team that people want to be a part of.

Scott is running five programmes in the UK:

  1. Customer obsession – understanding customers better, running storytelling days, putting posters of customers up to see what they are doing, inviting customers to team meetings.
  2. Growth mind-set – allowing the team to take time out to think of some of the things they wish to go forward with.
  3. Being diverse and inclusive – not just male to female ratio but in terms of different skill sets, mind-sets, and a mix of introvert and extroverts.
  4. Making a difference – bringing back to the team some of their personal passions, for example charity work as a team.
  5. Looking beyond the marketing department – look at how other resources within the business can be marketers for the organisation too.

Gemma felt that their two companies were closely aligned and have a similar approach.  She said that Apptus has a cultural mentality around ’one team’. She has a big internal initiative where, like Scott, she sees every individual within the organisation as a marketer, where they all have a responsibility to represent the business. Marketers are now taking ownership of this cultural piece, which linked well with the theme of the conversation as she felt that marketing is at the heart of the business, driving the strategy and the business culture.

Scott added that you need to bring the vision of the CEO back to the team so that they can relate to how they can make a difference to make the business grow and be successful.

Each guest gave an example of how their team’s work develops into a campaign and starting with Scott, he gave the example of ‘Future Decoded’, a Microsoft 2-day event taking place for the fourth time at Excel on 31st October and 1st November that attracts around 11,000.  Scott explained that it’s seen as a chance to change the mind-set of customers of where Microsoft is going and the innovation they are driving.  Whilst it’s a marketing led event, Scott said an army of people from within the organisation that are needed to ensure its success.

Gemma’s example was their Apptus ‘Accelerate’ event, which she described as the “quote-to-cash event of the year”, which took place in May in San Francisco, which had 3,500 attendees from multiple industries.  She said that key to its success is bringing their partners, experts and different people from the organisation together to change and shape the industry going forward.

Part 3 – MOI MD Matt Stevens – Interview starts at 25:46

Matt said that he chose the topic of ‘building a modern marketing organisation of the future’ for the event as he felt that business buyers are changing the buying process faster than marketing and sales organisations can change themselves. He added that customer behaviours have changed quite drastically in the consumer world, and these behaviours are now being seen in the purchasing of low value business technologies and even complex enterprise sales. On top of that, cloud technology, in the technology sector, has completely changed the way organisations are able to sell to their audiences, in some instances completely transacting online, providing a completely different challenge to B2B Marketing. His aim, therefore, for the series of forums is to therefore provide marketing leaders with knowledge and understanding, allowing them to share best practises, so they can respond to this change and effectively sell their technologies in today’s world.

Matt feels that the speed of change is catching everyone out, especially around buyer behaviour. A lot of the focus in the forum is around culture and he believes that is difficult to shift, adding that from a marketing perspective, there is an expectation to be able to respond in real time, but keeping up with that change is very difficult. He said that marketing therefore needs to be agile and learn to think of change as a constant, not a response and that we need to understand how we can keep up with customer behaviour change in B2B marketing.

Another aspect that Matt touched on is innovation budgets, enabling businesses to keep up with change.  He believes more innovation budget should be put into piloting techniques in small doses, thinking about fail fast, but succeed quickly, as this gives you the ability to prove results to the rest of the business, which allows for change to become a priority as it can be seen as beneficial to the business as a whole.

Marketing mind-sets within marketing organisations have changed according to Matt.   Whilst marketing is being held back by rest of the business, he said that the one saviour is around customer centricity – we live in a customer centric world, which puts marketing in the right place to drive change. However, he also believes that there is still a lot to be done for marketing to truly transform.

Matt added that we live in a world of influence that we can’t measure as effectively as we used to.  Therefore, to respond to the modern buyer, he said that we need to look at the cultures within the organisation, but the process and measurement behind that culture needs to fundamentally change too.

