A couple weeks ago, I riffed on the six digital disruptions rocking CMO’s worlds. This week: a continuation on the same theme, with an emphasis on what it takes to execute in this tempest-tossed world.

To meet the digital disruption head on, marketers must make fundamental changes in how they execute. These changes align to the following six new realities of modern marketing:

1. It’s closed loop—data must course from one channel to the next like liquid to inform personalized experiences that intersect audiences on a wandering path to purchase. Marketers must learn to trace the thread from investment to outcome, developing a discipline for continuous optimization.

2. It’s two speed—marketers must balance discrete time-bound campaigns that shape demand and influence selling motions in specific and deliberate ways with continuous “always on” audience engagement that’s intelligently orchestrated and optimized over time. The interlocking gears of these two speeds propel the modern marketing engine forward.

3. It’s community oriented—if the two speeds propel marketing forward, the engine’s flywheel is sustained by community-driven conversations, user generated content and advocacy cultivated at scale.

4. It’s performance driven—closing the loop allows marketers to optimize investments based on verifiable proof, not vague directionality. Making marketing continuous allows measurement and adjustment to coincide. Thus, optimizations are made dynamically and performance drives every ounce of effort.

5. It’s service oriented—while service orientation may be an idea more naturally aligned to IT thinking, its principles should inform how we think about modern marketing architectures. As marketing shifts from campaigns to always on, communities amplify reach and resonance, and continuous measurement becomes mantra, marketing assets themselves must evolve from monolithic and disconnected to an interconnected web that’s built for programmatic and human consumption at social and digital scale and instrumented to shine light on performance.

6. It’s whole-brained—data may be the X-factor for modern marketing, but, taken in isolation, it can cause marketers to miss a fundamental point: marketing is, broadly, about emotion; and, specifically, about human beings. Marketers need to develop a whole-brained way of thinking that balances capabilities across human and data-centric disciplines in both strategic and operational domains. The alternative is a sort of myopia where, for marketers, data represents a sort of fool’s gold that, for all its shiny and brightness, remains a currency of dubious value.


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