It’s Not Just the CMO, How Digital Impacts All Marketers

The poor CMO is always under fire to “get more digital”, “get more data driven”, it seems like all the pressure is only on the CMO.  You know what?  It’s time for that to change. Every marketer no matter your role should now be thinking digital first, needs to be thinking about KPIs, and data.  Maybe we think by keeping the focus on the CMO, the rest of us won’t have accountability.  The reality is that digital spend will surpass TV spend. If you aren’t thinking digitally then you’re not thinking in ways that will keep your company relevant.  Even traditional marketing channels are being impacted by digital practices. Programmatic media buying that started as a digital approach to buying ads, is now influencing TV, and will likely impact print and radio at some point..


The biggest disruption to the marketer’s role has been the change to how accountable they need to be.  It’s not uncommon for marketers to have goals and objectives as tangible as those of sales teams.  Leads are now measurable, impact, engagement each of these have rich measurable KPIs that mean it’s not ok to just be all style, you need to have substance and impact as well, otherwise your marketing might as well be in the graveyard.  Here’s how I see a lot of the most common marketing roles changing due to this digitally connected world, and what they need to think about as a digital marketer.

Brand Manager/Planner

Brand Managers typically responsible for the position of brand, driving awareness and goodwill and positive affinity, also tend to be responsible for helping drive mass advertising campaigns. Typically tasked with driving aided and unaided brand awareness, Brand Managers now need to think about attribution and the influence they have further down the funnel.  One of the most powerful brand campaigns is the recent Coke personalized can campaign which is credited with reversing sliding sales numbers.  As an offline campaign it embraced the personalized world driven through digital marketing, and resonated across digital channels such as facebook, twitter and other social platforms, amplifying the brand message, and driving sales up.  This simple campaign created a platform that enabled Coke to connect with it’s consumers, and provided their customers something unique they can share across their communities.


Brand managers need to not only think about creating experiences that are memorable, but also experiences that are repeatable, shareable and easy to amplify across customer communities to be truly effective today.  The approach of buying mass advertising is no longer enough to create strong brands.  There’s ownership for  Assisted Conversions, Assisted Leads, Social Amplification, Share of Voice, and accountability to impact the bottom line.


Campaign Manager

Campaign managers are seeing their roles change in both the way they think and the way they plan. No longer are campaigns simply linear in planning creating a series of communications that are delivered at specific times or across a series of disconnected platforms, instead the campaigns are now consumed at the speed the customer moves at. Campaigns need to be tailored across a series of dynamic segments proving not a simple linear approach, but a series of branches that provide multiple messages and communications through the campaign life cycle, based on the ever changing profile of the customer as you acquire more information about them from first and third party data, to get more targeted.

Campaign managers need to think about CPA (Cost per Acquisition), Attribution and Sales. They need to get more savvy and become comfortable with paid search, display advertising, retargeting, DMP segmentation, paid social engagements, email segmentation and drip campaigns. They need to make it easy all the time to complete the primary objective of the program, and foster the relationship with the customer over the larger campaign lifecycle.


Channel Marketing Manager

Channel marketers are seeing their channels expand, including retail, telesales and e-commerce channels. Channel marketers also need to think about e-tail partners and digital shelf space. They need to think about affiliate channels, and  real time price tracking that can disrupt multi-channel enabled companies, creating transparency in channel conflicts.  Growing challenges will continue to increase for Channel Managers that work for companies that also sell directly as discounts and offers in multi-channel plays and trying to balance both direct sales and indirect sales.


Focusing on Units Sold, Digital Share of Shelf, Revenue by channel and channel partner are all measurable and trackable. Average shopping cart/basket value per checkout is important, and knowing more about the similar products people buy with your product will help identify partnerships and business development opportunities.


Business Analyst

The role of the business analyst changes to deal more with real time data, and become more savvy across a larger profile of data than ever before. Companies are becoming increasingly data rich, and insight challenged, as they look maximize and leverage the large volumes of data they are consuming.  Becoming more comfortable in the space of big data, as well as data automation and optimization, analyst have the greatest opportunity to make the biggest impacts in the effectiveness of marketing teams, and can truly drive great success in data first organizations.  They need to become a hub of not only campaign insights, but it’s also now much easier to track and compare what competitors are doing. In a digital world the curtains are always open, tracking everything from SEO, to paid media, to social to web experiences, and product placement, and price, and messaging can all be tracked and need to be ingested faster and quicker into companies, to be able to respond, pivot or change strategies based on your understanding of your market position and those of your competitors.


Communications coordinator

With heightened awareness around privacy, spam laws, and richer channels to communicate through.  Communication coordinators need to manage messages across multiple channels and move faster than ever before acting as the operator to connect all marketers to create a unified voice to the customer, and ensure each touch point is relevant and consistent to each experience a customer may have in a multi-touchpoint marketing plan. Coordinators need to know or use share of voice, social sentiment, CPA, media optimization, media mix models to inform their partners on what is/isn’t working and how to adjust course.


Product Manager

Product managers now exist for digital product as software as a service (SaaS) become the primary offering for some companies, and PMs of physical products, need to think about how the Internet of Things (IoT) will impact or change features, how a connected world changes the ways in which products are used, and in which they engage.  Amazon is disrupting this with their Dash Button, connecting CPG products like tide, to online ecosystems to fulfil order replenishment.,

Further Product Managers of physical product need to consider how products are presented in their digital channels, and how to leverage these channels to quickly run pricing tests, identify market needs through minimal viable products and lean testing to determine audience demand, and adapting to the consumers expectation of having personalized product experiences that are configurable and tailored to their needs.

