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Congrats, you’re a marketing leader. But what type of digital commerce leader are you?

By Jennifer Polk | May 09, 2017 | 1 Comment

Of course you’re a digital marketing leader, but are you a digital commerce leader? And which type of digital commerce leader are you?

Studies show digital marketing leaders are taking on expanded responsibilities—from leading innovation to improving customer experience to growing revenue through digital channels. When it comes to the latter—growing revenue through digital channels or digital commerce—marketing leaders fall into one of three categories.

  1. Those who own digital commerce
  2. Those who co-own or support digital commerce
  3. Those who don’t see digital commerce as strategically important

Those who own digital commerce

These CMOs and senior marketing leaders own the fully-burdened digital commerce P&L. They lead a cross-functional team that is responsible for setting digital commerce strategy, selecting technology and designing and executing a digital commerce experience. They have a revenue target and accountability for results. They set prices, manage cost and invest in technology and innovation to achieve these goals.

Those who co-own or support digital commerce

These marketing leaders share responsibility for digital commerce, typically with a business unit, brand or digital commerce leader. They have responsibility for the digital commerce P&L, but they’re focused on driving revenue growth and managing the marketing budget. They may not set the strategy or choose the technology, but they should be influencers of both.

Those who don’t see digital commerce as strategically important

This group, thankfully the smallest category, hasn’t awoken to the importance of digital commerce. Perhaps it hasn’t yet impacted their industry, company or competitors. But, it’s only a matter of time. Or, perhaps, they don’t see their role in digital commerce, choosing instead to stay focused on branding and marketing communications.

The third group is the most troubling. There will always be a need for marketing leaders focused on building the brand and being the steward of the brand voice. However, marketing leaders looking for longevity must understand how their efforts impact business results. Digital commerce isn’t the only way to make an impact, but it is the most measurable way to tie marketing spend to revenue and profit.

If you’re in an industry or company where customers are seemingly content to fax or phone in their orders, be warned. Change is coming. Maybe not today, but soon, those same customers will ask if they can “go online” to place an order, submit an RFQ or schedule auto replenishment. Or they’ll casual mention the fact that one of your competitors now offers this capability.

When this happens, help your company see this as a signal that it is time to invest in digitizing the customer experience, such as offering online access to a product catalogue or the ability to log in and check order status rather than calling a rep. And, hopefully, as a marketing leader, you see this as a signal that your expertise is needed to design, develop and deploy this digital commerce experience.

Those organizations and marketing leaders who fail to heed the warning or recognize the signs of demand for digital commerce are riding an express train to irrelevance. And many don’t even know they’ve gotten aboard the train until it reaches its destination.

Creating, optimizing and personalizing a digital commerce experience takes time and the race has already begun. It’s time to get started.

1 Comment
  1. May 10, 2017 at 1:51 pm
    Result 2017 says:

    Change is coming. Maybe not today, but soon, those same customers will ask if they can “go online” to place an order, submit an RFQ or schedule auto replenishment. Or they’ll casual mention the fact that one of your competitors now offers this capability. that’s the point agree with you

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