Marketing Maturity: Where do you rank?

Jennifer Beck

Jennifer Beck is a vice-president and Gartner fellow. She serves digital marketing leaders, specialising in multichannel marketing across digital and offline channels and offers advice to CMOs and CEOs on how to competitively position their companies, create and manage their brands, enter the digital arena and maximise marketing and sales investments.

We have this obsession with where we rank, rate and score in our world. It’s one of the reasons Cosmopolitan Magazine flies off the newsstands. It’s not just the alluring, over-the-top fashion model on the cover. It’s those addicting quizzes, like “Are you a good lover?” Who can’t take 5 minutes to check that one out?

So in the marketing world, we see everything from the Cosmo Quiz approach and free self-assessments, to the more sophisticated maturity models that peg where you are today and offer advice on how to get to the next level. But why measure marketing maturity? What’s the point of knowing if you’re clueless or mature? What aspects of marketing should you even consider? Here’s some current thinking.

First, if you want to get to a desired future state of marketing, it helps to know the nature of the current state so you can plot a course forward. And maturity in marketing means simply that the more advanced the function the more impact it can have on the business.

Take buyer affinity for example. There’s a big difference between being opportunistic or even a fast follower and having the predictive analytic chops to actually anticipate future requirements. Heck you can create new market categories and even create new customers with the right set of tools, intelligence and innovation.

What about the way marketing’s measured today? I just had a conversation with a client asking how to show an ROI on their marketing. I laughed and asked how they were proving an ROI on HR, legal and finance functions. Perhaps a little snarky, but the point is marketing should be measured on the overall business objectives. It takes a lot of coordinated mojo from many contributors to get to that final result. ROI on isolated marketing activities is madness. Who cares how many hits you have on websites or the traffic in social channels, if it’s not helping you make money?

More from Gartner on the successful CMO::

Let’s look at creativity. Most marketing organisations can claim they have the occasional brilliant idea, but most externally source that to their agencies. The mature organisation is managing an innovation pipeline of ideas, new storylines, product concepts, etc. And they’re open to creative juices from anywhere from informed conclusions based on their own intelligence to crowd-sourcing.

And then we have the digital deal. You’ve got the less mature still watching their screens for the bounce back on SEO and email campaigns to those sipping a dirty martini as they create trans-media buyer experiences that not just sell product, but industrialise the power of word-of-mouth.

Richard Fouts, my “clued-in” Gartner colleague and I sat around his dining room table in his flat in San Francisco and pondered this concept of marketing maturity. He took notes on his tablet. I had to draw it out with printer paper and crayons. The result is a new Marketing Maturity Model that attempts to hit all the relevant dimensions of the function.

After disciplining ourselves not to do the funny, irreverent version first because it was so compelling to label phase 1 as “clueless”, we landed on 17 dimensions of this marvellous thing called marketing in the digital age, which now features among Gartner's digital marketing research.

To illustrate just how we've gone about it, here are a few examples:

Show Comments

Featured Whitepapers

State of the CMO 2019

CMO’s State of the CMO is an annual industry research initiative aimed at understanding how ...

More whitepapers

Latest Videos

More Videos

Great piece Katja. It will be fascinating to see how the shift in people's perception of value will affect design, products and services ...

Paul Scott

How to design for a speculative future - Customer Design - CMO Australia

Read more

Google collects as much data as it can about you. It would be foolish to believe Google cares about your privacy. I did cut off Google fr...

Phil Davis

ACCC launches fresh legal challenge against Google's consumer data practices for advertising

Read more

“This new logo has been noticed and it replaces a logo no one really knew existed so I’d say it’s abided by the ‘rule’ of brand equity - ...

Lawrence

Brand Australia misses the mark

Read more

IMHO a logo that needs to be explained really doesn't achieve it's purpose.I admit coming to the debate a little late, but has anyone els...

JV_at_lAttitude_in_Cairns

Brand Australia misses the mark

Read more

Hi everyone! Hope you are doing well. I just came across your website and I have to say that your work is really appreciative. Your conte...

Rochie Grey

Will 3D printing be good for retail?

Read more

Blog Posts

How to design for a speculative future

For a while now, I have been following a fabulous design strategy and research colleague, Tatiana Toutikian, a speculative designer. This is someone specialising in calling out near future phenomena, what the various aspects of our future will be, and how the design we create will support it.

Katja Forbes

Managing director of Designit, Australia and New Zealand

The obvious reason Covidsafe failed to get majority takeup

Online identity is a hot topic as more consumers are waking up to how their data is being used. So what does the marketing industry need to do to avoid a complete loss of public trust, in instances such as the COVID-19 tracing app?

Dan Richardson

Head of data, Verizon Media

Brand or product placement?

CMOs are looking to ensure investment decisions in marketing initiatives are good value for money. Yet they are frustrated in understanding the value of product placements within this mix for a very simple reason: Product placements are broadly defined and as a result, mean very different things to different people.

Michael Neale and Dr David Corkindale

University of Adelaide Business School and University of South Australia

Sign in