Product managers will need to take to social platforms to engage with the user bases to get feedback, and create real time panels for input. They will need to leverage search data and support data to drive insight to what features or issues customers are looking for, and reconcile these inputs to stack rank new features and enhancements, and learn to manage social fires, and partner with PR and social teams to respond to customer complaints and requests.



PR teams now need to integrate with the SEO and Social Teams.  They need to respond faster than ever, and be prepared to engage and handle the voice of the customer and the voice of the company, as companies and consumers operate in real time as they message and communicate with each other.  PR teams need to have plans on how they engage with viral messages both positive and negative, they need to integrate with the core marketing team as marketing shifts to public dialogs, and they need to be more savvy in terms of both traditional and digital partners they use to leverage and build their voice.  PR needs to foster networks and relationships proactively with ambassadors and influencers and engage in open dialog through social channels, as well as fostering closed networks that enable further dialog through channels of the influencers preference. Further disruption will come as native advertising grows, and media companies are disrupted, and the shift of journalism moves to real time unfiltered reporting and sharing.  PR is measured against share of voice, sentiment in digital channels, and speed to resolution and customer contacts via public channels.  Competitor analysis becomes easier as media and news is aggregated and scrapped with major call-outs shared in real time, and distributed to marketing teams to assess and analyze if action is required.


Customer Relationship Manager

The customer relationship manager is challenged by the evolving legal needs that different countries establish to protect consumer privacy, while also balancing the speed at which marketers can communicate, and the ease to communicate en masse to large groups of customers.  As companies focus more and more on lifetime value the relationship becomes more valuable, and as companies look at how to monetize data, the most valuable data will be the monetization of relationships, both to sell into the base as well as cross-sell against the best, but to also leverage the base to drive referrals and become extensions of the marketing message to drive amplification through network effects. Relationship management extends beyond CRM and customer profiles, it needs to incorporate and leverage first and third party data, to get better profiles of the consumer, and provide more personalized and relevant messages.  The Customer Relationship Manager, is measured against the quality of data in profiles, the bounce rates, the database health, the engagement levels, and task completion rates of their base and segments defined for comms plans.


Direct Marketer

Direct response campaigns have shifted significantly to focus on email, paid search and display advertising, away from direct mail, changing the measurability of results significantly to focus on cost per acquisition (CPA) in a highly targeted and data rich space.  Further DMPs and other segmentation technologies are making it easier to target customers based on action with both your data and third party data, to create even more targeted campaigns to get only customers that are truly at the purchase point in the customer funnel.  Direct marketers also need to look at leveraging their affiliate networks, and develop very strong plans around messaging and A/B testing to maximize results and increase conversion rates at the bottom of the funnel.


Digital Marketer

No longer is it merely a website that digital marketers need to consider, but a to-and-through approach, understanding everything that is happening off site, all the way through to what experience customers have when they engage with your site.  They need to be versatile across media optimization, social, web site management, optimization, testing, analytics and are evolving into full stack marketers that also need to pick up more traditional skills as well, and integrate into marketing teams, no longer sitting siloed outside of the core marketing organizations, and you start to hear terms like full-stack marketer to identify general all round digital marketers that can support across your marketing organization.


Event Marketer/Planner

Events no long begin and end the day of the event, instead the marketing begins ahead of time as attendees data is collected digitally and passed onto partners, further attendees of events are looking for richer more compelling experiences, not simple fliers or pamphlets, but tailored information packages based on their needs and conversations at booths.  Event marketers also need to develop strategies of communication immediately post event to engage and nurture the leads and customer opportunities developed during the event.  Event Marketers need to think about KPIs for defining success before event launch (how many early bird sign-ups did you get? how many referrals?) to event closure, that ties back to specific revenue or strategic objectives. As well leads need to be more strongly classified and relationship building needs to be part of the long term event investment in which emails, social and other communication channels continue to keep the attendees engaged, and receiving value well after the event has run.


Marketing Communications Manager

The Marketing Communication Manager is being asked to do even more with either fixed budgets or aggressive targets.  Programs need to be developed to optimize on the fly to maximize results, and need to consider multiple consumer needs that change in real time.  Gone are the days of personas to anchor programs against and instead you see the rise of real time segments and one-to-one messaging, and personalization across all channels.  Thinking of consumer engagements across both anonymous and non-anonymous states.


The Marketing Communications Manager is the string that ties together the larger teams messages, and understands the spider-web of multi-touch point, right message, right times communications.  Goaled against unsubscribes, NPS and attach, ARPU, and task completion as just some of the metrics they need to worry about.


Digital Needs to Be the DNA of All Marketing Organizations

While just a sample of some of the key roles, and a very surface summary of some of the KPIs and objectives, what’s critical is that it’s not ok for just the CMO to worry about digital, all employees of the marketing organization need to be thinking about how digital enables faster time to market, better understanding of the customer, clearly defined KPIs that are measurable and usable to improve and iterate.  Lastly roles that have been thought of as pure digital, such as Search Leads for SEO, PPC, and designers, and email program managers, need to become part of the core team, operating as the subject matter experts to further augment the general skills you need your other marketers to understand and use, and become a truly digital first organization.

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