The perfect storm is in full bloom. Senior marketing executives are challenged by a “force multiplier” effect. In many instances an executive may be faced with having to juggle numerous concurrent activities, some of which may typically include:
- Objectives: acquisition, cross sell and retention of customers.
- Channel management: variations in products and services, distributed sales channels, geographic displacement, regional considerations.
- Customer segmentation: where once customers may have been segregated to “silver, gold, and platinum,” the marketing executive may now face dozens of segments or personas.
- Marketing cycles: awareness development, lead generation, converting prospects, on-boarding of new customers, loyalty development, referral achievement, cross sell.
- Media and asset management: direct, online, mobile, social, “traditional communications” and activities.
- Resource optimization: manpower, communication cycles management, trimmed down marketing budgets, speed to market, increased global competition.
- Systems management: data (of which the marketing executive typically owns les that 20%), asset development and distribution, media integration, measurement.
And just with this “short list” the marketing executive’s job description includes the need for a “marketing holy grail”…
Enter stage left the hybrid business model of advanced marketing services.
With increasing frequency I’m seeing service providers that have developed an “innovations group” within the confines of the printing plant (albeit perhaps in a different corner of the office than the sales staff cubicles) with a hybrid business model that looks a little like the following:
With services all under one roof and inclusive of integrated cross media; direct, online, mobile, social, and traditional.
These service providers are having success in the field with the senior marketing executive; in some instances getting paid for business strategy well in advance of actual print production.
Why is this working? It’s probably a combination of several factors not the least of which is the fact that the service provider community with increased business intelligence, advanced technology, data-driven production capacity and “ownership” of many of the logistical aspects of marketing communications has awakened to the “changed model” of marketing communications.
In this changed model the marketing executive tasked with a higher level of accountability than ever before is looking towards methods and strategies whereby they can become more customer centric.
As depicted in the “Rethinking Marketing” (January 2010 issue of Harvard Business Review by R. Rust, W. Moorman, and G Bhalla,) the technologies exist but there is still a heavy mindset and culture towards mass marketing.
A savvy service provider that leads with opportunities centered on marketing technologies and logistics can introduce concepts such as “customer centricity”, interactive dialogue, relevancy of follow through, automated nurturing cycles, integration of cross media, and measurement in such a way that attracts the attention of the senior marketing executive in a high percentage of sales calls.
With concentrated focus, any service provider can build these skills (both from a business development and deliverables perspective) whether over time or with the help of other on an accelerated basis.
With this hybrid model we’re seeing consistent outcomes where the advanced service provider has achieved market differentiation, exclusivity within their selling cycle and healthy print production profits as they “package” their bundled services together.
Stay tuned for further posts on this subject exploring how the advanced hybrid model is taking shape from the business plan, marketing and promotions plan, and selling perspectives.
Understanding the complex pain points of the senior marketing executive (and how their needs vary from one industry vertical to the next) is the first step.
I look forward to your feedback and experiences. Happy Selling.
The Winters Group provides “marketing services” business transformation planning, marketing and promotions support, and live in-the-field performance based coaching services. www.wintersmg.com