Seven Roles to Fuel Your Digital Transformation

January 8, 2019 Jeff Coveney

Digital Pi Transform Your Team

The Modern Marketing Team

Chiefmartec says that 60.7% of marketers reported that marketing and/or IT are being reorganized to better leverage marketing technology and we are seeing that on a daily basis. 

Questions like “How do we build a modern marketing team?” and “How do we leverage internal team members vs external expertise?” are commonplace among our clients.

Although the answers can vary, there is one common theme to the solution--put team members in roles where they can succeed. 

In our experience, the best organizations recognize that a team approach to digital transformation success is ideal. We usually see at least seven different roles that play key parts in that transformation.

As a disclaimer, this post examines the digital transformation from a marketing lens. A company-wide digital transformation brings in human resources, accounting, manufacturing and other corporate functions--we won’t dive into those areas here.

Let’s jump in.

Do You Have the Right Marketing Team for Digital Transformation?

Roles are extremely important. A “jack of all trades, master of none" approach usually doesn’t work. Most marketers tend to be creative or analytical, but not both.

For example, someone who writes great copy might be great at creating brochure content, but not so great at analyzing how that content performs. A person who organizes a trade show might keep that event on track, but can’t run the operations of the event.

Putting people in roles that are unnatural is where we see many companies have challenges with their digital transformations. If your organization is trying to fill many different roles with a  single person, consider the following roles.

Cross Functional Management Roles

In order for the marketing function to succeed, it must not live on an island by itself. Achieving digital transformation success to bring in modern marketing techniques will require cross functional support within your organization.

Executive Drivers Establish the Vision

Digital Transformation starts at the top. This role helps establish the company vision that modern marketing is strategic to the organization. If your leadership still thinks the Yellow Pages is a key marketing vehicle, you’ll have an uphill battle.

  • Who: The Executive Driver is usually your CEO or President who makes sure the organization is marching towards the end goal of modern marketing success.

  • Internal/External: Internal. It is rare that any organization would outsource the CEO role as that role is strategic to the organization.

  • Common Pitfalls: The executive driver is not on board. A digital transformation takes time and investment. To realize the massive growth opportunities and efficiency gains that modern marketing offers, executive support is needed.

Brand Visionaries Set Marketing Strategy

Brand Visionaries set strategy/vision on which marketing channels are needed to move the company forward.  

  • Who: CMO/VP Marketing 
  • Internal/External: Internal. With help from branding/demand gen agencies.
  • Common Pitfalls: Executing too fast. The "Let's just get the email out the door" helps drive initial results but doesn't help with the bigger repeatable/measurable picture.

Change Agents Drive Change

Change Agents are leaders within your organization that will help drive change. Some may live in marketing while others fall in other functional areas such as IT or Sales. 

  • Who: Anyone who manages people that will see their jobs improve through the digital transformation. Titles usually include the Director of Marketing, Head of Operations, VP of Sales and other leaders involved in marketing changes.  
  • Internal/External: Internal team members are needed to drive change. However, external resources can help with strategy and workshops to assist with process.
  • Common Pitfalls: Marketing can not live on its own. Getting alignment with other organizations will help drive the overall success of the initiative. We have seen plenty of examples where marketing tried to put through an initiative only to see the big picture fail six months in. Example: Closed loop reporting will not work if the sales team is not aligned with processes that provide that vision back to the marketing system of record.

The Marketing/IT Team to Make it Happen

With your executive support in place, it's time to assemble the modern marketing team that will drive initial and ongoing digital transformation success.

Digital Technology Strategists/Architects Fuel Scale

These team members enable scale at enterprises with a strategy that maps brand vision to technology in order to achieve repeatable and measurable marketing. This team works through migration strategies, creates the vision for new technologies and establishes best practices that other team members will leverage.

  • Who: CTO, Head of Ops, Outsourced Expertise
  • Internal/External: Both. Internal members champion project internally. Specialized consultants provide framework. Why do something the first time when others have done it multiple times? With expertise from consultants who specialize in technology, organizations can leverage best practice frameworks customized for their business.
  • Common Pitfalls: Organizations sometimes jump into execution before the strategy is set. This pain will get felt 3-6 months down the road when data is bad, processes are not established and reporting results are inconsistent.

Marketing Operations/Center of Excellence Drive Day-to-Day Success

This pivotal role helps maintain the day-to-day success of your marketing programs to address issues and keep systems up and running.

According to Chiefmartec, just 60% of organizations have a head of marketing operations--this is a big gap.

  • Who: Marketing Operations. 
  • Internal/External: Both. Some companies rely 100% on internal resources while others rely 100% on external resources. In an ideal world, a mixture of both exist. External resources help maintain continuity when internal resources turn over while providing a level of specialized expertise. Internal resources can champion ongoing initiatives.
  • Common Pitfalls: Some companies try to get around a marketing operations role by assigning the function to someone who does not have core expertise in this area (e.g. event manager, college graduate). Worse, some companies believe things should just work and they don't need a marketing operations role.

Business Owners/Campaign Operations Create Campaigns

These team members use technology day in and out to do their jobs. They drive success of marketing programs by leveraging the structure created through strategy.

  • Who: Trade Show organizers, Email Marketing experts, Marketing Managers.
  • Internal/External: Both. Many enterprise leverage internal resources to drive the planning and the strategy of the program.  The execution of those programs is either completed internally or by external agencies that offer campaign operations expertise.
  • Common Pitfalls: Expecting too much out of your business owners and expecting them to be self-sufficient. For example, sending an email seems simple but what about the data and logic that drives that email? We've seen emails send to the wrong audience, to the entire database or to no one. Don't underestimate the campaign operations it takes to support the business owners.

Analysts Bring Insights to Business

This role is responsible for putting together all the analysis and providing insight on the organization’s initiatives. The role helps educate teams internally on what key performance indicators to leverage while creating an attribution model that measures success.

  • Who: Analyst, Marketing Operations, Director of Marketing
  • Internal or External: Internal or External. If you have an analyst that knows data (and how to interpret it), go internal. Otherwise, look externally. Do not expect a trade show manager to understand how to interpret a multi-touch attribution model that also leveraged an advertising campaign to drive attendees.
  • Common Pitfalls: Some enterprises set the vision and then don't take the extra step of assigning resources to proactively measure success. Sure, you can run hundreds of reports but the analyst is the one who makes sense of it all.

Wrap-up

Creating a team that will bring your company into today’s world of modern marketing will take some planning. But, when the right people are in the right roles you are only going to succeed. 

About the Author

Jeff Coveney

Jeff Coveney is an accomplished marketing expert with more than 25 years success in generating demand and creating buzz for leading technology organizations.

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