Disrupt forums are run London, Singapore and San Francisco and Matt has seen there are cultural differences across three areas. In San Francisco, around Silicon Valley and broadly out to North America, Matt said that they are more receptive to pioneering news concepts and piloting new ways to engage their audience, and there is a lot less resistance from the rest business because the theory of failing fast is widely embraced.  However, in Asia, their budgets are smaller, they have a tendency to stick with the success that they have seen in more traditional forms of marketing as there is less risk. He therefore described the two regions as polar opposites, with EMEA sitting right in the middle.

In summary, Matt thinks that one of biggest gaps is the measurement piece.  MOI’s own research from the Disrupt Forums has shown him that marketing leaders see their biggest gap is in the strategic minds within their marketing organisation. He therefore thinks there a need to understanding how to build programs, rather than the execution of their individual elements, that join together to achieve the ultimate goal of revenue.

Final Part – with Julia Porter, a Business Adviser and Board Member of the DMA and Joel Harrison, Editor-in-chief of B2B Marketing – Interview starts at 35:09

As an external consultant and non-exec, some of the key areas that Julia looks to her clients to focus on are around how they leverage data and digital, for example, measuring performance against business goals, as well as not getting too wrapped up in the complexity of the technology and ensure that everyone has complete focus on the customer experience and understands who their customer are.

Joel added that he has noticed a trend to moving towards agility in marketing teams’ structures. He said that previously, an organisation would have fixed resources, fixed teams, set timelines and deliver to a schedule.  However, his view was that this is not applicable anymore – flexibility is key as marketing teams need to be responsive to situations.

A theme that ran through all the interviews in the podcast was the challenge facing marketing departments of there being so much data available.  Julia said that they must not be over whelmed by it, but be clear of the outcome they want to deliver. If the company goals are clear, they will be able to use the data but the organisations have got to be agile.

According to Joel, there are many tools available for every budget and all necessary needs to collect and analyse data but the ability to read it must now be a core competency. However, he believes that this task will eventually be taken over by AI.  He said that AI will replace all volume orientated predictable tasks and data analysis is one example. Whilst that may concern people though, he thinks that it will also open up new opportunities.  He gave a recent example he’d seen of a tool that allows you to process content, audit it, value it and design your next piece of content, all carried out instantaneously in a way that humans couldn’t do.

Julia agreed and said that AI will take away repetitive tasks, which allows time for creativity.

Both Julia and Joel spoke of the attributes needed by a modern marketer. Julia said the team will need leadership, functional and specialist skills and as well as an aptitude for managing or at least leveraging data for the business but personal skills are becoming very important too. A person needs to be curious, creative, have a ‘can do’ attitude, and be a self-starter who is collaborate and comfortable with complexity as they will have to learn as they go, building a portfolio of skills, as the ones they have now are not likely to be the same as those needed in 5 or 10 years.

Joel agreed but also felt that something that is often overlooked is business aptitude, understanding the bigger picture for the organisation.  He said that B2BMarketing had recently carried out some research on the careers of their clients and those that were most successful were those who planned their careers carefully – creating milestones and setting objectives.

During the podcast, each guest was asked to provide some advice to companies wishing to create a modern marketing organisation:

Lorraine – “Ask people to take ownership”

Scott – “Always be yourself, break what you need to achieve now into constituent parts that add up to the whole. Look at what other organisations are doing in their marketing. Take your leadership team with you on the journey.”

Gemma – “Focus on the business outcome, understanding the direction of the business and have clear accountability and responsibility for what the marketing function needs to deliver. Understand the strengths and weaknesses of your team and to fill the gaps.”

Joel – “As a marketer, curiosity is fundamental. For the leaders, his advice is to invest in nurturing and developing their team members.”

Julia – “Ensure the marketing leader is close to the CEO and the FD as they need to be doing marketing activities to help business grow, if the team can see this, they will be motivated.”

This episode of the csuitepodcast was sponsored by B2B creative agency, MOI.  You can find out more about their series of Disrupt Forums by visiting moi-global.com/disrupt/

All previous shows of the csuitepodcast series are available on Soundclouditunes and TuneIn.  There is also a growing community on Facebook and Twitter, where you can get involved in the discussion.  Finally, if you subscribe to the show, please can you give it a positive rating and review on itunes in particular as this helps it up the charts!




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