Return on Behavior Magazine
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September 25th, 2009

The role of marketing in the experience economy

Marketing often plays a highly circumscribed role of marketing communications in companies.

It is a well known fact, that marketing organizations and functions in most companies can expect to undergo great changes in the years to come. Areas such as accountability, assuming responsibility for more strategic and revenue and profit generating projects, competence transformation from a mere focus at marketing communications to also adapt competence about marketing automation technology, and how to utilize technology to effectively drive marketing efforts.

But how does the role of marketing organizations fit into the experience economy, and what can a chief marketing officer do to earn more influence?

Lets take a look at four decisive factors.

1. Earn credibility through customer expertise
Marketers often complain about the lack of authority and lack of influence. The simple fact is - nobody will give you a seat at the table; you have to earn it. And the best way to gain power is through knowing your customers better than anyone else in the organization.

Customer expertise will provide marketers with the courage of conviction they need in order to promote their point of view to other parts of the organization. Remember that you cannot outsource customer understanding to market research vendors. You have to get in front of customers and get inside their lives. If you do not understand the customers, their buying process - you will not know how to align your marketing and communications efforts to provide for an optimal experience.

2. Focus on the customer experience

Too many marketing organizations limit themselves to the products and services that they make, without realizing that it is the total customer experience that matters most in differentiating yourself and delighting customers.

Focusing on the customer experience requires marketers to think holistically about every single customer touch point and every stage in the customer lifecycle. It also demands a total quality approach to designing and improving the customer experience.
It is the Chief Marketing Officer’s responsibility to ensure that every employee in the firm understands how he or she has an impact on the customer experience. And it should be the responsibility of marketing to orchestrate the customer experience across all channels, partners, business units and stages in the customer buying cycle.

3. Think in process terms
Marketing has traditionally thought of its activities in terms of the infamous four P’s (product, price, promotion and place). This is a functional view of marketing activities, and it fosters the mistaken impression that marketing functions are independent silos. Instead, marketing activities should be conceptualized as a set of logically related value-creation processes.

Drawing insights from the business process reengineering literature, I believe that marketing needs to be organized around processes, not functions. These value-creation processes include the processes for understanding, defining, realizing, delivering, capturing, communicating and sustaining value. Each process has a set of activities and deliverables, and these processes together constitute the new work of marketers.

On a more practical side, marketers must look at the marketing communication processes from a customer point of view. How well does the flow of a direct marketing activity work? Is the response handling process thoroughly tested before launch? Do you have systems and processes in place to handle all customer response events, and have these systems and processes been tested to document, that you are ready to reap the benefits of your revenue generating activities?

4. Create an ROI (ROMI) culture
Marketing must conform to the adage, .”If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.Chief Marketing Officers need to promote a return on investment mind-set that should permeate every marketing initiative. Marketing initiatives need to be derived from marketing objectives, and marketing initiatives need to be evaluated on a set of objective metrics.
In simple terms, marketers need to define where they want to go (objectives), how they will get there (strategy), what it will take to get there (resources), and how they know if they get there (metrics). Creating an ROI culture does not mean every marketing initiative has to be quantified in terms of incremental revenue. Marketers can rely on intermediate metrics that follow customers through the “hierarchy of effects”-from creating awareness to changing perceptions, to creating demand, to enhancing loyalty and retention.

About the Author

Micheal Leander Nielsen

Michael Leander Nielsen, CEO of Fokus Integrated, is a customer lifecycle marketing automation expert  and a marketing innovator. He is also an author and a speaker on subjects such as marketing automation, marketing performance metrics, customer strategies and effective internet marketing strategies. More information about Michael Leander Nielsen:

Meemoo2 - A blog for Marketing managers

Marketingboss TV Channel - hundreds of edutaining, educating, inspirational videos and films

With more than 20 years of managerial and operational experience from three continents, Danish born Michael Leander Nielsen is an integrated marketing expert and a marketing innovator. 

Today he spends his time with ambitious companies and organizations, providing consulting services in a range of specialised marketing fields. He is an expert in the fields of integrated marketing, marketing automation and productivity programs, internet marketing, push and pull strategies, lead relationship management strategies, customer experience strategies and strategies for growth and internationalization.

From newspapers to marketing, internet and CRM
Ever since his first "real job" soliciting subscriptions to The Delray and Boynton Beach News Journal door-to-door in sunny Florida, his career has included some 10 years in the marketing/publishing industry, and approximately 10 years in the IT software and IT distribution industry. 

Combining experience from the client side and the consulting/agency side, and having consulted to major-league clients across a variety of industries, Michael is a highly insightful, innovative and productive top-level marketing consultant.

Speaker, educator and mentor
He has spoken at hundreds of seminars and conferences, written hundreds of articles, lectured at numerous educational institutions, and is frequently quoted in leading marketing and IT industry publications in several countries.  Moreover, he proudly assists talented entrepreneurs in a capacity as board and/or advisory board member to share his experience in a mentor capacity. Check out his upcoming speaking engagements here 



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