Rethink Your Tech Marketing Structure, Planning and Budgeting
August 25, 2016
The days of static marketing programs and systematically designed campaigns look to be a thing of the past — marketing teams can no longer spend months crafting large programs or following fixed budgets. As technology shifts and evolves and market disruption accelerates, so too will tech marketers need to be more nimble and open to changing up their strategy, team structure and planning processes.
The new look of the marketing team
Marketers know their organizations need an overhaul, and many chief marketing officers are rethinking their org charts. Companies are learning that to achieve an evolved marketing structure and stay competitive, their organization must be data-driven, customer-focused, constantly prioritizing and nimble at decision-making. In the digital world, both department structure and team objectives are being redesigned. New marketing functions are being created, and new technologies are being rolled out as the pressure to prove ROI intensifies.
Many tech marketers recognize this, but they struggle in figuring out how to make the necessary changes. The whitepaper “The Changing Structure of Marketing in the Age of Disruption” calls out several marketing team structural changes and highlights the emergence of new marketing models. One key point is to break down silos. The marketer is tasked to act as the voice of the customer in collaboration with the sales department. When working alone, sales and marketing can have some serious challenges. Working together, the marketing and sales teams can positively impact the sales cycle if they share the common goal of nurturing potential buyers throughout their purchase journey.
To ensure their place in a competitive tech marketplace, many companies are also recognizing the critical importance of realigning to unify their organizational structure around the customer’s experience. Making such a shift enables a tech company to uncover a wealth of data points, gaining meaningful new insights about customers’ needs across multiple interactions. Data serves to create one unifying view of the customer, enabling true personalization for a better customer experience.
Marketing must work together not only with sales, but also other functions within the company. Consider creating a role to build bridges and collaborate with many people across the organization. The more people who buy into the marketing department’s goals and objectives, the better the end result. Finally, when making changes to your structure, it is imperative to get C-level buy-in, as well as provide input to them on how these changes will help the bottom line.
New approach to planning
To implement a customer-centered marketing structure means the days of static programs and systematically designed campaigns, created well in advance, are over. Segments, technologies, trends and customer behaviors change so rapidly that it’s nearly impossible to predict what will happen in a few months. Marketers now need fluid plans and programs that expand and contract with market dynamics. With an agile approach, marketers can choose a theme, try a few topics and tactics, and then identify which are most effective for their customers. After a few months, there is enough data available to help you make more strategic plans for the future and provide your customers with more of the insights and information they’re looking for. Fluid planning has the potential to position your company as more responsive and better aligned to your audience’s changing needs.
Budget Process: Are you rethinking the status quo?
The budget process is also evolving. Similar to planning, taking a traditional route with a full budget rigidly allocated for the year may be limiting you. One approach is to allocate budget annually, but leave flexibility to experiment within those allocations. The more open to budget alteration during the year, the easier it is to respond to market changes and be successful.
This allows you to consider opportunities that unexpectedly arise and allows room for experimenting and A/B testing. As you work toward evolving your budgeting, consider closely partnering with the finance department to understand how additional budget flexibility could be possible, as well as how budget and process changes could be made to stay competitive and adaptive in the ever-changing tech landscape.
The tech industry is constantly undergoing new changes and directions. Your organization might need to undergo changes as well. As a marketer, are you nimble and flexible? Are you customer-centric and responsive? If you hesitate, your competition will sail past you in an instant.
What changes are you making to your marketing structure or budget planning process? We’d love to hear about your experience @LinkedInMktg.