Klaus Schwab, founder and executive chairman of the World Economic Forum, talks about our world being on the brink of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR), which is “characterized by a range of new technologies that are fusing the physical, digital and biological worlds, impacting all disciplines, economies and industries, and even challenging ideas about what it means to be human.”
Companies looking for growth opportunities need to transform to compete and win in this emerging global economy. In addition to building on their core technical capabilities and acquiring the missing pieces to develop solutions for their customers, they must modernize their marketing organizations and position themselves to be effective at reaching and influencing 4IR customers.
Here are the six things CMOs must do to transform their marketing organizations for the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
1. Rebalance your marketing budget to increase sales with more marketing-sourced leads.
Getting a bigger marketing budget isn’t the answer. Spending in the right areas is, which means you must have rigorous lead-generation ROI analysis. By comparing how effective your content marketing, email marketing, event marketing, SEO and social media marketing programs are in attracting new customers, you can rebalance your resources to win. And rebalancing is an ongoing activity. The 4IR world is dynamic, which means you have to be dynamic too.
2. Develop consistent messaging for customers — and investors.
Do a better job of telling your story. Too often, marketers craft their messages based on their business strategies, which makes their communications internally focused. Effective marketing begins with understanding your customers’ problems, digging for pain points and showing how you solve them with your solutions — but you can’t stop there. You need to know what investors want as well. Do your research to learn what investors are looking for in business models and make sure your communications address what will make them confident in your company.
3. Modernize your marketing tools.
Get rid of the homegrown tools that you have evolved over the years for email marketing, segmentation, collateral creation, etc. Recognize which systems and processes are holding you back and making the lives of your marketing staff more complicated than those of your competitors, especially startups that have the advantage of starting from scratch with a clean slate. Take back that advantage and have the courage to invest in new tools and processes. Your customer is part of the 4IR — you need to be too.
4. Transform your website into a hardworking tool that welcomes and orients new customers.
This is really an extension of the last tip. Web technology has likely undergone a sea of change since you last developed your website. You probably thought of your website as a place where your customers could get everything they needed, and so it became a library, a card catalogue of documents. It is beloved by your installed base but doesn’t welcome new customers or tell them how you can change their lives and work for the better. Focus on who you really want to reach.
5. Refresh your brand to appeal to younger customers.
You may have a company legacy for the history books, but the millennials on 4IR design teams may not know or care about that history. They are looking forward, not backward. Your brand needs to be sharp, sleek, vibrant and energetic. And you need to change it up frequently. Fresh is not yesterday’s look.
6. Consolidate marketing resources that are scattered across various organizations.
Now that you are focused on lead generation and have modernized your marketing tools, honed your messages into what speaks most powerfully to customers and investors, and refreshed your brand to reflect your messaging, you need to ensure that you have the right people in the right roles. People are always at the heart of a transformation.
Creating a leading-edge marketing organization with modern tools and processes can provide measurable growth for your company. To get the type of marketing results you are looking for, your people will need to flex their marketing muscles, get clear on the company’s objectives, continuously improve how they design best-in-class marketing content and campaigns, and build a community where they share best practices.