Marketo CMO: Tear down functional marketing silos to embrace engagement marketing

Chief marketing officer says more organisations should be embraing 'renaissance' marketers who can engage across the whole customer lifecycle, not just channels

Marketers have to tear down the functional silos created over time to keep up with digital change, as well as those between marketing and functions like sales and IT, if they are to become customer lifecycle stewards, Marketo’s CMO claims.

Speaking to CMO following the World Marketing and Sales Forum in Melbourne, Marketo’s global marketing chief, Sanjay Dholakia, said marketers have to work hard to remove channel specialisations created to cope with the rise of digital, mobile and social communication. Instead, they should adopt more generalised structures that allow employees to address the customer lifecycle as well as gain agility and operational speed.

Dholakia’s presentation was based around new research conducted by the vendor in partnership with the Harvard Business Review on what the org structure of the future looks like as marketing shifts from transactional and mass marketing to engagement marketing. He described the findings around three key areas: The role of marketing itself; the structure of the organisation; and the skillsets needed for engagement-driven marketing.

“What we heard loud and clear is that people are seeing that shift from a marketing function principally about brand, message, awareness and top of funnel, to one that owns or is the steward of the entire customer lifecycle,” he said. “To do this, you have to think differently, and to embrace different incentives, notions, metrics and so on. As CMOs, we are being tasked with not just with acquiring customers, but how to continually engage them, create repeat behaviour, retention, loyalty and advocacy.”

With regards to structure, Dholakia said the big headline is that CMOs have to tear down what he called the “organisational crust” and layers of specialisation that have accumulated over time.

“Marketers have been trying so hard to keep up with all the change, we’ve kept adding specialisations to assist us… and all of a sudden we’ve ended up with siloed channels, and databases that didn’t talk to each other,” he said. “This created lousy customer experiences as a result.”

As an example, Dholakia pointed to his conversation with VISA for the HBR research, which had developed a team of people with deep functional and channel specific skills. “What they really needed was a marketer for product ‘green’ who could talk, act and manage across all channels,” he commented.

“In the process of changing that, they eliminated two layers of the organisation and gained incredible speed with which everything could move in the organisation.

“We need more ‘renaissance’ marketers, or people who operate across all these sub-specialities and create relationship and conversation with customers and consumer, as opposed to being functional specialists.”

The other component to the skills shift is the ability to be a scientist as well as an artist, and juggle digital with creative, Dholakia said.

“Digital not one thing we do, it’s the thing – almost anachronistic to talk about digital marketing because all of it is now,” he said.

Related: CMO Interview: Marketo’s marketing chief on strategy, content and customer stewardship

More widely, marketers have to also tear down silos with other parts of the business. “If we are to fulfil the new role of owning the customer lifecycle, marketing has to have a fundamentally new and different relationship with sales, IT and customer operations. We can’t do it otherwise,” Dholakia said.

Even geographic boundaries are being dropped as organisations adopt more horizontal org structures, Dholakia said. “It’s about crossing geographies, product and channels to create continual experience,” he said.

Of course, this doesn’t mean that organisations should completely move away from the notion of specialisation. One way Dholakia and HBR saw several organisations tapping into specialist knowledge was through channel or functional ‘centres of excellence’ around specific areas.

Nor should IT and sales be necessarily be reporting directly to the CMO, Dholakia said.

“You still need other parts of the organisation to execute, but what needs to happen is for the call centre teams to be across that engagement-based marketing strategy,” he said. “And the whole organisation needs to participate in different functional teams and programs to understand what need to happen around the customer lifecycle.”

Dholakia also disagreed that IT and marketing needed to be one unit, but he did believe the rise of the marketing operations team was inevitable and noted the rise of these positions in recent years across organisations such as GE.

“The fact is that marketers do need to own the operational capabilities – stack, tools and so on - that allow them to do their work,” he said. “What doesn’t have to sit in marketing is the knowledge around how those platforms sit in the broader ecosystem of company’s infrastructure. You still need the IT group thinking about all of that.”

Follow CMO on Twitter: @CMOAustralia, take part in the CMO conversation on LinkedIn: CMO ANZ, join us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CMOAustralia, or check us out on Google+: google.com/+CmoAu

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Blog Posts

Does your brand need a personality review?

There are five tell-tale signs your brand needs to take a long hard look at itself.

Charlie Rose

Senior Strategy Consultant, Principals

How to create profitable pricing

How do we price goods and services? As business leaders, we have asked ourselves this question since the history of trading.

Lee Naylor

Managing partner, The Leading Edge

Sport and sponsorship: The value of event sponsorship

Australia’s cricketers captured the nation’s attention during their recent run to the semi-final of the ICC Men’s World Cup. While the tournament ultimately ended in defeat, for over a month it provoked a sense of belonging, hope and empowerment for millions of people across Australia. Cricket, and sport in general, has a near-unique ability to empower individuals, irrelevant of their background, demographic or nationality.

Nikhil Arora

Vice-president and managing director, GoDaddy India

I should check these guidelines. I think it's important for me. Thanks for the info!

Juana Morales

IAB releases social media comment moderation guidelines

Read more

I didn't know about that. Thanks!

Jamison Herrmann

Twitter 'recap' helps you catch up with missed tweets

Read more

😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂

Max Polding

What it takes to turnaround an iconic Australian brand

Read more

I spend a lot of time in my professional life as a provider of marketing solutions trying to persuade customers that CX, UX, UI and Custo...

sketharaman

Gartner VP: Why CMOs and CIOs must band together to make CX a discipline

Read more

I live the best deals at LA Police Gear.

Tyrus Rechs

6 Ways to ramp up Social Media to Your Web Design

Read more

Latest Podcast

More podcasts

Sign in